On October 9, 2023, news websites and social media were filled with conflicting reports about the alleged death of former Nigerian Head of State General Yakubu Gowon. Some sources claimed that Gowon had passed away at the age of 89, while others suggested that the news might be mistaken or false. However, on October 10, 2023, Gowon himself spoke out to deny the rumoured death and reassure Nigerians that he was alive and well, StechiteGist Media reports.
In a statement issued through his media aide, Gowon said, “I am alive and well. I thank all Nigerians and well-wishers for their concern and prayers. I am not in a hurry to go anywhere. I have many more years to live and serve my country and humanity. Let us all be calm and focused on the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.”
Gowon’s denial of the rumoured death has put to rest some of the confusion and anxiety that had arisen from the conflicting reports. However, it has also raised some questions and concerns about the reliability and credibility of news sources and social media platforms, which can sometimes spread false or misleading information without proper verification or accountability.
Gowon’s statement has also highlighted his resilience and sense of humor, as well as his commitment to Nigeria and Africa. Gowon, who is known for his calm and diplomatic demeanor, has been a prominent figure in Nigerian and African politics for several decades and has played a role in regional and international affairs, such as the formation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
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Gowon’s legacy as a former Head of State of Nigeria and a prominent leader in Africa and the world remains significant and complex. Gowon’s tenure was marked by both achievements and controversies, such as the end of the first republic, the creation of new states, the oil boom, the Biafran secession, the mass killings of Igbo people, the famine, and the corruption allegations.
Gowon also initiated various policies and programs, such as the 12-state structure, the National Youth Service Corps, and the Green Revolution, which aimed to promote national unity, youth empowerment, and agricultural development.