Gowon Laments Discontinuation of Yar’adua’s Policies

During the inaugural President Umaru Musa Yar’adua International Leadership Conference and Awards in Abuja, former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), remarked that Nigeria could have seen greater progress had President Umaru Musa Yar’adua completed his presidential term.

The event, hosted by the Global Initiative For Leadership Success, brought together leaders and scholars to discuss national development and leadership legacy.

Yar’adua, who took office in 2007, passed away in 2010 due to ill-health, leaving his tenure incomplete. In his short time in office, he was known for initiating significant policies, including an amnesty program for Niger Delta militants, which was aimed at stabilizing and boosting the nation’s economy. General Gowon highlighted these efforts as pivotal moments that could have led to a more profound national transformation.

Furthermore, Gowon expressed regret over the discontinuation of Yar’adua’s reforms by subsequent administrations, particularly pointing out the stalled progress in electoral reforms initiated by Yar’adua. The late president had acknowledged flaws in the election process that brought him to power and had set up the Justice Muhammed Uwais Committee to propose electoral reforms—an initiative that has not been sustained.

Gowon said, “He was a decent man; a man with absolute integrity. He was an honest man. He did very well and he has to be remembered. He was so honest that he said the process that brought him to power was not right. And he set up a committee. But it was not followed by successive leaders.

“However, I believe that one day, we shall have a solution. He was honey and sincere in dealing with any problem, and he was incorruptible. You can not blame him for corruption; he was clean. His various activities including the amnesty programme that he brought to the Niger Delta ensured our economy was protected.

“His illness and death, I believe if God had allowed him to complete his years in service, I believe Nigeria would have been better. A lot of things would have been better because he meant well for the country. So continue that love for the country and love for one another to make Nigeria great.”

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