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Gowon Supports Calls For Restructuring Nigeria
Nigeria’s former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon has thrown his weight behind calls for the restructuring of the country, saying there is nothing wrong with the idea provided it was done within the context of one Nigeria.
He made this known when Shehu Sani, a serving Senator from Kaduna State, paid him a courtesy visit on Wednesday in Abuja.
“We can restructure within one Nigeria context. I did it in 1967; we created states to stop eastern Nigeria from seceding,” Gowon said.
He added that “We had to do something to ensure the fear of their seceding did not exist; a serious issue of a part of the country wanting to breakaway when we already lost a part to Cameroon.
“If we had allowed the eastern region to go away, the map of Nigeria would have looked funny; it would have been tilted one way.
“So, we decided overnight to break the fear through the creation of states. If we had to save the country that was the only way to do it.
“We also ensured that no state was too big or too small to threaten the unity of the country,’’ the former head of state said.
Gowon maintained that the call for true federalism in the country was not a bad idea as well.
“What is true federalism? As long as it means respect for oneness of our country, it is alright, but if it means to breakaway, it is not my way of thinking’’, he said.
It would be recalled that it was during Gowon’s tenure as head of state that the country was divided into 12 states namely: North-Western, North-Eastern, Kano, North-Central, Benue-Plateau, Kwara, Western, Lagos, Mid-Western, Rivers (a South-Eastern state), and East-Central states.