I have had the very rare privilege of meeting Gen. (Dr) Yakubu Gowon at close quarters at least twice. He actually needs to introduction as Nigeria’s military Head of State who piloted the affairs of the country from 1966-1975; a period that witnessed both horrifying and pleasant occurrences. You cannot miss his trademark. Gen. Gowon radiates infectious self-effacement and simplicity, that are evidently the result of his modesty and what Christians refer to as ‘’brokenness’’. Brokenness, as published by the ‘Global Christian Centre’ is a Godly touch that makes people ‘’gain a new perspective of the Lord’s mercy and provision, have a more complete comprehension of yourself, and deepen compassion and understanding for the suffering of others’’.
It was on account of this that Gen. Gowon visited Osun State first; late in 1996, on a mission to engage people to pray for Nigeria while on a whistle-stop trip round the country. He was accompanied on that visit by Rev. Moses Aransiola whom he appointed as the National Director of the prayer movement. The former Head of State was to return again in 2009, for the same exercise, during which he was hosted by then Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola who met him on arrival. His unpretentiousness soon manifested. Gen. Gowon who was a General in the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent a word to Prince Oyinlola that he wanted to pay homage to the governor, from the presidential lodge where he was lodged. But before Gen. Gowon could make that move, Prince Oyinlola, who was a Captain in the Nigerian Army in 1975, when Gowon was a General, quickly called his wife and both headed to where Gen. Gowon was being hosted at the Presidential Lodge. Oyinlola explained that it would have amounted to an aberration for Gowon to visit him, even though he was the host. Ordinary ”hey you come” from Gen Gowon would have gotten the then governor running to answer the summon.
For General Yakubu “Jack” Dan-Yumma Gowon who was born on October 19, 1934, God must always come first since he rededicated himself for service in His vineyard about 25 years ago. The General is certainly a product of the Lord’s special grace; attaining the status of a commissioned officer in the Nigerian Army at the prime age of 21 years, precisely the day and month of his birth – 19th October, 1955; and later Head of the Federal Military Government at a relatively young age of 32 years.