From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has congratulated a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon on his 87th birthday, describing him as a man of immeasurable grace.
Fayemi in a congratulatory message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, hailed General Gowon as a man of remarkable humility and unfailing courtesy, adding that he remained the former military Head of State that best exemplified the model of the officer and a gentleman.
According to Fayemi, General Gowon’s “remarkable humility and unfailing courtesy also set him apart from those who have walked the rarefied heights of power.”
He said the former Head of State’s conduct during the period he ruled the country and in retirement shows he is truly a statesman.
“In retirement, Gowon has continued to be a voice of peace and reconciliation. He provides sagely counsel to current political leaders. He founded ‘Nigeria Prays’, a faith-based organization dedicated to peace building by mobilizing religious leaders and faith communities.
“I am immensely proud to have hosted him and benefited from his wise counsel during one of the organisation’s campaigns in Ekiti State. He has remained a messenger of moderation and tolerance in a country where the polity is charged with petty histrionics and polarizing acrimonies.
“Consequently, it is not surprising that he possesses a genuine national stature which transcends sectarian divides and yet commands the respect of Nigerians across the lines of faith and ethnicity.
“It is fair to say that he has set the standard for a productive post-presidential life. Even in retirement, he continues to serve the country in both official and unofficial capacities, often as a special envoy sent to mediate in conflict areas by bringing his conciliatory spirit to bear upon the adversaries.
“Few leaders can lay claim to the consistency of temperament and ethical conduct over such a long period spanning their time in office and in retirement. Gowon can do so and stands out as one of the great statesmen in our pantheon of national heroes.
“When we contemplate the life and service of Yakubu Gowon, we are in the presence of a rare Nigerian political figure who is fully deserving of the statesman accolade.
“As he turns 87, I, on behalf of the Government and good people of Ekiti State, join all believers in a great Nigeria to wish General Yakubu Gowon many more years in good health.”