Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has declared that his greatest wish for Nigeria is for her people to continue to live in unity and in a peaceful nation.
For this to become a reality, he charged Nigerians to develop a sense of unity, love and respect for one another.
Gowon who arrived in Osun State last Saturday, led prayer sessions for the country through his Nigeria Prays Movement with a view to achieving a peaceful, secure and more united Nigeria.
He described the state as a role model to others in the country in terms of peaceful coexistence among the people irrespective of their religious differences.
The elder statesman said that it was amazing the way and manner he found the people living together in peace and harmony and playing their roles well with prayers and unity for the good of the state, the country and mankind.
Specifically, Gowon said that he was delighted that the governor, who is a Muslim, agreed to host him during the Muslim festival period, a gesture he noted, others would have politely turned down on the ground that it was Sallah period.
While expressing satisfaction with the level of understanding and tolerance for one another in the state despite differences in religious beliefs, Gowon maintained that other states and even Nigeria as a country must imbibe such attributes.
Gowon said that among the states in the South West that he and his Nigeria Prays Movement had visited, Osun stands out in all ramifications and confessed an increase in his love for the state.
He appreciated God for blessing the state with the governor who believes in the efficacy of prayers
The former head of state said: “I am delighted to tell everyone that Osun is a role model for other states in the country, because it has attributes that must be adopted by all to have peaceful co-existence.
“All the religious bodies: Christianity, Islam and traditional religion are clearly playing out their roles here as prayer warriors for the good of the state, for the good of Nigeria, and for the good of mankind.
“Honestly, among the states that we have been to as Nigeria Prays Movement, Osun State stands out. We were well received, and we saw your good character on display. The governor told me he is a man of prayers and he believes in prayers.
“I can confirm the manifestation of his prayers and strong belief in God on the life of the people. You certainly made us to feel very loving towards one another, and I will say thank you very much indeed.
“Honestly, I think I have fallen in love with Osun State and its people, and this is where I see the faith in Nigeria that Muslims and Christians as well as Traditionalists go hand-in-hand to celebrate one another in truth, by bringing a sense of unity, love and respect for one another.
“Nigeria needs this more than anything else. My prayer has always been: Let Nigeria continues to dwell in peace and unity,” he said.
In his response, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said that he felt honoured to welcome Gowon to the state, describing him as a man of history who cannot be forgotten. He added that National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was established during his time as the country’s leader and it has fostered unity till date.
He stated that Gowon was a man without controversy and commended him for serving Nigeria well to ensure its development and unity.
Oyetola said that the elder statesman had continued to demonstrate how a senior citizen should be, stressing that even after leaving office, he still had the love of Nigeria at heart, which was evident in his establishment of the Nigeria Prays Movement, a major spiritual body in the country.
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