Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

A former Head of State and leader of NIGERIA PRAYS, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has said that it is only prayer that can solve the mirage of insecurity challenges confronting the nation presently and not weapons of warfare.

He also said that he never knew he was going to be Head of State.

Gowon, who stated this, on Sunday, at the prayer summit of NIGERIA PRAYS South-East zone, held at First Baptist Church Cathedral Road, Owerri, revealed that he never imagined he would be the country’s Head of State, adding that he has no doubt in his heart that God would honour the collective prayers and intercessions of Nigerians for the nation and heal the nation’s wounds.

He said that “church leaders should stand in the gap and fervently pray for peace, prosperity and security in the nation.

“When it finally dawned on me that I was going to lead this great country of ours, Nigeria, the first thing I did was to go to God on my knees and asked him to help me so that I can always do the right thing. I thank God for the opportunity that He gave me in the course of service to this nation. But in the first instance, I never nursed any ambition to be a Head of State or rule this country in any form”.

Gowon further stated that “Yes, we had a Civil War which was not so intended and I asked God for the willpower to keep these people together. My joy today is that several years after the Civil War, Nigerians have remained bonded together as one nation despite our ethnic and individual differences.

The Nigeria Prays programme which we embarked on and being hosted by Imo State this year is designed to continuously pray for this country and pray out Nigeria from the horrible issues of blood, letting, insurgency, killings and other crimes bedeviling it.

My humble appeal is that we must work together as a nation and cultivate the habit of praying for our leaders whom God has given to us instead of thinking along narrow ethnic and religious differences. It is future that will tell what great state Nigeria will become,” Gowon said.

He also stated that his administration restored education to the South East after the civil war where he admitted the war caused a deficit.

“One of the things we did immediately after the war was to restore education to this part of the country where the war caused a deficit for two and half years. Let me assure you that what I had done is what His Excellency, Governor Okorocha is doing. Ensure that whatever you do, you place it in the hands of God for its success,” Gowon stated.

Governor Rochas Okorocha in his speech noted that, Christianity does not preach revenge, while he urged Church Leaders not to preach revenge on happenings in Benue State and other parts of the country, adding that all the leaders in the country should take responsibility of whatever that is happening in the country.

According to him, “Christ never retaliated all the humiliations he suffered. And Christianity does not preach revenge. So our Church Leaders and Christians in general should not carry arms in revenge since Christianity does not allow revenge, stating that Church Leaders calling for revenge should withdraw or stop such calls”.

The governor further remarked that “At a very tender age General Gowon has commanded the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I want to specially salute him because of his tenacity of purpose and what he represents and I know that during the Nigeria Civil War, he led the Nigerian side, and your brother led the Biafran side.

“But one thing unique about that war was that a Christian was leading one side and another Christian leading the other side. This is why I pray that we should never have a situation that would lead us into a religious war in Nigeria, it will be very disastrous,” he stated.