|General Yakubu Gowon as a student in the canteen of the University of Warwick|
It is unusual for a deposed Head of State to give a vote of thanks after being removed from office. Gen. Yakubu Gowon, (PhD Warwick) is arguably the only Nigerian Head of State to give a formal ‘Acceptance Speech’ after being overthrown.
According to the New York Times of July 30, 1975: “In Kampala, General Gowon smiled on being told of the coup and some diplomatic sources said that he had suspected that some military men were plotting against him and that he had taken the precaution of moving his family to London before leaving Lagos. He was said to be trying to determine whether he still had any support at home.”
Today, Onigegewura brings you Gen. Gowon’s Acceptance Speech delivered after Colonel Joe Nanven Garba announced his overthrow whilst he was attending Organisation of African Unity summit in Kampala:
From all indications a new government had been established in Nigeria. I wish to state that I, on my part, have also accepted the change and pledged my full loyalty to my nation, my country and the new government.
Therefore, in the overall interest of the nation and our beloved country, I appeal to all concerned to cooperate fully with the new government and ensure the preservation of peace, unity and stability of our dear motherland.
As a Nigerian, I am prepared to serve my country in any capacity, which my country may consider appropriate. I am a professional soldier and I can do any duty that I am called upon to do.
May I take this opportunity to thank all the people of Nigeria and friends of Nigeria for the support and cooperation that you all gave me during my tenure of office and call upon all of you to give the new government of our nation the same support and cooperation in the interest of our beloved country.
Long live one united, happy and prosperous Nigeria. Long live the Organisation of African Unity.
After the coup, General Yakubu Gowon enrolled as a student at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. His Ph.D Thesis focused on The Economic Community of West African States: A study in political and economic integration.