Monday, 7 August 2017

Yakubu Gowon’s ‘Acceptance Speech’ After the Coup That Overthrew Him

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.



  1. It was when Oju siwa lorukun ni Nigeria. Then, there was still enthusiasm to serve. Selfish interests will not allow anyone to concede an election victory even when it is glaring that he won't win an election in his ward. There is no longer service to the nation but service to the pocket!

  2. I can't believe this,you keep unearthing many Nigerian treasures. I think Gen Gowon deserves another national award for this. Our Politicians and so called elders of today need to visit this blog to learn about our yesterday in order to prepare a better tomorrow for future generations

  3. Gen. Gowon is an exquisite gentleman.


  5. Little wonder he's still around and relevant in the scheme of things!
    He simply knew when to wait, walk or when to run. Wisdom to the rescue

  6. Lesson learnt:Knowing when to wait, react and even walk away. Wisdom is the principal thing. @Adeowo I agree with you.

  7. It is very rare indeed, no sign of bitterness from the speech. I am amazed by such sense of patriotism. Where are the patriots'. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is another one.
    Time and events is what shape history. Just like the quality of wine increases with age.