A former Head of State, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has reiterated his commitment to the unity and oneness of Nigeria.
Gowon made this assertion on Tuesday at an exhibition in honour of one the country’s foremost physician, Emeritus Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exhibition was held as part of the activities to celebrate the 85th Birthday of the renowned physician.
Gowon, while speaking as a Special Guest of Honour at the event held at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said that peace and unity of the country was not negotiable.
While commending Nigerians for their resilience in the face of untold hardship, he urged them to strive toward maintaining the oneness of the country as a single entity at all costs.
“You are all aware of my strong desire and commitment for the peace and unity of our nation.
“I want to further add my voice to the call for peace and national unity.
“I want to reiterate in the strongest term that the peace and unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable.
“I will continue to work at achieving the much desired peace and unity that we crave daily for our country.
“I am strongly of the belief that for the future of our nation to be assured, we must strive to build legacies of peace and unity,” Gowon said.
He advocated more tolerance and understanding among Nigerians to put an end to the spate of killings in the country.
Gowon also advised Nigerians to stop killing one another for no just cause.
According to him, understanding, brotherliness, accommodation and patriotism must be exhibited to restore peace across the country.
He then described prayers as a formidable weapon that could solve the nation’s many challenges faster.
Gowon, while extolling the virtues of Akinkugbe, said that the professor ranked first in role modelling and was worthy of recognition in the health sector.
He tasked the upcoming medical professionals to see Akinkugbe’s life as a yardstick to measure the quality of their contributions to the profession and national development.
“As a university and hospital administrator, his works will continue to speak for him in all the institutions, countries and continents where he has served.
“His membership and fellowship of international professional organisations and societies attest to the quality of his expertise,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman, UCH Board of Management, Alhaji Ibrahim Shetimma, noted that the history of Nigeria would have been different if not for the contributions of the foremost physician’s intervention.
He recalled that when the economy of the country nose-dived, it was people like Prof. Akinkugbe that came to the rescue before the challenge could be surmounted.
Also, the UCH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Temitope Alonge, in his remarks, said that there was no gainsaying the fact that the country was blessed with talents and icons in various endeavours of daily lives.
According to him, there are some who are inherently outstanding without doubt.
“For 50 years, the elegant figure of this gentle giant has straddled the length and breadth of Nigeria in many capacities including terrains that were exclusively for the arts and social sciences.
“Today, the medical world stands in admiration as it recounts the contributions and selfless services provided by the Prince of Ondo Kingdom and a man with chieftaincy titles from within and outside the shores of his native land.
“Emeritus Prof. Akinkugbe has rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty in his generation, not minding his humble beginning; he has made his mark in medical practice to the admiration of all to see.
“He has taken so much pleasure in transnational medicine and has mentored grandfathers and fathers of various medical specialties in our country,” he said.
According to him, Akinkugbe has championed the dangers inherent in the neglect of communicable diseases and the mention of his name automatically brings the 10 common causes of hypertension and renal diseases to one’s lips.