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Obasanjo: We removed Gowon because he refused to hand over to civilian

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Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, one-time deputy Head of State (chief of staff supreme headquarters), Head of State and President of Nigeria, has revealed why Former Head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, was overthrown in a bloodless coup on July 29, 1975, ushering in the government that came to be known as the Muritala/Obasanjo regime.

General Gowon was overthrown and replaced by Brigadier Murtala Muhammad as head of the new government, and Brigadier Olusegun Obasanjo as his deputy when he was attending an OAU summit in Kampala.

Obasajo was then promoted to lieutenant general in January 1976.

Obasanjo made the revelation about his life at Diocese of Lagos West, Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral in Lagos.

He also said that despite the evil thought of the later head of state, General Sani Abacha against him, he did not, for a day, wish anything bad for the general.

“After the war, General Gowon said that military will go (hand over) by 1976 but later said that it will not be realistic again and that was the major reason why he was unseated.

“That later brought about what was termed as Muritala/Obasanjo regime. But we were careless as regard security in which Muritala was killed like chicken and I would have been killed but God’s grace preserved me and I was later persuaded to take over.

“We stabilized the country, conducted election and handed over. But when there was incessant coup in different parts of the country, I spoke against Military in general and Abacha’s in particular.

“The consequence was that I was arrested, tried and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment which Abacha later reduced to 15 years but God in his mercy, I only spent 3 years, three months and three days.

He pointed out that the person who sent him to prison was not alive by the time he came out.

He said he wrote letters of condelence while in Jos Prison to Abacha when his son died, and also wrote to Abacha’s wife when Abacha died.

“The prison authority found unbelievable but delivered all my letters”, Obasanjo said.

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