Former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon on Wednesday recounted how he would have been on the helicopter that crashed killing Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, ex-National Security Adviser Andrew Azazi and four others in Bayelsa State on Saturday.
Speaking in Kafanchan, at the special thanksgiving service to mark the 50th birthday anniversary of Apostle Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, the founder of Throneroom Ministry, Gen. Gowon said that the chopper was being arranged for them to fly to Port Harcourt when another one was provided for him and five others.
According to him: “We were with the aide of the President to pay our condolences and they started arranging for a Navy helicopter to take us to Yenogoa (with Yakowa). But, another helicopter was arranged for me and five others. And that was it.
“So when I heard about this accident, it really pained me. And I want to say, well, you can never tell with some of these things. It was an accident. Don’t attach any meaning to it. Don’t say that it was planned to get rid of some people or something like that.
“It was an accident; yes, it was an accident. There was this young pilot of the helicopter, who came to me after another helicopter was found for us, and he said to me, ‘sir, but I was ready to take you to Port Harcourt, as part of my duty today’. And I said to him, ‘don’t worry, there will be another time. I really hope I will have the pleasure of flying with you again’.
“These were nice innocent people. Something, probably mechanical, went wrong to have caused the accident. So it was not a plan to get rid of the governor for whatever any reason people want to guess.
“When, last Sunday, I saw the Governor (Ramalan Yero), who was newly sworn in, I said, ‘I hope you will continue with the good work that your late governor was doing. It was the two of you that were doing the work. You were working to bring peace to Kaduna State. I hope you will do something about this madness alluded to Boko Haram, which, unfortunately is being alluded to Muslims.”
“If Boko Haram are Muslims, then they are not the Muslims that I have worked with over the years. So don’t just blame Muslims for the violence, but that particular group that none of us understand. So, may the soul of our brother rest with our Lord.”