Ijaw leader Chief Edwin Clark has commended former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, for speaking out to preserve the unity of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Gen. Gowon had appealed to the Heads of Governments of the regional bloc, led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to lift the sanctions placed on Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic following military interventions in the ECOWAS member-states.

The former Head of State, who is one of the founding fathers of the regional body, also urged the three countries to withdrawal their notice of exiting the group.

ECOWAS has since heeded the call of the Nigerian former leader by lifting some of the sanctions.

In an open letter to his erstwhile boss, titled: “I salute your courage in speaking out on ECOWAS sanctions”, Clark expressed his pride in Gen. Gowon’s efforts towards ensuring that ECOWAS does not disintegrate.

The letter reads: “I join most other patriotic Nigerians to commend you for the courage in recently calling on ECOWAS Heads of States to lift sanctions on some of its erring members.

“This is certainly a display of a high sense of responsibility, which can only come from a revered elder statesman such as you.

“I am not surprised knowing the personal efforts that you put in towards the formation of the body on 28th May, 1975. With great efforts and charisma, you personally engaged all the regional and brought everyone under one roof.

“Against language barriers and political prejudices against one another, especially as quite a handful, were military officers; you led faithfully in uniting all into one community.

“I recall with pride the privilege you afforded to me travelling, in Nigerian military aircrafts, to various countries including Senegal, Gambia, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, as your Commissioner of Information (Minister) and special envoy to canvas your colleagues to attend the summit which held  in Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Each president or head of state, who attended the summit which took place at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos was assigned the Federal Commissioner (Minister) to look after the President or Head of State who attended the Summit at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Brig-Gen. Murtala Mohammed, who was the Federal Commissioner for Communication was assigned to the radical Head of State, Guinea Bissau’s President, Amicar Cabral. I was assigned to President Dawda Jawara of Gambia, and the Summit was very successful.”

“And I also congratulate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR and ECOWAS leaders that have heeded your counsel as most of the sanctions have been removed following the Summit, which was held on Saturday, 24th February, 2024.

“I do hope that this your intervention will now make it possible to arrive at amicable resolution within the body, and the three countries will now rescind their earlier decisions to leave.”

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