General Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria received news that he had been deposed while at the organisation of African Unity summit on Tuesday (29 July), without any sign of concern.
SV PAN General Grown of Nigeria listens to his aide during Amin's speech
CU & SV Grown rises and leaves conference centre (3 shots)
SV Newsmen surround Grown and ask questions to which Gowon SAYS: "I've seen the Reuter report.I've no comment to make."
CU Gowon returns to room
SV & CU Gowon and Amin talking and shaking hands.Gowon laughs as he walks away and says: "Nothing to worry about."
SV Gowon sits again
CU Delegate walks to Gowon and sympathise.Gowon replies:"It's just the foreign news.We'll wait and see what happens."
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Background: General Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria received news that he had been deposed while at the organisation of African Unity summit on Tuesday (29 July), without any sign of concern.
When an aide handed him a note telling of the coup, General Gowon showed no surprise. He gave no indication of admitting defeat. All he said to journalists who questioned him at the summit in Kampala was: "I've seen the Reuter report. I've no comment to make."
He than left the hall for a short consultation with his delegation.
Later he talked with Ugandan President and OAU Chairman, Idi Amin, who had adjourned the summit. General Gowon was smiling as he said to journalists: "Nothing to worry about."
He returned temporarily to the Nigerian seat in the conference and the only elaboration on his comments he would make was: "It's just the foreign news. We'll wait and see what happens."
He then left the summit and spent the rest of the day locked in his hotel suite. He was consulting his delegation and telephoning abroad to brief himself as fully as possible on developments.
It is believed he was trying to gauge what support the coup was receiving in Nigeria and how many senior military officers would remain loyal.
In his luxury Nile Hotel he also had talks with President Mobutu sese Seko of Zaire and President Amin.
General Gowon was replaced in Nigeria by Brigadier Muritala Rufai Mohammed, one of the architects of the coup which brought General Gowon to power in 1966.
Colonel Namvan Garba, known to be a friend of General Gowon announced the coup on Lagos radio. He said it had been bloodless.
It came after months of labour and student unrest in Africa's most populous nation.
News of the coup appeared to shock delegates at the OAU. The summit was adjourned for the day and seems to have been disrupted severely. Several heads of state have decided to leave, although the summit is not due to finish until Friday (1 August).
SYNOPSIS: The Organisation of African Unity summit meeting in Kampala. On Tuesday the DAU was severally disrupted when it heard one of its members, General Yakubu Gowon, had been deposed as leader of Nigeria while attending the conference. General Yakubu Gowon, had been deposed as leader of Nigeria while attending the conference. General Gown remained impassive when his aide handed him a note about a bloodless military coup in Lagos the night before.
Then the General, who has been in power since nineteen sixty-six, left the summit to consult with his delegation for some fifteen minutes.
He was replaced in Nigeria by Brigadier Muritala Rufai Mohammed who previously helped Central Gowon to power.
General Gowon remained calm, despite being almost mobbed by newsmen. He brushed off questions by saying he had seen the news report on the coup and he had no comment to make.
He then returned to the summit meeting, where he spoke with Ugandan President and DAU Chairman, Idi Amin, President Amin decided to adjourn the summit for the day. The coup has severely disrupted the running of the Kampala conference. Many delegates were shocked by the news. General Gowon's remarks that there was nothing to worry about did little to dispel this. Several heads of states later decided to quit the conference which is not due to finish until Friday.
News of the coup first came over Lagos radio. It was announced by Nigerian Colonel Garba, reputed to be a close friend of General Gowon. He said the coup followed months of student and labour unrest. General Gowon showed no signs of admitting defeat while at the conference. The General remained for a short time at the summit before returning with his delegation to his hotel. He remained there for the rest of the day, apparently consulting his delegation and finding out any developments in Nigeria. He has since made no statement of his future plans. President Amin gave a banquet the same night for two thousand people at the hotel where General Gowon was staying. But the general did no t attend.