General Yakubu Gowon, deposed as Nigerian Head of State while attending the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in Uganda, has pledged his support for the new government.
GV EXTERIOR Nile Hotel
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ 2: GENERAL GOWON: "Ladies and gentlemen of the press. This is a statement ??? on the situation in Nigeria. From all indications a new government has been established in Nigeria. I wish to say that ??? my part, have also accepted the change and pledge my full loyalty to my nation, to my country and the new government. Therefore, in the overall interests of the nation and our beloved country I appeal to all concerned to co-operate fully with the new government and ensure the preservation of peace, unity and stability of our dear motherland. As a Nigerian I am prepared to serve my country in any capacity which my country may consider appropriate. I am a professional soldier and I can do any duty that I am called upon to do. May I take this opportunity to thank all the people of Nigeria and friends of Nigeria for the support and co-operation that you all gave me during my tenure of office and call upon you all to give the new government of our nation the same support and co-operation in the interests of our beloved country.
Long live, one united, happy and prosperous Nigeria. Long live the Organisation of African Unity. May god bless you all. Now gentlemen, there is this you know, according to Shakespeare. Shakespeare said: 'All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. And quote and quote.' Well ladies and gentlemen, I am quite sure that you will pardon me if I cannot answer any more of your questions. I wish you all the best of luck but please pray and look after Nigeria for me. Thank you very much. You will find out. You will find out. Goodbye."
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Background: General Yakubu Gowon, deposed as Nigerian Head of State while attending the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in Uganda, has pledged his support for the new government.
On Wednesday (30 July) he told a crowded news conference he accepted the change of leadership and pledged full loyalty to his nation. General Gowon was making his first public statement since news of the coup was released in Kampala on Monday (28 July) while the OAU was sitting.
When the General was told he had been replaced by Brigadier Muritala Rufai Mohammed, one of the men who helped him to power in 1966, he left the summit and retired to his hotel with the Nigerian delegation.
He remained in his luxure Nile Hotel suit for more than a day, and did not attend a huge banquet given in honour of the OAU by Ugandan President Idi Amin on Tuesday (29 July).
General Gowon remained very much in control throughout the news conference but declined to answer questions after he had delivered his speech. There is still no indication of his future movements.
The coup appears to have upset the smooth running of the summit. Five of the 19 heads of states, including Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, left Uganda on Wednesday, three days before the summit is due to finish.