World: General Gowon: The Binder of Wounds

WHEN a U.S. diplomat called on Major General Yakubu ("Jack") Gowon last week, he noticed a well-thumbed volume of Carl Sandburg's biography of Abraham Lincoln on the desk of Nigeria's 35-year-old military leader. Gowon had apparently read it carefully. He quoted Lincoln on the problem of "binding up the nation's wounds" and the need to ensure that "the dead shall not have died in vain." Throughout Nigeria's civil war, Gowon operated on the Lincolnesque proposition that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." In the process, he became quite a Lincoln scholar; he once remarked that he had got so that...

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