At the age of 32, Yakubu Gowon became Nigeria’s youngest military Head of State on August 1, 1966.
As the country’s leader, he presided over the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted from 1966 to 1970.
At the time, the charismatic Lieutenant Colonel Gowon was romantically involved with a certain Edith Ike in a marriage-preparation relationship.
However, Ike was thought to have put an end to the hot romance due to Gowon’s Civil War prosecution.
It was reported that she protested the way Nigerian troops maimed and killed her fellow Igbos under the government of a man she was in a relationship with.
Prior to that, her parents, though from Aro-Ndikelionwu in Anambra State’s Orumba North Local Government, had lived in the north for over thirty years. Following the first wave of the 1966 pogrom, they relocated to the East.
Ike had a son for Gowon while all of this was going on. Musa Jack Ngodadi Gowon was the child’s name.
Ike moved to West Germany on June 30, 1967, after Gowon overruled her plans to move to the United States or the United Kingdom. She later emigrated from Germany to the United States.
Ike and Gowon’s affair eventually ended towards the end of 1968. This was after Federal Troops bombed Aba General Hospital with NAF Napalm Bomb on July 14, 1968 killing more than 500 patients.
Gen. Yakubu Gowon denied the paternity of Musa who was born in 1968.
While the Civil War was raging, Gowon married his current wife, Victoria Zakari, a nurse, on April 19, 1969.
Edith Ike later returned to Nigeria after spending decades in the United States, leaving behind her son, Musa.
In Nigeria, she rose to prominence as a public relations expert, working for companies such as Guinness PLC and others.
She remarried twice, first to Dr Okongwu and then to Nze Mark Odu.
The dispute over Musa’s paternity raged on. It was later the subject of a legal action that reached Nigeria’s Supreme Court, which Edith Ike won. Nonetheless, Gowon refused to accept the child as his own.
Meanwhile, the young Musa was said to have joined a Colombian drug cartel and led a flamboyant lifestyle in the United States.
On his way from Germany to the United States in 1992, he was discovered with hard drugs. He vehemently denied being guilty of the crime, insisting that he had been framed.
Musa was sentenced to 40 years in prison in the United States on November 18, 1992, when he was 23 years old.
While in US custody, he lost his mother to cancer in December 2003.
While in prison, Musa pursued a graduate course and graduated with a degree in law.
In 2015, after spending 22 years in jail, Musa Gowon was granted a presidential pardon by the administration of Barrack Obama. He was released on the basis of good behavior while incarcerated. This effectively cut his 40-year prison sentence in half.
On January 1, 2016, he was deported to Nigeria by US authorities.
Later that year, Yakubu Gowon finally acknowledged Musa’s paternity. This was after a thorough DNA test revealed that Musa is his biological son. This effectively ended the 48-year-old paternity dispute over Musa Gowon.
In a statement acknowledging Musa as his son, Gen. Gowon requested privacy following a difficult period.
He said: “Following years of doubts and speculation, a DNA test was recently conducted to ascertain the paternity of Musa Gowon, who recently returned to the country.
”The results of the tests were conclusive, and they confirm his paternity. We, the family, are working to assist in his rehabilitation following a very difficult period in his life”.
Musa Gowon is happily married to former Vivienne Agbonkhese. They got married on Saturday, June 11 in Benin City.
Musa Gowon has since established himself as a notable Nigerian fashion designer. He is the owner of MJG Fashions (MJG is a moniker Musa Jack Gowon).
The clothing company produces African garments that are specially cut and embroidered.
The company operates factories in Enugu and Lagos, as well as outlets throughout Nigeria, including Abuja.
Musa creates what many consider well-designed wears for people who love good clothes as well as embroidery, and MJG styles have gained significant ground in the fashion sector over time.