Gowon challenged religious, political and traditional institutions to teach and promote the tenets of peace and unity.
He made the declaration at an award giving ceremony in Abuja, organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with “Love to the World Initiative”, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
Gowon, who was represented by his brother, Mr Dauda Gowon, as Chairman of the occasion, commended the organisers of the award and congratulated the awardees, as well as urged them to keep up the goodwill.
He said the event was timely, considering the problems facing the country at the moment.
He added that “this award ceremony is timely and relevant, considering the serious political, ethnic and religious challenges being experienced in our nation Nigeria today.
“We have to overcome these problems in order for us to move forward.
“I am delighted and honoured to be nominated for this award, anchored on the theme `Heal the Land/Bridge Builders.”
The former head of state said that his passion and commitment for Nigeria to remain as one entity was the main reason for accepting to chair the occasion.
“You are all aware of my strong desire and commitment for the peace and unity of our nation; this informed my consideration and acceptance of this invitation to encourage and also add my voice to the call for peace and national unity.
“I want to reiterate in strongest term, that the peace and unity of Nigeria is non negotiable.
“I and the other awardees are saying that all of us are called to continue to work at achieving the much desired peace and unity that we crave daily for our country.
“I am strongly of the belief that for the future of our nation to be assured, we must strive to build legacies of peace and unity.”
He, therefore, challenged religious, political and traditional institutions to endeavour to teach and promote the tenets of peace and unity among citizens.