|1966 Nigerian coup d'etat|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Abubakar Balewa † |
Ahmadu Bello †
Samuel Akintola †
Festus Okotie-Eboh †
| Kaduna Nzeogwu |
|Casualties and losses|
The 1966 Nigerian coup d'état began on January 15, 1966, when mutinous Nigerian soldiers led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna killed 22 peopleincluding the Prime Minister of Nigeria, many senior politicians, many senior Army officers (including their wives), and sentinels on protective duty. The coup plotters attacked the cities of Kaduna, Ibadan, and Lagos while also blockading the Niger and Benue River within a two-day span of time before the coup plotters were subdued. The General Officer Commanding, of the Nigerian Army, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi then used the coup as a pretext to annex power, ending Nigeria's nascent democracy. It was one of the events that led to the Nigerian Civil War.
Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, was born on 26 February 1937 in Kaduna and died in a mysterious circumstance on 29 July 1967 in Nsuka sector during the Nigeria Civil War.
Emmanuel Arinze Ifeajuna was a Nigerian army major and high jumper who played a principal role in the January 15, 1966 military coup. He was the first Black African to win a gold medal at an international sports event when he won at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. His winning mark and personal best of 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) was a games record and a British Empire record at the time.
Kaduna is the state capital of Kaduna State in north-western Nigeria, on the Kaduna River. It is a trade centre and a major transportation hub for the surrounding agricultural areas, with its rail and road junction. The population of Kaduna was at 760,084 as of the 2006 Nigerian census. Rapid urbanisation over the past decade has created an increasingly large population, now estimated to be around 1.3 million. Kaduna's name derives from the Hausa word kada for crocodile.
In August 1965 a group of Army majors (Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, Emmanuel Ifeajuna, Timothy Onwuatuegwu, Chris Anuforo, Don Okafor, Humphrey Chukwuka, and Adewale Ademoyega) began plotting a coup d'état against incumbent Prime Minister Abubakar Balewa. The coup was planned because according to the majors, the men at the helm of affairs were running Nigeria aground with their corrupt ways. Ministers under them were living flamboyant lifestyles and looting public funds at the expense of ordinary citizens.
Timothy Onwuatuegwu was a Biafran Army Major and former Nigerian Army Major. He was a leading military figure in the Nigerian Civil War and a participant in the 1966 Nigerian coup d'etat.
Chris Anuforo was a Nigerian Army Major and one of the principal plotters of the January 15, 1966 coup, an event that derailed Nigeria's nascent democracy and introduced military rule to Nigeria.
Major Donatus Okafor was a Nigerian army officer, Commander of the Federal Guards Brigade, and one of the principal plotters of the January 15, 1966 coup, an event that derailed Nigeria's nascent democracy and introduced military rule to Nigeria.
The president of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe left the country in late 1965, first for Europe, then on a cruise to the Caribbean. Under the law, the Senate president, Nwafor Orizu, became acting president during his absence and had all the powers of the president.
Nnamdi Azikiwe, PC,, usually referred to as "Zik", was a Nigerian statesman who was Governor General of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963 and the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. Considered a driving force behind the nation's independence, he came to be known as the "father of Nigerian Nationalism".
The Caribbean is a region of The Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
Prince Abyssinia Akweke Nwafor Orizu. was a Nigerian of Igbo origin and Nigeria's second Senate President from November 16, 1960 to January 15, 1966, during the Nigerian First Republic. Orizu was also Acting President of Nigeria from late 1965 until the military coup of January 1966. He was a member of the Nnewi Royal family. His nephew Igwe Kenneth Onyeneke Orizu III is the current Igwe (King) of Nnewi Kingdom. Nwafor Orizu College of Education in Nsugbe, Anambra State is named after him.
Late in the morning of January 15, 1966, at a meeting with some local journalists in Kaduna seeking to find out what was going on, it was brought to Major Nzeogwu's attention that the only information about the events then was what was being broadcast by the BBC. Nzeogwu was surprised because he had expected a radio broadcast of the rebels from Lagos. He is said to have "gone wild" when he learnt that Emmanuel Ifeajuna in Lagos had not made any plans whatsoever to neutralize Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi who was the Commander of the Army. Therefore, Nzeogwu hurriedly drafted a speech which was broadcast on Radio Kaduna sometime around 12 a.m. and in which he declared martial law over the Northern Provinces of Nigeria.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
Lagos is a city in the Nigerian state of Lagos. The city, with its adjoining conurbation, is the most populous in Nigeria, and the most populous on the African continent. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and also one of the most populous urban agglomerations. Lagos is a major financial centre in Africa; the megacity has the highest GDP, and also houses one of the largest and busiest seaports on the continent.
Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi was a senior Nigerian military officer and the first Nigerian Military Head of State. He seized power in the ensuing chaos following the 15 January 1966 military coup, serving as the Nigerian Head of State from 16 January 1966 until his assassination on 29 July 1966 by a group of mutinous Northern army soldiers who revolted against his government in what was popularly called the July Counter Coup.
Acting President Nwafor Orizu made a nationwide broadcast, after he had briefed President Nnamdi Azikiwe on the phone about the decision of the cabinet, announcing the cabinet's "voluntary" decision to transfer power to the armed forces. Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi then made his own broadcast, accepting the "invitation". On January 17, Major General Ironsi established the Supreme Military Council in Lagos and effectively suspended the constitution.
The list below shows the officers involved on both sides of the coup as well as their ethnic backgrounds.
The Igbo people are an ethnic group native to the present-day south-central and southeastern Nigeria. Geographically, the Igbo homeland is divided into two unequal sections by the Niger River – an eastern and a western section. The Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
Adewale Ademoyega was one of the five mutinous Nigerian Army Majors who led the 1966 coup that ended the first democratic Nigerian government.
The Yorùbá people are a Niger–Congo ethnic group of southwestern and north-central Nigeria, as well as southern and central Benin. Together, these regions are known as Yorubaland. The Yoruba constitute about 44 million people in total. Majority of this population is from Nigeria, where the Yorùbá make up 21% of the country's population, according to the CIA World Factbook, making them one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. Most Yoruba people speak the Yoruba language, which is tonal, and is the Niger-Congo language with the largest number of native speakers.
Comprehensive list of casualties from the coup are below
Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was a Nigerian military officer and politician who served as the military governor of the Eastern Region of Nigeria in 1966 and the leader of the breakaway Republic of Biafra from 1967 to 1970. He was active as a politician from 1983 to 2011, when he died aged 78.
The First Republic was the republican government of Nigeria between 1963 and 1966 governed by the first republican constitution.
A Man of the People (1966) is a novel by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe. This satirical novel is a story told by the young and educated narrator, Odili, on his conflict with Chief Nanga, his former teacher who enters a career in politics in an unnamed modern African country. Odili represents the changing younger generation; Nanga represents the traditional customs of Nigeria. The book ends with a military coup, similar to the real-life coups of Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Yakubu Gowon.
This article is about the particular significance of the year 1966 to Nigeria and its people. See also: Timeline of Nigerian history.
The 1966 Nigerian counter-coup, or the so-called "July Rematch", was the second of many military coups in Nigeria. It was masterminded by Lt. Colonel Murtala Muhammed and many northern military officers. The coup began as a mutiny at roughly midnight on July 28, 1966 and was a reaction to the killings of Northern politicians and Officers by mostly Igbo soldiers on January 15, 1966 The July mutiny/counter coup resulted in the murder of Nigeria's first military Head of State General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and Lt Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi in Ibadan by disgruntled northern non-commissioned officers (NCOs). Upon the termination of Ironsi's government, Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon was appointed Head of State by the July 1966 coup conspirators.
The 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom was a series of massacres committed against Igbo people and other people of southern Nigerian origin living in northern Nigeria starting in May 1966 and reaching a peak after 29 September 1966. These events led to the secession of the eastern Nigerian region and the declaration of the Republic of Biafra, which ultimately led to the Nigeria-Biafra war. The 1966 massacres of southern Nigerians have been described as a holocaust by "Greene -1975. The Struggle for Secession 1966–70: A Personal Account of the Nigerian Civil War by N. U. Akpan. The Nigerian Civil War 1967–70. The Royal African society in January 1975 and others have variously been described as genocide.
Kam Selem is a Nigerian former police officer and the second Inspector General of Nigerian Police, a post he held from 1966 to 1975 during the military rule of General Yakubu Gowon.
Chief Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode, Q.C., SAN, CON (1921–1995) was a leading Nigerian politician, aristocrat, nationalist, statesman and lawyer. He was elected deputy premier of the Western Region of Nigeria in 1963 and he played a major role in Nigeria's legal history and politics from the late 1940s until 1995.
The Operation UNICORD was an offensive launched by the Nigerian Army at the beginning of the Nigerian Civil War. It involved the capture of 6 major Biafran towns near their northern border.
The Invasion of Port Harcourt was a military conflict between Nigerian and Biafran military forces.
Victor Banjo was a Colonel in the Nigerian Army. He ended up in the Biafran Army during the struggles between Nigeria and Biafra. Victor Banjo was mistaken for a coup plotter against the Nigerian Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa, by the Government of Aguyi Ironsi He was alleged to have staged a coup plot against Biafran President Odumegwu Ojukwu. and was executed as a result. It took a second military tribunal judge to sentence Victor Banjo, because Odumegwu Ojukwu's first military judge stated that there were not enough evidence to convict Victor Banjo of coup charges. There has been no third party verification of Victor Banjo's involvement in the Nigerian Coup nor Biafran Coup. His alleged involvement in both coup plots has been based on unsubstantiated hearsay.
Brigadier Ibrahim Bako was a senior officer in the Nigerian Army who played a principal role in two Nigerian military coups: the July 1966 counter-coup and the December 1983 coup. The 1983 coup ousted the democratic government of Shehu Shagari while the July 1966 coup ousted the military government of General Ironsi. Bako was killed while attempting to arrest President Shehu Shagari during the December 1983 coup d'état.
Ogbugo Kalu was a former army officer who served in both the Nigerian Army and Biafran Army. Kalu was also commander of the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in Kaduna following the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état.
Humphrey Chukwuka is a retired Nigerian Army Major, former Biafran Army Colonel, and one of the principal plotters of the January 15, 1966 coup, an event that derailed Nigeria's nascent democracy and introduced military rule to Nigeria.