1966 Nigerian coup d'état

Last updated
1966 Nigerian coup d'etat
DateJanuary 15–16, 1966
Location Nigeria
Result
Belligerents
Flag of Nigeria.svg Government of Nigeria Flag of Nigeria.svg Rebel Army Officers
Commanders and leaders
Abubakar Balewa  
Ahmadu Bello  
Samuel Akintola  
Festus Okotie-Eboh  
Kaduna Nzeogwu
Timothy Onwuatuegwu
Emmanuel Ifeajuna
Adewale Ademoyega
Chris Anuforo
Humphrey Chukwuka
Don Okafor
Strength
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
22 dead 0

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 people [1] including the Prime Minister of Nigeria, many senior politicians, many senior Army officers (including their wives), and sentinels on protective duty. [2] [3] 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 Place in Kaduna State, Nigeria

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.

Contents

Background

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 First President of Nigeria

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".

Caribbean region to the center-east of America composed of many islands and of coastal regions of continental countries surrounding the Caribbean Sea

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.

Coup

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. [4] [5]

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 Metropolis in Nigeria

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 Aguiyi-Ironsi Nigerian soldier

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.

Aftermath

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. [6]

Officers involved

The list below shows the officers involved on both sides of the coup as well as their ethnic backgrounds.

Conspirators

Igbo people Ethnic group in south eastern Nigeria

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.

Yoruba people ethnic group of West Africa

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.

Participants

Government officials

Casualties

Comprehensive list of casualties from the coup are below [1]

Civilians

Military and police

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. 1 2 Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing, 2009. p. 237. ISBN   9780875867106.
  2. 1 2 Omoigui, Nowamagbe. "SPECIAL BRANCH REPORT: "Military Rebellion of 15th January 1966". Gamji.com. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  3. 1 2 Kirk-Greene & Millard. Crisis and conflict in Nigeria: a documentary sourcebook, Volume 1; Volume 9. Oxford University Press, 1971. p. 124.
  4. Nzeogwu's Declaration of Martial Law - January 15, 1966
  5. "Radio broadcast by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu – announcing Nigeria's first military coup on Radio Nigeria, Kaduna on January 15, 1966". Vanguard. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  6. Abubakar Ibrahim (29 July 2008). "The Forgotten Interim President". Daily Trust. Retrieved 2010-02-28.