The Nigerian military coup of December 31, 1983 was coordinated by key officers of the Nigerian military, led to the ouster of the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari, and the installation of Major General Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State.
Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, was a Nigerian politician who served as the first and only President of Nigeria's Second Republic (1979–1983), after the handover of power by General Olusegun Obasanjo's military government. Shagari also served seven times in a ministerial or cabinet post as a federal minister and federal commissioner from 1958–1975.
Muhammadu Buhari is a Nigerian politician currently serving as the President of Nigeria, in office since 2015. He is a retired major general in the Nigerian Army and previously served as the nation's head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after taking power in a military coup d'état. The term Buharism is ascribed to the Buhari military government.
Civil-military tensions were testy as evidenced by the Gaius of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3rd Division (Major General Muhammadu Buhari) to cut off fuel supplies and food into Chad, an action caused by border disputes between Nigeria and Chad and which was opposed by President Shehu Shagari. Against further orders by Shagari to avoid breaching Chadian Borders, Buhari's units pursued Chadian intruders about 50 km into Chad. These unilateral actions in the words of military historian Nowa Omoigui "undermined civil-military relations and eventually contributed (among other reasons) to a successful coup on December 31, 1983". Prior to December 31, 1983, the Director General of the National Security Organization, Umaru Shinkafi detected chatter associated with up to 10 coup plots but the NSO was unable to act because of the tenuous and vague nature of the intelligence gathered. One of the key coup participants, Major General Ibrahim Babangida noted in Karl Maier's 'Midnight in Nigeria', the media and financial collaboration of business mogul Moshood Kashimawo Abiola in the coup plot.
The National Security Organization (NSO) of Nigeria, or Nigerian Security Organization, was created under Decree number 27 of 1976 by the military regime of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, after the failed Dimka coup which claimed the life of former Head of State Gen. Murtala Mohammed. The NSO was given a mandate of co-ordinating Internal Security, Foreign Intelligence and counterintelligence activities. It was charged with the detection and prevention of any crime against the security of the state, with the protection of classified materials, and with carrying out any other security missions assigned by the president.
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, is a retired Nigerian Army General who was President of Nigeria from 27 August 1985 to 26 August 1993. He previously served as the chief of army staff from January 1984 to August 1985. Babangida was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria.
Colonel Tunde Ogbeha was tasked by the coup plotters to negotiate the peaceful surrender of President Shagari's Brigade of Guards army unit. Ogbeha was unable to reach Colonel Bello Kaliel, the Commander of the Brigade of Guards and engaged in a Lagos-to-Abuja-and-back seeking game which made Kaliel suspicious. Brigadier Ibrahim Bako was given the responsibility of arresting President Shagari after Ogbeha's successful negotiation of a peaceful surrender. Unknown to Bako was the fact that no such surrender had been negotiated. Additionally details of the plot had not only been leaked to President Shagari but also Captain Anyogo and Lt Colonel Eboma of the Brigade of Guards mounted a defense of the presidential villa in anticipation of an attack. As expected Brigadier Bako arrived at the Presidential villa to arrest President Shagari but President Shagari's guards were not pacified as expected. A firefight ensued leading to the killing of Brigadier Bako.
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.
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Sani Abacha was a Nigerian Army officer and dictator who served as the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998. He is also the first Nigerian soldier to attain the rank of a full star General without skipping a single rank.
Babatunde "Tunde" Abdulbaki Idiagbon was a Nigerian Army major general who served as chief of staff at Supreme Headquarters under the military regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari from 1983 to 1985. He was also a key member of Nigeria's military governments between 1966 and 1979, serving as a military administrator of Borno State under General Olusegun Obasanjo's military government. He died on 24 March 1999 in Ilorin, Kwara state, Nigeria. Idiagbon was one of Nigeria's egalitarian military leaders.
Halilu Akilu or Haliru Akilu is a retired Nigerian Army Brigadier General who served as Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Chief of Defence Intelligence, and Director of the Directorate of Military Intelligence.
General Buhari has denied his involvement in the December 1983 coup however the example of the late Major Daniel Bamidele betrays Buhari's complicity in the December 1983 coup. Nigerian military historians Max Siollun and Nowa Omoigui note that when Major Bamidele got wind of the coup to oust Shagari, Bamidele reported the issue up the chain of command to his GOC 3rd Armored Division (Major General Buhari) who was allegedly in on the plot. To prevent Bamidele from leaking the plot, Buhari ordered the arrest and detention of Bamidele for 2 weeks. Bamidele wasn't released until the successful execution of the coup. Learning from this unfortunate experience, Bamidele didn't report any rumors of the so-called Vatsa coup (between 1985 and 1986) and was executed for it.Bamidele's words to the Special Military Tribunal that tried and convicted him are:
Major Daniel Idowu Bamidele was a Nigerian army officer who was executed by the government of Major General Ibrahim Babangida for failing to report an alleged conspiracy against the government, what is popularly referred to as the "Vatsa Coup". Bamidele was charged with conspiracy to commit treason.
Max Siollun is a Nigerian historian that specializes on Nigerian history with a particular focus on the Nigerian military and how it has affected Nigeria's socio-political trajectory from the pre-colonial era to the present. Max Siollun was born in Nigeria and educated in England, graduating from the University of London.
Nowamagbe Omoigui is a Nigerian military historian and cardiologist.
"I heard of the 1983 coup planning, told my GOC General Buhari who detained me for two weeks in Lagos. Instead of a pat on the back, I received a stab. How then do you expect me to report this one? This trial marks the eclipse of my brilliant and unblemished career of 19 years. I fought in the civil war with the ability it pleased God to give me. It is unfortunate that I'm being convicted for something which I have had to stop on two occasions. This is not self adulation but a sincere summary of the qualities inherent in me. It is an irony of fate that the president of the tribunal who in 1964 felt that I was good enough to take training in the UK is now saddled with the duty of showing me the exit from the force and the world."
Additionally, in a 2015 interview, Sambo Dasuki alleges that he and two other military officers (co-conspirators) travelled to Jos to brief Major General Buhari, who was then the GOC of 3rd Armoured Division, on the status of planning for the 1983 coup.
Major General Buhari's Supreme Military Council (SMC) observed a minute of silence for the slain Brigadier Bako during the SMCs first meeting.
Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa OFR was a senior Nigerian Army officer and writer who was executed by the government of Major General Ibrahim Babangida on 5 March 1986 following a military tribunal conviction for treason associated with an abortive coup. He served as Minister of the Federal Capital Abuja, and was a member of the Supreme Military Council.
Lieutenant Colonel Bukar Suka Dimka was a Nigerian Army officer who played a leading role in the February 13, 1976 abortive military coup against the government of General Murtala Ramat Mohammed. Dimka also participated in the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 which toppled the government of General Aguiyi Ironsi.
Dodan Barracks is a military barracks occupying a large area located off Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria. Dodan Barracks was the residence of the heads of state of various Military Governments in Nigeria, and also the Supreme Military Headquarters from 1966 until the move to Abuja in 1991. The name "Dodan" originated from the site of a battle fought during the Second World War by the 82nd West African Division in Burma.
Jonathan Tunde Ogbeha is a retired general from Kogi State, Nigeria, who was administrator of Akwa Ibom State and then of Bendel State during the military rule of General Ibrahim Babangida (1985–1993). After the return to democracy in 1999 he was the elected senator for the Kogi West constituency of Kogi State from May 1999 to May 2007. He is an influential figure in Kogi State politics.A biography book on Ogbeha titled "Jonathan Tunde Ogbeha: A Noble Path" was written by a journalist ,Innocent Nzeke Waniko and presented publicly on 1st September 2017. The book chronicles the early life and comprehensively captures the life and career of Ogbeha.
John Nanzip Shagaya was a Nigerian senator and former senior military officer who was elected in April 2007 to represent the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State as member of the Nigerian Senate for Plateau South. He ran for reelection in April 2011 on the Labour Party (LP) platform, but was defeated by Victor Lar of the PDP. As a non commissioned officer (NCO) with the 2nd Reconnaissance Squadron in Abeokuta, he participated in the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966.
Colonel Ibrahim Taiwo was a Military Governor of Kwara State from July 1975 to February 1976 during the military regime of General Murtala Mohammed. He assisted in establishment of the University of Ilorin, which was founded by decree August, 1975.
Colonel Ahmed Muhammad Daku was appointed Governor of Kano State in Nigeria on 27 August 1985 at the start of the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, and was transferred to become Governor of Sokoto State from December 1987 to August 1990.
Garba Duba is a retired Nigerian Army Lieutenant General who was Governor of Bauchi State, Nigeria from July 1978 to October 1979 during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, and Administrator of Sokoto State from January 1984 to August 1985 during the military regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
Brigadier Mohammed Sani Sami was Governor of Bauchi State, Nigeria from January 1984 to August 1985 during the military regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
Lt. Colonel Mohammed Maina was governor of Borno State, Nigeria during the military administrations of Generals Ibrahim Babangida.
Lt. General Salihu Ibrahim FSS, FHWC was a Nigerian army general who was Chief of Army Staff from August 1990 until September 1993 during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.
There have been a large number of successful and failed military coups in Nigeria since the country's independence from the British Empire in 1960. A military coup is the violent or non-violent overthrow of an existing political regime by the military. Between 1966 and 1999 the army held power in Nigeria without interruption apart from a short-lived return to democracy between 1979-1983. “Military coups and military rule became a seemingly permanent feature of Nigerian politics.Buhari was the one who lead the military coup of 1983. Buhari removed then head of state shehu shagari and imprisoned him for two years in a closed door without light.
Sambo Dasuki is a retired Nigerian Army Colonel and former National Security Adviser (NSA) to the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. He was appointed NSA on June 22, 2012, following the removal of General Owoye Andrew Azazi.
Alfred Aduloju was a Nigerian Army major general who served as commanding officer of a number of Nigerian Army divisions and Commandant of the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College. He was also one of the principal actors in the July 29 1975 coup that ousted then military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon.
Yohanna Yarima Kure is a retired Nigerian army officer. He was a member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (1985-1987) at the onset of Ibrahim Babangida's administration and was member of the Supreme Military Council of Nigeria (1983–1985) in Buhari's military government.