Ibrahim Bako

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Ibrahim Bako
Acting General Officer Commanding, 1st Mechanized Division, Nigerian Army
Personal details
Alma mater Nigerian Military Training College
RMA Sandhurst
Military service
Service/branch Flag of the Nigerian Army Headquarters.svg Nigerian Army
Years of service 1961 – 1983
Rank Brigadier

Brigadier Ibrahim Bako (1943 [1] – December 31, 1983) 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.

Nigerian Army Land warfare branch of Nigerias military

The Nigerian Army (NA) is the largest component of the Nigerian Armed Forces, and is responsible for land warfare operations. It is governed by the Nigerian Army Council (NAC). It bears the brunt of the nation's security challenges, notably the Boko Haram insurgency.

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 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.



Ibrahim Bako was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1963 as a Lieutenant [1] after graduating from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Bako (then a Lt Colonel) served as a logistics officer on the National Census Board for the 1973 census. [2] At a point in his career, Ibrahim Bako led the Nigerian Army contingent that facilitated the transfer of about 100 former guerrillas from the Zimbabwean bushes (after the liberation struggle) for selection and training at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna in 1980. Those 100 former guerrillas formed the pioneer corp of the post-independence Zimbabwe National Army. [3] As of December 31, 1983, Bako was Director of the Army Faculty at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, and acting GOC 1 Mechanised Division, Kaduna. [1]

The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna, is the first of two Military universities in Nigeria. Nigerian Army University established in 2018 in Biu, Borno State is the other military university though it does not offer military training. The duration of training at the Nigerian Defence Academy is 5 years for Army cadets(4 years Academic + 1 year Military) and 4 years for Navy and Air force cadets after which they proceed to Nigerian Naval College, Onne, Port-hacourt and 301 Flying Training School(301FTS), Kaduna respectively for 1 year training at their respective services.

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.

Zimbabwe National Army

The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is the primary branch of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces responsible for land-oriented military operations. It is the largest service branch under the Zimbabwean Joint Operations Command (JOC). The modern army has its roots in the Rhodesian Army, which was raised between 1963 and 1964 after the breakup of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. A Joint High Command created in March 1980 to oversee integration of the formerly belligerent Rhodesian Security Forces, Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA), and the Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) officially established the Zimbabwe National Army in late 1980, nearly a year after the end of the Rhodesian Bush War.

Role in July 28, 1966 coup

The July 28, 1966 mutiny (often called the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966) was a violent overthrow of General Aguiyi-Ironsi's military government, which came into power after the abortive January 15 coup, spearheaded by Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna and Lt Col Kaduna Nzeogwu. A group of military officers of northern Nigerian origin (including then Lts Ibrahim Bako, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, Theophilus Danjuma, Captain Joe Garba, Lt Col Murtala Muhammed, among others) conspired and mutinied against General Ironsi's military government. [4] Among the casualties of the mutiny were General Aguiyi Ironsi and Lt Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi. During reconnaissance for the counter coup, then Lt Col Murtala Mohammed would drive to Ibadan (where Bako was stationed along with others like then Lt Jerry Useni), Muhammed would often drive into town from Lagos, pick up Ibrahim Bako and Abdullai Shelleng at a pre-arranged location and drive around without stopping while they discussed their counter-coup plan. [5]

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.

Shehu Musa Yar'Adua was a retired Nigerian Army major general who served as the Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters under General Olusegun Obasanjo's 1976 - 1979 military government.

Theophilus Danjuma Nigerian soldier and politician

General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma is a Nigerian soldier, politician, multi-millionaire businessman and philanthropist. He was Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1979. He was also Minister of Defence under President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration. Danjuma is chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO).

Role in December 31, 1983 coup

Ibrahim Bako (then Director of the Army Faculty at the Armed Forces Command and staff College, Jaji) [3] and acting GOC 1 Mechanised Division, Kaduna, [1] was tasked by the coup conspirators with arresting President Shehu Shagari presumably after Shagari's Brigade of Guards had been neutralized (without violence as planned) by Col Tunde Ogbeha. Author Max Siollun notes that Bako was chosen for the arresting role because Bako's father was a personal friend to Shagari. Unknown to Bako was the fact that the coup plot had been leaked to President Shagari, whose guards were on high alert. After arriving at the Presidential residence (in non-military attire) with an armed detachment to arrest the President, [6] Bako was shot dead while sitting in the passenger side of a Unimog utility truck [3] in an ensuing firefight between troops from Bako's detachment and the Brigade of Guards soldiers under the command of Captain Augustine Anyogo. [7] The Unimog utility truck that Bako was killed in is on display at the Nigerian Army Museum in Zaria, Nigeria.

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.

Unimog a range off-road medium trucks produced by Daimler-Benz

Unimog is a range of multi-purpose all-wheel drive medium trucks produced by Daimler and sold under the brand name Mercedes-Benz. In the United States and Canada, the Unimog was sold as the Freightliner Unimog. The name Unimog is pronounced [ˈuːnɪmɔk] in German and is an acronym for the German "UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät", Gerät being the German word for device. Production started in 1948 at Boehringer in Göppingen. Daimler-Benz took over manufacture of the Unimog in 1951 and first produced it in the Mercedes-Benz Gaggenau plant. Currently, it is built in the Mercedes-Benz truck plant in Wörth am Rhein in Germany. Another Mercedes-Benz Türk A.Ş. plant assembles Unimogs in Aksaray, Turkey. Unimogs were also built in Argentina by Mercedes-Benz Argentina S.A. under licence from 1968 until 1983 in the González Catán factory near the city of Buenos Aires.

Zaria LGA and city in Kaduna State, Nigeria

Zaria is a major city in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria, as well as being a Local Government Area. Formerly known as Zazzau, it was one of the original seven Hausa city-states. Today, it is known for housing Nigeria's largest university, Ahmadu Bello University, as well as being home to a number of prominent Nigerians.

The senior military officers involved in the 1983 coup were: [8]

Muhammadu Buhari Nigerian president

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.

Ibrahim Babangida Head of State of Nigeria

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.

Sani Abacha Military leader, politician

Sani Abacha was a Nigerian Army officer and dictator who served as the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998. He is also the first Nigerian soldier to attain the rank of a full star General without skipping a single rank.

Major General Buhari's Supreme Military Council (SMC) observed a minute of silence for the slain Brigadier Bako during SMC's first meeting. [9]

Conflicting accounts of Bako's death during the December 31, 1983 coup

Bako's son (Professor Ibrahim Ado Bako) claimed in a January 2014 interview with Leadership of Nigeria, that Bako was killed by fellow coup conspirators who were not aligned with Bako's intention to conduct a bloodless coup. Professor Bako asserted that the "top brass of the army and their cohorts did not agree with what he (my father) wanted to do because they wanted the coup to be bloody. They now ordered a Lt. Col to shoot him and he died instantly on the scene at the present Area 1 bridge side in Abuja". [1]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Augustine, Agbo-Paul. "We've Forgiven Our Father's Killers – Prof Bako". Leadership Nigeria. Leadership Nigeria. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  2. Siollun, Max. Soldiers of Fortune: A History of Nigeria (1983-1993) (2013 ed.). Cassava Republic Press. p. 15. ISBN   9789785023824.
  3. 1 2 3 "Nigerian Army Museum: a slice of Nigerian military history". Beegeagle's Blog. Beegeagle. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  4. Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora Publishing. p. 99. ISBN   9780875867106.
  5. Omoigui, Nowa. "Operation Aure (2): Planning to Overthrow General Ironsi". Gamji. Gamji. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  6. Omoigui, Nowa. "The palace coup of August 27, 1985 Part I". Uhrobo Historical Society. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  7. Siollun, Max. Soldiers of Fortune: A History of Nigeria (1983-1993) (2013 ed.). Cassava Republic Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN   9789785023824.
  8. Siollun, Max. Soldiers of Fortune: A History of Nigeria (1983-1993) (2013 ed.). Cassava Republic Press. p. 13. ISBN   9789785023824.
  9. May, Clifford. "DEPOSED NIGERIAN PRESIDENT IS UNDER ARREST". New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 5 January 2015.