Nigeria: January 15 1966 – The Day That Changed Nigeria


By Bolaji Adebiyi
January the 15th, 1966 is no ordinary date in Nigeria’s history. On this fateful day, precisely fifty years ago, Nigeria’s socio-political and economic landscape was changed for good. It was the day a group of mutinous officers in the Nigerian Army, led by Major Kaduna Chukwuma Nzeogwu, staged the country’s first coup d’etat, leading to the assassination of key Nigerian leaders, senior officers in the army, and the abduction of three others. It was the day whose events set off the collapse of the First Republic, resulted in a counter-coup six months later, led to the Nigerian Civil War, and ushered in 30 years of military interventions in Nigerian politics from which the country is yet to fully recover,
Among others, the coup plotters abducted the Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the country’s first Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh; killed the Premier of the Northern Region and Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello and killed the Premier of the Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. The dead bodies of Balewa and Okotie-Eboh were discovered six days later at a roadside near Lagos. Some other notable persons killed included Brig-Gen. Samuel Ademulegun and his wife; Brig-Gen. Zakariya Maimalari, Col. Kur Mohammed, Col. Shodeinde and Lt.-Col. Abogo Largema.
Bolaji Adebiyi wrote this two years ago and was published in Thisday Newspaper of 15/01/2016.


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