On 15 January 1966 mutinuous middle-ranking officers of the Nigerian army led by Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu overthrew the first post-independence civilian government headed by Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. With the subsequent defeat of these rebel forces by federal loyalist troops led by the army commander, General Johnson Aguyi-Ironsi, a military junta was set up with him at its head to administer the country.


African State British Government French Government Nigerian Government Military Situation 
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  1. 3.
    See Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, ‘The Nigerian Plight: Shagari to Buhari’, Third World Quarterly, 7 (3), 1985, p. 619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 6.
    Cf. John Stremlau, The International Politics of the Nigerian Civil War (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1977), p. 51.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Quoted in A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria, Vol. I (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 413.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    See, for instance, Billy Dudley, An Introduction to Nigerian Government and Politics (London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1982), pp. 278–9.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    For a recent focus on the background to Britain’s strategic control of Nigeria’s economy, see Toyin Falola (ed.), Britain and Nigeria: Exploitation or Development? (London and New Jersey: Zed Books, 1987).Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Cf. General Olusegun Obasanjo, My Command: An account of the Nigerian Civil War, 1967–70 (Ibadan and London: Heinemann, 1980), p. 146.Google Scholar
  7. 17.
    Ibid. See also Suzanne Cronje, The World and Nigeria: The Diplomatic History of the Biafra War (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1972), p. 17.Google Scholar
  8. 20.
    See Sam Epelle (ed.), Nigeria Speaks: Speeches of Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Lagos: Longman, 1964), p. 10.Google Scholar
  9. 21.
    Oye Ogunbadejo, ‘Ideology and Pragmatism: The Soviet Role in Nigeria, 1960–1977’, Orbis, Winter 1978, p. 810.Google Scholar
  10. 28.
    David Hunt, On the Spot: An Ambassador Remembers (London: Peter Davies, 1975), p. 194.Google Scholar
  11. 83.
    Cronje, ibid., p. 81, and Kennedy Lindsay, ‘How Biafra Pays for the War’, Venture, March 1969, p. 27 (cited in Stremlau, op. cit., p. 231).Google Scholar
  12. 91.
    See Bernard Odogwu, No Place to Hide (Crises and Conflicts Inside Biafra) (Enugu: Fourth Dimension, 1985), especially ch. 10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe
    • 1
  1. 1.Goldsmiths’ College and Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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