Blast From The Past: 5 Key Players In The July 29, 1966 Counter-coup Who Still Hold Sway in Nigerian Politics



In the early hours of July 29 1966, Nigeria experienced what is today referred to as one of the bloodiest military coup d’etat in Africa. The first military coup of January 15, 1966 which led to the death of many northern leaders has generated controversies which many expected General Aguiyi Ironsi to address but he didn’t.

The counter-coup of 1966 masterminded by Lt Colonel Murtala Muhammed and many northern military officers, was by far bloodier.

Some of these officers are still relevant in Nigerian politics.


1. Muhammadu Buhari: Then a Lieutenant at the 2 Brigade Lagos, Muhammadu Buhari is currently the democratically-elected president of Nigeria.

2. Ibrahim Babangida: The young Babangida serving at 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, Kaduna was also a Lieutenant in 1966. Although he is not holding any political position, he is still very relevant in Nigerian politics.

3. Theophilus Danjuma: He was a Major in 1966. Serving in Army Headquarters in Lagos as a Principal Staff Officer. The Jukun military officer is still relevant in politics and economy. Just yesterday, he was appointed as Chairman of ntel.

4. Abba Kyari: He was a major in 1966 and now the Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.

5. John Shagaya: A corporal in 1966, he 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 is still a stateman in Nigerian politics.

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