Timeline

January 16, 1966

Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, head of the Nigerian Army, who aided in coup suppression efforts in the South, is declared head of state

After the coup that began on January 15, 1966, Aguiyi-Ironsi, who was an Igbo, became the military head of state. Ironsi, who joined the military at age eighteen, was trained in England and upon return, worked as an aid to the Governor General of Nigeria, John Macpherson. He served as the leader of the 5th battalion of the Nigerian Army during the 1960s Congo crisis and was subsequently appointed the Force Commander of the UN Operation in the Congo. However, after serving as head of state for 194 days, Ironsi was killed in late July 1966 after a counter-coup by northern Nigerian soldiers were who rebelled against his government.

Major General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi, Nigerian head of State January 15 - July 29, 1966.