January 17, 1966

Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu becomes Military Governor of the Eastern region

After the coup on January 15, 1966, the new head of state Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi appointed Lieutenant Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu to be military governor of the Eastern region, which was mostly Igbo. Ojuwku, also an Igbo, studied history at Oxford University before returning to Nigeria and joining the army in hopes of influencing the country’s politics after its independence from Britain in 1960.

However, after the ascension of Ironsi, northern and western officers in the military feared a government dominated by Igbos, and later in 1966 there was a countercoup in which Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowan was installed as the new head of state. Under his command, Ojukwu maintained his command of the eastern region.

Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu speaking to reporters.