For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture
  • Max Siollun
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture. (1966-1976)
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An insider traces the details of hope and ambition gone wrong in the “Giant of Africa,” Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. When it gained independence from Britain in 1960, hopes were high that, with mineral wealth and over 140 million people, the most educated workforce in Africa, Nigeria would become Africa’s first superpower and a stabilizing democratic influence in the region.

However, these lofty hopes were soon dashed and the country lumbered from crisis to crisis, with the democratic government eventually being overthrown in a violent military coup in January 1966. From 1966 until 1999, the army held onto power almost uninterrupted under a succession of increasingly authoritarian military governments and army coups. Military coups and military rule (which began as an emergency aberration) became a seemingly permanent feature of Nigerian politics.

About the Author

Max Siollun is a historian and commentator on Nigerian political and governmental issues, specializing in Nigerian history and the Nigerian military’s participation in politics. Although born in Nigeria, he was educated in England and is a graduate of the University of London. For the past decade has been a well known columnist for several publications on Nigerian history and contemporary affairs. 
His balanced critiques on Nigerian history and the Nigerian military’s intervention in politics has given him a reputation as one of the most renowned scholars on Nigeria’s post independence history, and unprecedented access to documentary and eyewitness sources regarding Nigeria’s history.

About the Book

The author names names, and explores how British influence aggravated indigenous rivalries. He shows how various factions in the military were able to hold onto power and resist civil and international pressure for democratic...

The author names names, and explores how British influence aggravated indigenous rivalries. He shows how various factions in the military were able to hold onto power and resist civil and international pressure for democratic governance by exploiting the countryÂ’s oil wealth and ethnic divisions to its advantage.

Africa is more and more in the headlines as developed countries — and China — clash over the need for the continent’s resources. Yet there are few serious books to help us understand any aspect of the never-ending cascade of wars and conflicts. Other titles on Nigeria are mostly children’s books or travel guides, with the exception of Daniel Jordan Smith’s A Culture of Corruption. The current work focuses specifically on the social tensions, the motivations and the methods of the series of coups that rent Nigeria.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Pre-Coup Days: Politics and CrisisIndependenceIgbosCorruption1964 Federal ElectionsThe Wild WestChapter 2. The Nigerian Army
Chapter 1. The Pre-Coup Days: Politics and Crisis
1964 Federal Elections
The Wild West
Chapter 2. The Nigerian Army: The Way Things Were
The First GOC
The Army under Aguiyi-Ironsi
Chapter 3. Soldiers and Politics
These Bookish People
The Inner Circle
Method of Recruitment
The Awolowo Factor
Unheeded Warnings
Chapter 4. Enter “The Five Majors”
Towards the First Coup
January 14 1966: Friday Night Party at Brigadier MaimalariÂ’s House, 11 Thompson Avenue, Lagos
Saturday Morning, January 15, 1966: “Plenty Plenty Palaver”
Events Overnight
Brigadier Ademulegun
Colonel Shodeinde
Strategic Locations
Strategic Locations
The GOC in Town
Chapter 5. From Civilian to Military Rule: History in the Making
Reaction to the Coup
Saturday January 15, 1966
Saturday January 15–Sunday January 16, 1966
Sunday Evening, January 16, 1966, Cabinet Office
Thursday, January 20, 1966: A Grisly Discovery
Friday January 21, 1966
Chapter 6. A New Type of Government
Governing Organs of the Military Government
Reaction to the new Regime
Legal and Constitutional Basis of Military Rule
Military Governance
Unification Decree
The May 1966 Riots
Fear of an Igbo Planet
Was Aguiyi-Ironsi an Accomplice?
Provocation in the North
Chapter 7. The Army Implodes
4th Battalion — Ibadan
Reshuffling the Pack
Telling Tales
May 1966 — Army Promotions
The January Detainees
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Chapter 8. The July Rematch
Plotting the Counter-Coup
Abeokuta: The Catalyst
Abeokuta Garrison — Thursday Night, July 28 1966 (Almost Midnight)
Lagos, Overnight: Thursday July 28 — Friday July 29, 1966
Federal Guard Barracks — Ikoyi
Ibadan, 4 a.m., Friday July 29, 1966
July 29, 1966 — Back to Lagos
Late Night,Friday July 29 1966 — 3rd Battalion, Kawo–Kaduna
Kano, 5th Battalion
Enugu — 1st Battalion
Chapter 9. Mutineers In Power
Ogundipe in Distress
A Three Day Debate in Lagos, July 29–31, 1966
The Role of Civil Servants
August 1, 1966 — Good Old Jack
Coup or Mutiny?
Chapter 10. The Killing Continues
Collapse Of Discipline: The Inmates Take Over The Asylum
The 4th Battalion Again
The Role of Southern Soldiers
Yoruba Soldiers
Back to Kano
September-October 1966
Chapter 11. Legacy of the 1966 Coups
The “Five Majors”?
Who Was The Leader?
The Majors’ Coup: An “Igbo Coup”?
A UPGA Coup?
The MajorsÂ’ Objectives
The “Classmate Syndrome”
A Culture of Betrayal
Long Lasting Effects Of The July Counter-Coup
Chapter 12. Aburi: The “Sovereign National Conference” That Got Away
Between One Ambitious Man and The Rest of The Country
The Reunion
Aguiyi-IronsiÂ’s Fate
Coup Plotters: OjukwuÂ’s Prophecy
The Star Of The Show
The Constitutional Debate
Chapter 13. The Tempestuous Life And Times Of Murtala Muhammed
The Early Days
The “Five Majors”
The Counter-Coup: Araba
Ikeja: Spotlight On Murtala and Gowon
Confrontation in the Mid-West
The War Years
Chapter 14. The Post War Years: Civil and Military Discontent
The Military and Civil Society
Seated from left to right: Mobolaji Johnson, Yakubu Gowon and Joseph Wey.Chapter 15. Another Army Plot: Another Military Government
Chapter 15. Another Army Plot: Another Military Government
Another Coup Plot
The Brigadiers Approached
July 28, 1975
Colonel WalbeÂ’s House
Military Coups: Backing the Right Horse
The New Leaders
A No Nonsense Leader
Supreme Military Council
Murtala as head of state
Military Governors
The Mass Purge
Creation of States
Foreign Affairs
Cement Chaos
A New Capital
The Beginning of the End
Chapter 16. Friday the 13th : The Watershed Coup
Defense Headquarters and Bonny Camp
The Contribution of Babangida
Babangida and Dimka at the Radio Station
Firefight at the Radio Station
A Diplomatic Spat
Chapter 17. Crime and Punishment
Anatomy of a Plot
The Plot — The Government’s Case
Treason and Other Offenses (Special Military Tribunal) Decree 1976
The Special Military Tribunal
DimkaÂ’s Confessions
BisallaÂ’s Case
The Verdict
Life After Murtala
The “Coup Widows”
MurtalaÂ’s Family
Nigerian Army Hierarchy, January 14, 1966
Appendix 2. Speeches
Major-General Aguiyi-IronsiÂ’s Inaugural Speech on January 16, 1966
President AzikiweÂ’s Statement to the Press: Reaction to NigeriaÂ’s First Military Coup
First Speech of Lt-Colonel Yakubu Gowon, August 1, 1966
APPENDIX 3. Casualties of the 1966 Coups
Appendix 4.
Appendix 5. Treason and Other Offenses (Special Military Tribunal) Decree 1976
Nigerian Army Officer Ranks (in order of decreasing seniority)
Nigerian Army NCO Ranks (in order of decreasing seniority)
Official Memoranda and Publications

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Pages 268
Year: 2009
LC Classification: DT515.8.S54
Dewey code: 966.905’3—dc22
BISAC: HIS001050 HISTORY / Africa / West
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-708-3
Price: USD 24.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-709-0
Price: USD 34.95
ISBN: 978-0-87586-710-6
Price: USD 24.95
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