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Gideon Okar: A Coup That Almost Wiped Out Babangida’s Military Regime

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General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida

 

Abbas Yushau Yusuf

 

On April 22, 1990, a group of military officers attempted to overthrow the five-year regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. Major Gideon Gwoza Okar, as he was popularly called, was said to be dissatisfied with his co-conspirators on how General Babangida was running the administration.

One of their main blunders was excising some parts of Nigeria when they made the radio announcement via Radio Nigeria Lagos. NIGERIAN TRACKER gathered that the attempt to overthrow Babangida was not only made by Gideon Gwoza Okar, but few months after his ascension to the seat of power at the then Dodan Barracks, Babangida’s military regime caught his longtime old friend and a member of the association of Nigerian authors, Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, in an attempted coup. That coup led to Vatsa and his conspirators facing the firing squad, which was approved by the Armed Forces ruling council headed by General Ibrahim Babangida.

But all attempts to overthrow Babangida during his eight-year rule as Nigeria’s President, Gideon Okar’s coup was the bloodiest. Apart from the soldiers that were lost during the bloody mutiny, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida also lost his ADC, Colonel Usman Kakanda Bello. The loss of Usman Kakanda Bello by General Ibrahim Babangida almost signifies that the administration was about to be wiped out by Gideon Okar and his co-coupists.

Major Gideon Okar

Major Gideon Okar

Another serious blunder perpetrated by Gideon Okar and co was citing the appointment of Late Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto, as the reason for the coup. The coup also became scary to Babangida and even high-ranking members of the Armed Forces ruling council because, at the time of the sporadic gunshots that greeted Lagos Nigeria’s former seat of power, the attempted coup did not leak, unlike other coups that leaked before they were foiled by troops loyal to the Government unless they were overpowered.

30 years After Gideon Okar Coup: What lessons for Nigeria

One of the reasons why the coup did not succeed was that Nigeria’s former Chief of Army Staff, Late General Sani Abacha, mobilized troops on time and immediately quelled the coup. Strategic military formations across the country also dissociated from the Gideon Okar coup, like the 1st mechanized division in Kaduna and the Second mechanized division in Ibadan.

After the trial of Gideon Okar and his fellow conspirators, 41 of them were executed by firing squad in July 1990.

History

History of the Ajanakus Family in Ilesa, Osun State, Nigeria

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Early 19th Century: The Beginning
The Ajanakus family traces its roots back to the early 19th century in Ilesa, Osun State, Nigeria. The family’s progenitor, Pa Ajanaku, was known for his wisdom and leadership within the local community. He was a respected farmer and trader, contributing significantly to the agrarian economy of Ilesa.

Late 19th Century: Expansion and Influence

By the late 1800s, the Ajanaku family had expanded both in size and influence. Pa Ajanaku’s descendants continued his legacy, establishing themselves as prominent figures in agriculture and local commerce. The family became known for their cultivation of cocoa, a key cash crop in the region, which boosted their economic standing.

Early 20th Century: Community Leadership

In the early 1900s, the Ajanaku family began to take on more formal leadership roles within Ilesa. Members of the family held various chieftaincy titles and were involved in the administration of the town. Their influence extended to education, as they were instrumental in the establishment of local schools, promoting literacy and learning in the community.

Mid-20th Century: Modernization and Political Involvement

The mid-20th century saw the Ajanaku family adapting to the changing political landscape of Nigeria. They played key roles during the colonial period and the struggle for independence. Family members were active in local and regional politics, advocating for the rights and development of the Ilesa community.

Late 20th Century: Economic Diversification

As Nigeria gained independence in 1960, the Ajanaku family diversified their economic activities. They ventured into various industries, including manufacturing and real estate. Their entrepreneurial spirit contributed to the economic growth of Ilesa and Osun State.

21st Century: Legacy and Continuity

Today, the Ajanaku family remains a pillar of the Ilesa community. They continue to uphold their legacy of leadership, community service, and economic contribution. The younger generation has embraced modern professions, including law, medicine, and technology, while still honoring the family’s historical roots in agriculture and commerce.

The Ajanakus’ enduring legacy in Ilesa is a testament to their resilience, adaptability, and commitment to their community, reflecting the broader historical and cultural evolution of Osun State and Nigeria as a whole.

 

Ruth world best

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History

Margaret Walker: Trailblazing Poet, Scholar, and Activist

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Margaret Walker was born on July 7, 1915, in Birmingham, Alabama was a college student at the age of 15 when she begin writing poetry. She received a BA from Northwestern University in 1935 and an MA from the University of Iowa in 1940. In 1936 she joined the Federal Writers’ Project in Chicago, where she became friends with Richard Wright and joined his South Side Writers Group.

In 1941 Walker became the first African American poet to receive the Yale Younger Poets Prize, for her debut collection For My People (Yale University Press, 1942). She was also the author of the poetry collections This Is My Century: New and Collected Poems (University of Georgia Press, 1989), October Journey (Broadside Press, 1973), and Prophets for a New Day (Broadside Press, 1970).

Walker married Firnist Alexander in 1943, and together they had four children. In 1949 they moved to Mississippi, where she joined the faculty at Jackson State College. She returned to the University of Iowa for her doctoral studies and received a PhD in 1965. The following year, she published her dissertation as a novel, Jubilee (Houghton Mifflin, 1966).

In 1968 Walker founded the Institute for the Study of the History, Life, and Culture of Black People at Jackson State College. As director of the institute, which was later renamed the Margaret Walker Center, she organized the 1971 National Evaluative Conference on Black Studies and the 1973 Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival.

After Walker retired from teaching in 1979, she published On Being Female, Black, and Free (University of Tennessee Press, 1997), a collection of personal essays, and Richard Wright: Daemonic Genius (Warner Books, 1988), a work of nonfiction informed by her friendship with Wright. Margaret Walker died of cancer on November 30, 1998, in Jackson, Mississippi.

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History

Today In History: 40 Years After Shagari’s Government Was Overthrown

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Abbas Yushau Yusuf

On the 31st of December 1983, forty years ago today, the military, led by Major General Muhammad Buhari, Nigeria’s former civilian President, overthrew the first presidential system of government.

The Second Republic, led by Late President Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari, was just three months into its second term.

President Shagari prepared for the day after attending Jumuat prayers at the Obalende Jumuat Mosque, Lagos. He then proceeded to the council chambers of the former State House, Dodan Barracks, to record a New Year’s speech expected to be relayed to Nigerians on January 1, 1984, which was never broadcasted till today.

Former President Shehu Shagari was overthrown while taking a rest at Aguda House, now the official office of the Vice President in Abuja.

The coup recorded only one casualty, Brigadier Ibrahim Bako, who came all the way from Kaduna to arrest former President Shehu Shagari at the State House in Abuja.

As the battle ensued between the coupists and the soldiers still loyal to President Shagari, Brigadier Ibrahim Bako was killed.

During his detention in Lagos, Ex-President only read in the pages of newspapers that he ordered the shooting of Brigadier Bako, which he debunked in his autobiography “Beckoned To Serve.”

The short-lived Second Republic was seen as just a four-year break by the military when they handed over on October 1, 1979.

Despite corruption allegations leveled against Shagari by Buhari’s military administration, Shagari turned out to be one of the few Nigerian leaders who never enriched themselves with public funds.

He and his vice, Late Alex Ekwueme, were cleared by the Justice Uwaifo commission.

Now, it’s forty years since the coup that plunged Nigeria into another fifteen years of military rule.

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