Biography of Aguiyi Ironsi; Former Military Head of State of Nigeria; Abia State Celebrity.

Biography of Aguiyi Ironsi; Former Military Head of State of Nigeria; Abia State Celebrity.

Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi (deaceased) was born on March 3, 1924 to Mazi Ezeugo Aguiyi a native of Umuahia- Ibeku in the present day Abia State of Nigeria.

Aguiyi-Ironsi joined the Nigerian Army on February 2, 1942 at the age of eighteen. He underwent the military training at Eaton Hall, England and later, Royal Army Ordinance Corpse before been confirmed as a Lieutenant on June 12, 1949.

After his training in England, Aguiyi-Ironsi came back to Nigeria and was attached to John Macpherson, the Governor General of Nigeria as an aide. When Queen Elizabeth visited Nigeria in 1949, Aguiyi-Ironsi was assigned as Equerry to her after training for such task at Buckingham Palace.

During the Congo Crisis of the 1960s, Aguiyi-Irosi led the 5th Battalion of the Nigerian Army to Kivu and Leopoldville provinces of Congo. Having done his job successfully, Aguiyi-Ironsi was appointed the Force Commander of the United Nations Operation in the Congo.

When the British General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Nigerian Army, Major General Welby-Everard stepped down from that position, to allow the government to appoint an indigenous GOC, Aguiyi-Ironsi became the General Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Army on February 9, 1965.

After the coup of January 14, 1966, Aguiyi-Ironsi became the military head of state. However, On July 29, 1966, there was a counter coup that led to the eventual death of Aguiyi-Ironsi, as his body and that of Adekunle Fajuyi, the then military governor of Western Nigeria were later discovered in a forest.

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