IDOMA VOICE reports that Since its first military coup in 1966, Nigeria has witnessed a total of 27 chiefs of army staff, shaping the country’s political landscape for over three decades.
Here is a comprehensive timeline highlighting the various army chiefs and their tenures in Nigeria since 1966:
January 1966 – July 1979: The significant event of January 15, 1966, brought about significant changes to Nigeria’s military and governmental system. Following the overthrow of the civilian administration, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa and other prominent politicians were killed, and power was seized by the army, with Aguiyi-Ironsi assuming the role of head of state…..CONTINUE READING
During this time, Yakubu Gowon became Nigeria’s first chief of army staff, serving for a brief period of six months. However, he was later selected as the Head of State in July 1966 after another coup,IDOMA VOICE reports.
Joseph Akahan succeeded Gowon as Nigeria’s army chief just before the outbreak of the devastating civil war, which claimed the lives of millions, primarily in the southeastern region where Biafra had declared independence.
During the civil war, Major General Hassan Katsina served as the chief of army staff from 1968 until 1971.
In 1971, David Ejoor assumed the position of chief of army staff, replacing Katsina.
Theophilus Danjuma became the chief of army staff in 1975, serving under the head of state Olusegun Obasanjo. Danjuma holds the distinction of being the fourth longest-serving army chief, IDOMA VOICE reports.
October 1979 – August 1990: Ipoola Akinrinade took over as the chief of army staff in 1979, becoming the first army chief during Nigeria’s Second Republic. However, he transitioned to the role of chief of defence staff in 1980 and voluntarily retired in 1981.
Gibson Jalo, a lieutenant general, succeeded Akinrinade as the military chief and served under the Shehu Shagari administration…..CONTINUE READING
In 1981, Mohammed Wushishi assumed the role of chief of army staff, but his tenure was cut short in January 1984 following the coup led by General Muhammadu Buhari.
After orchestrating the coups of 1983 and 1985, Ibrahim Babangida became the chief of army staff for a brief period before leading another coup to overthrow Buhari in 1985.
Following Babangida’s rise to power, his close ally, Sani Abacha, was appointed as the chief of army staff. Abacha later served as a defense minister under the Babangida regime and was involved in multiple military coups until his death in 1998.
August 1990 – 1999: Salihu Ibrahim succeeded Abacha as the chief of army staff in 1990, but his influence was relatively limited. Ibrahim faced challenges asserting authority due to Abacha’s refusal to vacate the traditional residence of the chief of army staff.
During the Abacha regime, Alwali Kazir and Ishaya Bamaiyi held the position of chief of army staff. Bamaiyi retired in 1999 at the start of Nigeria’s fourth republic.
May 1999 – September 2010: Victor Malu became the chief of army staff in 1999, following the restoration of democracy. However, he was dismissed in 2001 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was influenced by alleged American dislike for Malu’s views and the Nigerian-United States Military Cooperation Agreement.
Under the Obasanjo administration, Alex Ogomudia, Martin Agwai, and Owoye Azazi served as chiefs of army staff.
In 2007, Umaru Yar’Adua appointed Luka Yusuf as the chief of army staff, but he retired amidst a scandal involving the sale of arms to militants.
Abdulrahman Dambazau took over the position in 2008 but faced accusations that the military was covertly attempting to seize power due to Yar’Adua’s illness. Dambazau was subsequently retired by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, IDOMA VOICE reports.
September 2010 – May 2021: Azubuike Ihejerika served as the chief of army staff from 2010 to 2014, becoming the first chief from the Southeast since the end of the civil war in 1970.
Kenneth Minimah succeeded Ihejerika in 2014 as the chief of army staff.
Tukur Buratai, Nigeria’s longest-serving chief of army staff, assumed the role in July 2015. His tenure was marked by successes against Boko Haram but also marred by allegations of widespread extrajudicial killings. Buratai resigned in January 2021.
After Buratai’s resignation, Farouk Yahaya was appointed as the 22nd chief of army staff by President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2021…..CONTINUE READING