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  1. Nigeria’s first coup d’etat occurred in 1966. It was led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu.

    As you may already know, the coup d’etat of 1966 resulted in the killing of over 20 prominent Nigerians including senior military officers and Nigeria’s first prime minister, Abubakar Tafa Balewa.

    Most of the victims of the coup were northerners. And since the intention of the coup as stated by the perpetrators was suppose to rid Nigeria of a corrupt of governance, the president of Nigeria then, Nnamdi Azikiwe wasn’t including in the killing. This is perhaps the first reason why most Nigerians back then perceived the coup as an Igbo planned coup d’etat.

    The incidents that followed immediately after the coup also gave facts to the conspiracy theory. Major General Aguiyi Ironsi took over power after the death of prime minister Abubakar Tafa Balewa and after the capture and execution of Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu who led the coup. Immediately after the appointment of General Aguiyi Ironsi, he began promoting Igbo officials to prominent positions and replacing other tribes in places and offices of power. The northerners and Westerners saw this as marginalization and an attempt to subdue other parts of Nigeria. This is why minor crisis began to occur in the northern parts of Nigeria which led to killings of many innocent Igbo lives in the north. It didn’t take long before Colonel Ojukwu interfered by declaring a Biafra state and asking all Igbos to return home. All this happened within a year after the first coup d’etat. And since it was an aftermath of the coup d’etat, many simply suggested that was the initial plan of the Igbos, hence the perception of the coup became an Igbo affair.

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