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Yakubu Gowon (b. 1934) Nigerian general and statesman, head of state 1966–75

Biafran War


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Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

(b. 1933)

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(b. 4 Nov. 1933).

Leader of Biafra 1967–70 Born in Zungeru, he studied at Oxford (1952–5) and then joined the Nigerian army. He had reached the rank of lieutenant‐colonel by 1966. He became military Governor of his native Eastern Region after the coup of 15 January 1966, in which he did not participate. However, he refused to accept Gowon's leadership after the second coup of 1966, accusing the new leadership of suppressing the Ibo people. He declared his territory independent, which led to the bloody Biafran War (1967–70). Ojukwu's forces were defeated, however, and on 11 January 1970 he sought political asylum in the Ivory Coast. He returned after a pardon in 1982, though he was largely unsuccessful in his bid to resume a political career. Imprisoned after the 1983 coup, he was released in 1984 and retired.

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