“I ask for soldiers, I am being given politicians dressed in uniform.” - Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi (1924 - 1966).
As the head of state, he banned the Hausa language as the official language of the Nigerian Military (and civil service examinations in the north), and enforced the English language ( many Hausa infantry soldiers and many civil servants in the northern Nigeria at the time could not speak English).
In his 194 days as the Nigerian military Head of State (the shortest in the history of Nigeria), Aguiyi Ironsi made sure that the freedom of expression and the fundamental human rights of Nigeria citizens were not abused.
He promulgated Decree No.2 which removed the restrictions on press freedoms which the Tafawa Balewa led civilian administration had put in place, and Decree No. 44 which made it an offense to display or pass on pictorial representation, sing songs, play instruments or use words which are likely to provoke any section of the country,” in March 1966.
Ironsi also passed Decree No. 34 which aimed to unify Nigeria into a military state and make the country one single entity for an easy administration in May 1966.
Aguiyi Ironsi was later arrested and assassinated by some coup plotters of the Nigerian Army, he had only spent 194 days in Office as a Nigerian military Head of State, his assassination was alleged to be tribal, as grudges were growing within the then Nigerian military, on accounts of the bloodshed in the first Nigerian military coup (led by Major General Kaduna Nzeogwu), which brought Aguiyi Ironsi into power. After his death, Yakubu Gowon assumed office as the next military Head of State, and the rest today is history.
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