How My Father and Visiting Head of State, Ironsi Were Killed in 1966 Coup, Fajuyi’s Son Narrates

How My Father and Visiting Head of State, Ironsi Were Killed in 1966 Coup, Fajuyi’s Son Narrates

  • Coupists killed the late military governor of Western Region, Col. Francis Adekunle Fajuyi in Ibadan in 1966
  • Fajuyi was killed alongside Head of State, Agu Ironsi by the coup plotters during his visit to the Western region
  • According to Fajuyi's eldest son, Donald, Ironsi was buried in a shallow grave by the military officers who shot him dead journalist Adekunle Dada has over 5-year-experience covering metro and government policy

Donald Fajuyi, the eldest child of the late military governor of Western Region, Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, has narrated how his father and visiting Head of State, Agu Ironsi were killed by coupists in July 1966.

In an interview with The Punch, Donald said his father never believed that the military should stay long in governance.

Adekunle Fajui and Ironsi killed in 1966 coup
Fajuyi’s Son said father and Agu Ironsi were killed in the 1966 coup Photo Credit: Lt. Col Francis Adekunle Fajuyi Foundation
Source: Facebook

Fajuyi believed that once the military corrected whatever they wanted to correct and tried whoever had to be tried, they would restore democracy.

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The second coup in July 1966 was a kind of revenge because some Northern officers were discontent that most of the victims of the January 1966 coup were Northerners.

He said reports have it that the core Northern officers did not want Aguiyi Ironsi as Head of State.

Narrating how the tragic incident happened, Donald said:

"Aguiyi Ironsi was touring Nigeria, he had toured the East, and he had toured the North. He now toured the West and wanted to settle the Western Region crisis at that time; to put a stamp of approval on what the military governor was doing to quell all those uprisings at the time. He met with the Council of Chiefs at the Secretariat, Ibadan. He came by helicopter from Lagos to Ibadan. They had a full-day session. In the evening, when he wanted to go back to Lagos, somehow, the helicopter developed a fault. It did not start. They radioed to Lagos to send another helicopter. It was then Fajuyi said that as the Head of State, Ibadan was his jurisdiction and persuaded him to sleep overnight, finish his business the following day, and then the issue of returning to Lagos would be addressed. Ironsi bought the idea and that was how he slept over in Ibadan. But a group of soldiers, led by Theophilus Danjuma, struck in Ibadan that night and captured Ironsi. Fajuyi insisted he should be taken along with the Head of State wherever he was to be taken.

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"We learned that coupists had gone to wait for Ironsi at the helicopter pad at Dodan Barracks in Lagos that night, by the time they waited till 10 pm and the helicopter did not arrive, they deducted that he was sleeping over in Ibadan and since they had already launched the coup, they decided to go to Ibadan to arrest him.
"I think it was the insinuation of maybe he knew about the incident or that he had hands in it that made Fajuyi insist that wherever the people were taking Ironsi to, he had to go with them because he had to clear himself that he was not party to it.
"We were now able to piece together the story of what happened after Ironsi and Fajuyi were taken away from the Government House."

Donald added:

"It was the junior ranks that drove Fajuyi and Ironsi towards Lalupon. Lalupon is a satellite village in Ibadan, not too far, they got to a point, where the men asked where they were going and what they would do with Ironsi and Fajuyi. They took Ironsi to the bush, shot him, dug a shallow grave, put his body there, and covered him. They left in their vehicle. After a few metres, they stopped. Then they began to argue among themselves what they would do with Fajuyi. It was at that point that one of them grabbed his gun, corked it, and shot him in the chest. That was how Fajuyi was killed."

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Ohanaeze says "Igbo has no hand in 1966 brutal coup"

Meanwhile, reported that Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the president-general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, claimed that the Igbo had no hand in the brutal 1966 coup led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna, according to several reports.

Iwuanyanwu stated that the first military coup was bloody and "a very brutal one", adding that the Igbo were very sad about the move led by Nzeogwu, which truncated Nigeria's democracy in the sixth year of its birth.


Adekunle Dada avatar

Adekunle Dada (Politics and Current Affairs Editor) Adekunle Dada is a journalist with over 5 years of working experience in the media. He has worked with PM News, The Sun and Within Nigeria before joining as a Politics/Current Affairs Editor. He holds a B.Sc. in Mass Communication from Lagos State University (LASU). He can be reached via

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