Rtd Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi was the first military head of state of Nigeria. He seized power during the unrest that followed the January 15, 1966 coup. In his first speech as Nigerian Military head of state, Rtd Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi announced the suspension of the provisions of the Constitution and declared that the intention of appointing a Military Governor in each Region of the Federation.
First Speech of Rtd Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi as Nigeria’s Military Head of State
Here is the first Speech of Rtd. Major General Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi as Nigeria’s Military Head of State:
1. The government of the Federation of Nigeria having ceased to function, the Nigerian Armed Forces have been invited to form an Interim Military Government for the purposes of maintaining law and order, and of maintaining essential services.
2. This invitation has been accepted, and I, General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army, have been formally invested with authority as Head of the Federation Military Government, and Supreme Commander of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
3. The Federation Military Government hereby decrees:
a. the suspension of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federation relating to the office of President, the establishment of Parliament, and of the office of Prime Minister;
b. the suspension of the provisions of the Constitutions of the Regions relating to the establishment of the offices of Regional Governors, Regional Premiers and Executive Councils, and Regional Legislatures.
4. The Federation Military Government further decrees:
a. that there shall be appointed a Military Governor in each Region of the Federation, who shall be directly responsible to the Federal Military Government for the good government of the Region;
b. the appointment as Adviser to the Military Governor of the Region, of the last person to hold the office of Governor of the Region under the suspended provisions of the Constitution.
5. The Federation Military Government further decrees:
a. that the Chief Justice and all other holders of judicial appointments within the Federation shall continue in their appointments, and that the judiciary generally shall continue to function under their existing statutes;
b. that all holders of appointments in the Civil Service of the Federation and of the Regions shall continue to hold their appointments and to carry out their duties in the normal way, and that similarly the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Special Constabulary shall continue to exercise their functions in the normal way;
c. that all Local Government Police Forces and Native Authority Police Forces shall be placed under the overall command of the Inspector-General.
6. The Federation Military Government announces, in connection with the internal affairs of the Federation:
a. that it is determined to suppress the current disorder in the Western Region and in the Tiv area of the Northern Region;
b. that it will declare Martial Law in any area of the Federation in which disturbances continue;
c. that it is its intention to maintain law and order in the Federation until such time as a new Constitution for the Federation, prepared in accordance with the wishes of the people, is brought into being.
7. The Federation Military Government announces, in connection with the external affairs of the country:
a. that it is desirous of maintaining the existing diplomatic relations with other States;
b. and that it is its intention to honour all treaty obligations and all financial agreements and obligations entered into by the previous government.
8. The Federation Military Government calls upon all citizens of the Federation to extend their full co-operation to the Government in the urgent task of restoring law and order in the present crisis, and to continue in their normal occupations