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GENERAL IRONSI THE GREAT

     Aguiyi Ironsi enlisted as a soldier (private) in the 7th battalion of the Nigerian Regiment in Kano February 2, 1942, and was posted to the Ordnance Depot in Sierra-Leone.  A few years later, he was sent to the Ordnance Depot in Lagos as a Company Sergeant Major.  In about 1947, the spirit of nationalism had reached it's peak, and the British read the heand wrting on the wall. The colonial officers made the move to Nigerianise the office corps of the Regiment.                                              Some Non-Commissioned officers (N.C.Os) from the technical arms of the military, engineering, ordanance and signals, who were considered sufficiently educated, were sent to short officer conversion course. Louis V. Ugboma, Willington U Bassey, Johnson Aguiyi Ironsi, and Johnson Ademulegun, were the first group. Louis Ugboma was commissioned Second Lieutenant 1948, Wellignton, March 1948, and Ironsi and Ademulegun, June 1949.                                                                           When Aguiyi came back from Eaton Hall England where he received his training, he was posted to West African Command Hqs in Accra known that time as Gold Coast-the present Ghana.  In a short time he was sent back to the ordnance Depot Lagos, before he ended up in infantry regiment. He returned to Warminister School of Infantry, United Kingdom, 1952. At 32 years old, he was promoted full Lieutenant, and  Aid-de-Camp to Sir John Macpherson, the governor general. 1953, was the year he was promoted  to the rank of Captain.  Ironsi and Ademulegun were sent to London as Regimental Representatives at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth  11.  Queen of England was to visit Nigeria Jan.28-Feb.15th, Ironsi was appointed to be the Queen's Extra- Equerry.  At the end of the queen's visit Ironsi was promoted Major, and was made member of the fourth class of the Royal Victoria Order.                                                                            Before the end of 1956, got back to United Kingdom to attend the stafff college at Camberley, Jan.17th -17rh December.  While in United Kingdom, he became a member of "A" Division.  He was the first Nigerian to be Major, the first to,attend staff college and the first to append,M.V.O Psc to his name. In 1956, Nigerian Regiment under,the British control was droped to become Nigerian Military force.  W.U. Bassey, the second ever to be commissioned, got N/1, Ironsi N/2, Ademulegun N/3, and Sodiend N/4. Loius V. Ugboma, the first Nigerian to be commissioned, was thrown out of the military because he was in the camp of the nationalists.                    Ironsi was confirmed substantive Major in Oct. 1956, Ademulegun followed two months later.  Bassey had his in April 1959.  The government of Nigeria, headed by Sir. Abubaka Tafawa Belewa, knew that ronsi was the most Senior Army Officer in the Nigerian,army  Based on this merit, Ironsi was promoted to Lieutenant Colonal.  Right there he became the first Nigerian to command a battalion.                                                                  Sir, Abubaka, ordered Ironsi and his fifth battalion to join U.N. forces in the Congo.Austrian Government honored Ironsi for stoping the rebel army from killing the Austrian medical team. This honor took place December 14, 1961. In 1962,Ironsi was sent to London to be the Military adviser to Nigerian High commissioner. He attended the Royalmilitary college where he,finished his defence studies,in 1962, and 1n 1963. His second tour of duty came in 1964.  He was sent back to the Congo, as Major General. The war was brought to a logical conclsion.  Ironsi was the last soldier to leave Congo. When he came home he was promoted Brigadier.                           Finaly, Ironsi was officialy, promoted to Major General and the Commander, of the Nigerian army.  This process concluded the indiginization of the office corps of the army -Nigerian army. The January, 1966 coup, by mid-Officrs of the Nigerian Army, forced Ironsi to be the head,of the military government, of Nigeria.  Six months later, he was killed by the coup plotters of 29th July-Sept. 1966.