Albert Okonkwo

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Albert Nwazu Okonkwo
Administrator of Mid-Western Region
In office
17 August 1967 – 20 September 1967
Preceded byDavid Ejoor
Succeeded bySamuel Ogbemudia
Personal details

Major (Dr.) Albert Nwazu Okonkwo was briefly the Military Administrator of the Mid-Western State of Nigeria in mid-1967 during an attempt to establish the region as the independent Republic of Benin early in the Nigerian Civil War.[1] Okonkwo was a Major in the Biafran Army Medical Corps.[2] He was trained as a physician in the United States, and was married to an American.[3]


Okonkwo was a medical doctor and was the CO of the Nigerian Armed Forces Medical Service in Benin right before the Civil War. At the onset of the war, he became one of the top ranked rebel commanders in the Mid-West region that later became briefly known as Republic of Benin by rebel leaders.

On 9 August 1967 a force of 3,000 Biafran troops crossed the Niger bridge, with one group making a dash for Benin City. On 14 August the Biafran command in Enugu announced that Major Okonkwo had been appointed Military Administrator of the Mid-Western Region. The new administration faced resistance from several segments of the population.[4] Morale was poor. The Liberation Army commander, a Yoruba colonel named Victor Banjo, and three majors were later discovered to have been negotiating with the Nigerian army, were tried for high treason and executed by firing squad in Enugu.[2]

The Nigerian Army regrouped and advanced towards Benin city under the leadership of Colonel Murtala Mohammed, recapturing the city on 20 September 1967. The day before, Okonkwo had been declared Governor of the "autonomous, independent and sovereign republic of Benin".[4] In his broadcast declaring the independent Republic of Benin, Okonkwo belatedly tried to rally non-Igbo groups.[5] After the city fell, Okonkwo was thought to have fled to Ibo areas near Ubiaja.[6]


  1. ^ "Republic of Benin". World Statesmen. Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b Meto Edgar Onwuamaegbu (2007). Those That Trespass Against Us. p. 215. ISBN 1-84753-240-3.
  3. ^ "Breakaway Nigerian Area Lasts Only One Day". Gadsden Times. 16 September 1967. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b Nowamagbe A. Omoigui. "The Midwest Invasion of 1967: Lessons for Today's Geopolitics". Dawodu. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Major Okonkwo Announces Establishment of the Republic of Benin". Dawodu. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Nigerian Forces Ordered into Ibo Tribal Sections". Lewiston Daily Sun. 22 September 1967.