Gideon Orkar

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Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar (October 4 1952 - July 27 1990) was a Nigerian military officer who staged a violent coup against the government of General Ibrahim Babangida on April 22, 1990. Orkar and his conspirators seized the FRCN radio station, various military posts around Lagos and the Dodan Barracks, Lagos, the military headquarters and presidential residence. Babangida was present when the barracks were attacked but managed to escape by a back route.[1]

In his coup address, Orkar called for the excision of five northern states.[2] However, the coup was crushed by the Babangida regime and Orkar was executed.

Background and education[edit]

Gideon Orkar was the 9th child born to the family of Levi Orkar Chi, a teacher of Tiv heritage in Apir village of Gwer Local Government in Benue State. He attended primary schools at the village of Apir and Wadata.[3] He also attended Gindiri Boys High School, Plateau State and while taking Higher School Certificate classes, he responded to an army ad and joined the Nigerian Army in 1972 as cadet no 682.[4] He started his officer cadet training at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna with the 12th Regular Combatant Course.[5] He was commissioned in December 1974 in the rank of Second Lieutenant and posted to the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps School in Ibadan. [5]

Military career[edit]

Orkar was part of the peacemaking contingent in Chad in 1978. He served in various units including the Reece at Kaduna, 82, Div, Enugu, and Armoured School, Bauchi. In 1986, he attended the senior Officers Course 9 at the Command and Staff College, Jaji. He also served as commander of Saki 22 Armoured Battalion in Oyo State. His last posting prior to the April 1990 coup was as a member of the Directing Staff of the Command and Staff College, Jaji.[5]


Major Orkar and 41 other conspirators were convicted of treason[6] and executed by firing squad on July 27 1990 by the government of General Ibrahim Babangida.[7]


  1. ^ Nowa Omoigui, MD. "The Orkar Coup of April 22, 1990". Segun Toyin Dawodu. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  2. ^ "April 1990 Coup D'etat Speech". April 1990 Coup Speech DAWODU.COM Dedicated to Nigeria's History, Socio-Economic and Political issues. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Ihundu, F. Y. (2004). Major Gideon Orkar: The making of a revolutionary. Makurdi: Cuban Press. P. 11-17
  4. ^ African concord. (1990). The Coup Major, May 7, 1990. Concord Press of Nigeria
  5. ^ a b c "Orkar's failed attempt to dismember Nigeria". Newswatch Times. Retrieved 13 July 2015. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Omoigui, Nowa. "The Orkar Failed Coup of April 22, 1990 Part 2". Urhobo Historical Society. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Nigerian coup-plotters executed". United Press International (UPI). Retrieved 13 July 2015. 

External links[edit]