How Major Orkar’s 1990’s Early Coup Speech Landed Him in IBB’s Trap (BLAST FROM THE PAST)

Babangida                                          Orkar
The history of Nigerian military coup d’etat from the first
Republic to date is replete with interesting facts.
Perhaps the one I find a little bit disappointing was Late Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar’s abortive coup.
Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar, a Tiv man who hailed from Benue State, was
a high ranking 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, Dodan Barracks, military
headquarters and presidential residence. 
The then head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida was also present when the
barracks were attacked but managed to escape through an alternative route at the back .
In his coup address, amongst other things, Orkar called for
the consideration of an excision of five northern states.
Excerpt of his
Fellow Nigerian citizens,

On behalf of the patriotic and well-meaning peoples of the
Middle Belt and the southern parts of this country,
I , Major Gideon Orka, wish to happily inform you of the successful ousting of
the dictatorial, corrupt, drug baronish, evil man, deceitful,
homo-sexually-centered, prodigalistic, un-patriotic administration of General
Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. 

We have equally commenced their trials for unabated
corruption, mismanagement of the nation’s economy, murders of Dele Giwa,
Major-General Mamman Vasta and other officers as there was no attempted coup
but mere intentions that were yet to materialize and other human rights

The National Guard already in its formative stage is
disbanded with immediate effect. Decrees Number 2 and 46 are hereby abrogated.
We wish to emphasis that this is not just another coup but a well conceived,
planned and executed revolution for the marginalized, oppressed and enslaved peoples
of the Middle Belt and the south with a view to freeing ourselves and children
yet unborn from eternal slavery and colonization by a clique of this country.
Our history is replete with numerous and uncontrollable
instances of callous and insensitive dominatory repressive intrigues by those
who think it is their birthright to dominate till eternity the political and
economic privileges of this great country to the exclusion of the people of the
Middle Belt and the south. They have almost succeeded in subjugating the Middle
Belt and making them voiceless and now extending same to the south.
It is our unflinching belief that this quest for domination,
oppression and marginalization is against the wish of God and therefore, must
be resisted with the vehemence. Anything that has a beginning must have an end.
It will also suffice here to state that all Nigerians without skeleton in their
cupboards need not to be afraid of this change. However, those with skeleton in
their cupboards have all reasons to fear, because the time of reckoning has
For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state the 

primary reasons we decided to oust the satanic Babangida

The reasons are as follows:

(a) To stop Babangida’s desire to cunningly, install himself
as Nigeria’s life president at all costs and by so doing, retard the progress
of this country for life. In order to be able to achieve this undesirable goals
of his, he has evidently started destroying those groups and sections he
perceived as being able to question his desires. Examples of groups already
neutralized, pitched against one another or completely destroyed are:
(1) The Sokoto caliphate by installing an unwanted Sultan to
cause division within the hitherto strong Sokoto caliphate.

(2) The destruction of the peoples of Plateau State,
especially the Lantang people, as a balancing force in the body politics of
this country.

(3) The buying of the press by generous monetary favours and
the usage of State Security Service, SSS, as a tool of terror.

(4) The intent to cow the students by the promulgation of the draconian decree
Number 47.

(5) The cowing of the university teaching and non-teaching
staff by an intended massive purge, using the 150 million dollar loan as the
necessitating factor.

(6) Deliberately withholding funds to the armed forces to
make them ineffective and also crowning his diabolical scheme through the
intended retrenchment of more than half of the members of the armed forces. 

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The convicted coupists

Other pointers that give credence to his desire to become a
life president against the wishes of the people are:
(1) His appointment of himself as a minister of defense, his
putting under his direct control the SSS, his deliberate manipulation of the
transition programme, his introduction of inconceivable, unrealistic and
impossible political options, his recent fraternisation with other African
leaders that have installed themselves as life presidents and his dogged
determination to create a secret force called the national guard, independent
of the armed forces and the police which will be answerable to himself alone,
both operationally and administratively.
It is our strong view that this kind of dictatorial desire of
Babangida is unacceptable to Nigerians of the 1990’s, and, therefore, must be
resisted by all. 

Another major reason for the change 
is the need to stop
intrigues, domination and internal colonisation of the Nigerian state by the
so-called chosen few.

This, in our view, has been and is still responsible for 90
percent of the problems of Nigerians. This indeed has been the major clog in
our wheel of progress. This clique has an unabated penchant for domination and
unrivalled fostering of mediocrity and outright detest for accountability, all
put together have been our undoing as a nation. This will ever remain our
threat if not checked immediately.
It is strongly believed that without the intrigues
perpetrated by this clique and misrule, Nigeria will have in all ways achieved
developmental virtues comparable to those in Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, India, and
even Japan. Evidence, therefore, this cancerous dominance has as a factor
constituted by a major and unpardonable clog in the wheel of progress of the
Nigerian state (Sic). It is suffice to mention a few distasteful intrigues
engineered by this group of Nigerians in recent past. These are:

(1)    The shabby and dishonourable
treatment meted on the longest serving Nigerian general in the person of
General Domkat Bali, who in actual fact had given credibility to the Babangida

(2) The wholesale hijacking of Babangida’s administration by
the all powerful clique.
(3) The disgraceful and inexplicable removal of Commodore
Ebitu Ukiwe, Professor Tam David-West, Mr. Aret Adams and so on from office.

(4) The now-pervasive and on-going retrenchment of Middle Belt and southerners
from public offices and their instant replacement by the favoured class and
their stooges.

(5) The deliberate disruption of the educational culture and retarding its
place to suit the favoured class to the detriment of other educational minded
parts of this country.
(6) The deliberate impoverishment of the peoples from the
Middle Belt and the south, making them working ghosts and feeding on the
formulae of 0-1-1 or 0-0-0 while the aristocratic class and their stooges are living
in absolute affluence on a daily basis without working for it.
(7) Other countless examples of the exploitative, oppressive, dirty games of
intrigues of its class, where people and stooges that can best be described by
the fact that even though they contribute very little economically to the well
being of Nigeria, they have over the years served and presided over the
supposedly national wealth derived in the main from the Middle Belt and the
southern part of this country, while the people from these parts of the country
have been completely deprived from benefiting from the resources given to them
by God.
(8) The third reason for the change is the need to lay a strong egalitarian
foundation for the real democratic take off of the Nigerian state or states as
they circumstances may dictate. In the light of all the above and in
recognition of the negativeness of the aforementioned aristocratic factor, the
overall progress of the Nigerian state a temporary decision to excise the
following states namely, Sokoto, Borno, Katsina, Kano and Bauchi states from
the Federal Republic of Nigeria comes into effect immediately until the
following conditions are met.
The conditions to be met to necessitate the re-absorption of
the aforementioned states are as following:
(a) To install the rightful heir to the Sultanate, Alhaji
Maccido, who is the people’s choice.
(b) To send a delegation led by the real and recognised Sultan Alhaji Maccido
to the federal government to vouch that the feudalistic and aristocratic quest
for domination and operation will be a thing of the past and will never be
practised in any part of the Nigeria state.
By the same token, all citizens of the five states already
mentioned are temporarily suspended from all public and private offices in
Middle Belt and southern parts of this country until the mentioned conditions
above are met.
They are also required to move back to their various states
within one week from today. They will, however, be allowed to return and join the Federal Republic of Nigeria when the stipulated conditions are met. In the
same vein, all citizens of the Middle Belt and the south are required to come
back to their various states pending when the so-called all-in-all Nigerians
meet the conditions that will ensure a united Nigeria. A word is enough for the
This exercise will not be complete without purging corrupt
public officials and recovering their ill-gotten wealth, since the days of the
oil boom to date. Even in these hard times, when Nigerians are dying from
hunger, trekking many miles to work for lack of transportation, a few other
Nigerians with complete impunity are living in unbelievable affluence both
inside and outside the country.
We are extremely determined to recover all ill-gotten wealth
back to the public treasury for the use of the masses of our people. You are
all advised to remain calm as there is no cause for alarm. We are fully in
control of the situation as directed by God. 
All airports, seaports and borders
are closed forthwith. The former Armed Forces Ruling Council is now disbanded
and replaced with National Ruling Council to be chaired by the head of state
with other members being a civilian vice-head of state, service chiefs,
inspector general of police, one representative each from NLC, NUJ, NBA, and
A curfew is hereby imposed from 8.00pm to 6.00am until
further notice. All members of the armed forces and the police forces are
hereby confined to their respective barracks. All unlawful and criminal acts by
those attempting to cause chaos will be ruthlessly crushed.
Be warned as we are prepared at all costs to defend the new
order. All radio stations are hereby advised to hook on permanently to the
national network programme until further notice.
Long live all true patriots of this great country of ours.

May God and Allah through his bountiful mercies bless us all.

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Great speech, you might say. 

Unfortunately, the coup
was crushed 

by the Babangida regime and Orkar was executed for his role. Unknown to him, while Orkar was busy delivering his passionate speech, Babangida’s foot soldiers were rallying loyal troops to counter the rebellion which many thought has overtaken the rein of government.

Major Orkar along with 41 other conspirators were apprehended, convicted of treason and executed by firing squad on July 27 1990 by the government of General Ibrahim Babangida.
How did Babangida escape?

When quizzed by a reporter with Vanguard Newspaper during his 74th Birthday ceremony in August 2015, hear him: 

“I can remember very well that I had some loyal officers who were supposed to be my protectors and my body guard.

“Initially they told me to leave but I told them no, I am not leaving anywhere but they remained steadfast and later I took my family outside Dodan Barracks and I joined my guards. So we went out of Dodan Barracks and we went to a safe house where we got in contact with loyal troops. May God bless Sani Abacha.  

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“Sani Abacha was the chief of army staff. He got in touch with me, I got in touch with him and we sat down and talked on what we were going to do. Abacha and I rallied the loyal troops and then I left my safe house and joined Abacha in his house.  That was how I escaped.”

REFERENCES: Nowa Omoigui, MD. “The Orkar Coup of April 22, 1990”. Segun Toyin Dawodu
“April 1990 Coup D’etat Speech”. April 1990 Coup Speech DAWODU.COM
African concord. (1990). The Coup Major

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