Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi (3 March 1924 – 29 July 1966) was a senior Nigerian military officer and the first Nigerian Military Head of State. He seized power in the ensuing chaos following the 15 January 1966 military coup, serving as the Nigerian Head of State from 16 January 1966 until his assassination on 29 July 1966 by a group of mutinous Northern army soldiers who revolted against his government in what was popularly called the July Counter Coup.
Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi was born to his father Mazi (means Mister in Igbo) Ezeugo Aguiyi on 3 March 1924, in Umuahia-Ibeku, present-day Abia State, Nigeria. He was eight years old, when he moved in with his older sister Anyamma, who was married to Theophilius Johnson, a Sierra Leonean diplomat in Umuahia. Aguiyi-Ironsi subsequently took the last name of his brother-in-law as his first name, who became his father figure. At the age of 18, Aguiyi-Ironsi joined the Nigerian Army against the wishes of his sister.
Aguiyi-Ironsi had his primary and secondary school educations in Umauhia and in Kano.
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