12 Famous Nigerians Who Died Young - SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MAGAZINE


Friday, June 21, 2019

12 Famous Nigerians Who Died Young

 Nigerians have witnessed a lot of tragic deaths of many notable people, particularly the young or middle-aged ones.
Among the famous whose major cause of death were assassination, other forms of tragic or sudden death are:          

1) Segun Awolowo Snr

This young but extremely brilliant lawyer, trained at the Cambridge University, London, was the first son of Nigeria's former Minister of Finance and Premier of the then Western Region, late Chief  Obafemi Awolowo.
Born on January 20, 1939, he was the father of Ms Funke Awolowo and Segun Awolowo Jnr,(MD/Chief Executive of Nigeria Exports Promotion Council).
He had come from England to join the legal team of his father to defend him at the time Awolowo was being tried for treasonable felony.
He suddenly died on Wednesday July 10,1963, in a road crash while traveling from Ibadan to Lagos , to meet his father in prison, to prepare for his legal defense.
The crash was believed to have been orchestrated by conspirators and his driver.
He was about 24 years old at the time of his death. Were he alive he would have celebrated his 80th birthday last January.

2) Gen J.T.U. Aguiyi Ironsi.

This Nigeria's first military Head of State who ruled the nation for just six months, was born in March 1922. He was 44 years old at the time he was assassinated on  29 July 1966 by coup plotters.
3) Col Adekunle Fajuyi.

He was the first military governor of the defunct Western Region who led the region for just six months before he was assassinated along with the then Head of State, Ironsi, on that July 1966.
Born in Ado-Ekiti in 1926, Fajuyi was  40 years old at the time of his death. He had only one son from his legal wife and another son outside the wedlock.
4 ) Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu

  He was a revolutionary soldier who led some young Nigeria military officers in carrying out what he called "Operation Damisa", during  which they staged the first military coup in Nigeria onJanuary 15, 1966.
  Through this operation, Nigeria Prime Minister, Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Premiers of Northern and Western Regions, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie Eboh and other top politicians and senior military officers from the Northern and Western regions were assassinated. While their
This led to the end of the government of the First Republic in Nigeria and brought in military rule. The event that changed the political history of Nigeria permanently; the effects which the country has not fully recovered from till date.
   However, he was promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel by the Biafran Army, when the Republic of Biafra was carved out of Nigeria by the secessionists led by Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu on May 30, 1967.
 The joy of the promotion didn't last because barely two months after he was killed on July 29, 1967, at Nzukka in an ambush in a mysterious circumstance when he was trapped while fighting for the Biafra Army against the Federal troops.
5 ) Gen Murtala Ramat Muhammed

He was an army general and the third Nigeria's Head of State who ruled the nation between July 29, 1975 and 13 February 1976.
Born in Nov 1938 and was assassinated during an aborted coup de tat on Friday 13 February 1976 in Lagos State . He was only 37 years old at the time of his death.
Murtala was very young when his father died, just as his own children were still very young at the time he was killed.
6 ) Lt. Akintunde Akinsehinwa

The Aide de camp(ADC) of Gen Muritala Muhammed who was killed with the late Head of State on 13 February 1976 while he was protecting his boss from being assassinated by the coup plotters led by Col Dimka.
Akinsehinwa was born in Ondo Town in 1944 and he died at the age of 32, living behind his mother, wife and a six-month-old baby boy. And like Murtala, he also lost his father very early and he left his boy to face the experience of being fatherless early in life.
7) Prof Ayodele Awojobi

This great Nigerian academic, author, inventor, social crusader and activist, became the youngest professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, in 1974.
Nicknamed "The Akoka Giant", and "Macbeth",Awojobi was considered a scholarly genius by his teachers and peers alike.
He passed his West African School Certificate Examinations(WASCE) with straight A's by earning eight distinctions in 1955. He also obtained distinctions in all his G.C.E. (Advanced Level): Physics, Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics.
He became the first African to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) in Mechanical Engineering at the then Imperial College of Science and Technology, London (now Imperial College London) – a degree only exceptionally and rarely awarded to a scholar under the age of 40.
Born on 12 March 1937, Awojobi died on Sunday, 23 September 1984, at the age of 47.
8 ) Mammah Vatsa

A major general and former Minister of Federal Capital Territory(FCT) Abuja, who was killed  by the firing squad on March 5, 1986 for planning a coup to overthrow the government of the then military President , Gen. Ibrahim Babangida(Rtd).
Both Vatsa and Babangida were childhood friends,born in Bida, Niger State. While Vatsa was born December 3, 1940, Babangida was born in August, 17, 1941.
They attended same schools and got enlisted in the army, rose through the ranks to become members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council(AFRC) and Federal Executive Council, headed  by Babangida.
In December 1985, he was arrested over allegations of planning a coup, convicted  by the military tribunal and was killed along with other coup convicts. He was aged 45.
9 ) Dele Giwa.

This founding Editor-in-Chief/Chief Executive Officer of the old Newswatch magazine was born in 1947. He was assassinated on 19 October, 1986 via a parcel bomb delivered to him in his Ikeja residence that fateful Sunday. He was 39 years old at the time of his assassination .
10 ) Samuel Okwaraji

A brilliant professional footballer, was a doctoral degree student, studying abroad, where he was playing for foreign team.
He came to Nigeria in 1989 to play for the nation's  football team in an international competition, when he suddenly slumped and died while the competition was on.
 Okwaraji who was born in 1964 was  less than 25 years old at the time of his death in 1989.
11 ) Alhaja Kudirat Abiola

She was the second wife of the late Nigeria business mogul, politician and winner of the June 12,1993 presidential election, Chief M.K.O. Abiola. Kudirat was assassinated  in 1996 while struggling to help her husband reclaim his stolen presidential mandate.
Kudirat was born in 1951 and was 45years old at the time her life was cut short in 1996 by the killers squad of the late military junta, Gen Sani Abacha.
12 ) MEE Mofe-Damijo

May Ellen Ezekiel Mofe-Damijo , fondly nicknamed MEE, was the founder and publisher of Classique Magazine. A former editor of Quality Magazine and founding editorial member of the Newswatch magazine. She was the host of Mee & You Television Talk Show and a philanthropist.
Married to a journalist turned actor, Richard Mofe Damijo, she died at age 39, during a fibroid operation in a Lagos hospital on March 23, 1996.

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