Friday, November 14, 2008

Admiral Arogundade Was Magnanimous & Beating Victim Is A Beast - NIJI FADIPE

Mr. Niji Fadipe, an Abuja based comentatator argues here that the victim shown in the widely circulated video is a "rude", "thuggish", "stubborn", "senseless", "beast" who should be grateful to her attackers for not murdering her and not "remorseful" after she was beaten. He further argues, eloquently, and without irony, that the Lagos State Governor, The President, the press, the human rights community and the Nigerian public are wrong and are "all hypocritical" "dumbheads" for codemning the beating.

For sheer blunt force trauma value, his sustained argument in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary deserves recognition.

Niji Fadipe's words are quoted below with NumericPoet's comments in highlight:

by Niji Fadipe (

I am compelled to join the raging debate on the proprietariness or otherwise, of the maltreatment of a certain Miss Uzoma Okere by Naval ratings attached to the convoy of Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade, due to the different dimensions and distortions the story has assumed in the past few days. Journalists, Social Critics, Nigerians in Diaspora, etc have all had a field day abusing, maligning, and denigrating the Admiral, as well the Nigerian Navy. (an entirely commendable effort to render an unbiased appraial of a potentially inflamatory situation)

In the first instance, let me say categorically here that I am "priviledged" to know Admiral Arogundade on a personal level and I am privy to the other version (there is apparently something missing from the video record of the beating which Fadipe may have observed) of events. I have carefully heard/read both sides of the story and painstakingly analysed the sequence of events. However, before my action is misconstrued by the usually "all-knowing Nigerian public" and the ever-(newspaper)-present "loudspeaker Lawyers", let me point out here that my analysis of the unfortunate events of that day would not even be based on the Admirals' version of events. (the public, the journalists and commentators obviously saw, read and understood a perversely wrong version of the events or misunderstood what they saw and read in a way that only Mr. Fadipe can correct, and he will do this using as his only tools, his towering intellect, the force of logic and one newspaper account of the events)

For effect, my analysis will be SOLELY based on the young woman's version of events as contained in the "CityStrings" section of ThisDay of Friday, November 7, 2008, in an interview conducted with her by a certain Eugene Agha. I urge all commentators to refer to this article in order to understand what transpired on that fateful day. (and so begins a spirited elucidation of a point of view so staggering in it's reach and implications that the Admiral in question may be advised to retain Mr. Fadipe as his personal counsel for the forseeable future)

1. In paragraph 6 of the said article, the young woman said "…… The Oga had passed me at some point, there was this Naval rating who asked me to stop. He used his hand to display what he meant and I pointed towards Ajose Adeogun indicating that I was not going their way." "(Paragraph 7)…. One of the ratings started whipping me; he whipped about two to three times. That was when I came out of my car angrily and he continued to whip me, so I held onto his whip and used it to whip him back."

Comment – It is obvious from the above that the young woman simply failed to stop when she had been directed to do so. (It is universally understood to be bad form not to stop when directed to by men with guns. Perhaps she should have obeyed at once. In any case she did not.) She had obviously used her own "intuition/discretion" to continue moving since ….. as she said ….. "she was not going their way". Apparently this open stubbornness infuriated a Naval rating who probably assaulted her or her car (as is right and fitting in any society) (depending on whose version one decides to believe). Why did she not stop like the others? What would it have cost her to stop for 30 seconds and allow them go their way? (Since she did not stop, the treatment meted out to her was entirely her fault and entirely justified.) Now, my point is if you are assaulted unjustly by a Uniformed Military man should you not have the simple decorum to go and lodge an official complaint with the Police, the Naval Police, or even the Media? (Numericpoet admits that it is rather difficult to excersice decorum while you are being beaten by armed men... and perhaps even harder to lodge an official complaint during the course of the assault. It is not clear what the lady could have done here.) More especially when you are a supposed "lady"? (The inference here is that she is less of a lady for being he victim of a beating. Point taken.) Then she decided to confront a Uniformed Military man in a scuffle, holding on to his whip and using the whip to whip the man. A 27 year old girl publicly whipping a Uniformed Soldier in broad daylight in front of other Soldier-colleagues and she expected to be applauded for doing that???! (Fadipe is brimming with outrage at the effrontry of this woman. His tone is incredulous: that she would dare to take action to prevent continued whipping.)

2. It is also obvious from the paragraphs above that the Admiral was not even at the scene as at the point the problem started as he had passed her "… at some point". (This is relevant because, having driven past the scene, he was no longer responsible for the conduct of his men, nor were the men bound by any rules since their Admiral was not present.)

3. Now having infuriated the ratings by her obstinacy and whipping of a Uniformed Military man, they all descended on her to obviously teach her a lesson. (by implication, it is well within the norms of behaviour for military personnel to teach a civilian woman a lesson by sustained acts of violence.) Even in the circulated video clip of the incident the woman was beaten up by the ratings and left alone at some point only for her to pursue them again. What exactly did she expect to gain from such activity? Profound apologies, a pat on the head, and perhaps a cash donation from the ratings? (Fadipe's contempt and sacarsm make a convincing argument for the men. In fact, the video shows her breaking away from her attackers and taking two steps away before she is caught by one of the men) And to my greatest surprise some journalists had hailed this particular action of hers as "being brave" and "holding her own ground"…. Etc The video clip was obviously edited (The cell phone video taken by an amateur from a building adjascent to the action - may or may not have been edited. Fadipe may be an expert in this matter. to show only the part where she was being beaten, and not the part where she whipped a uniformed Naval rating. (it shows a woman being violently beaten, knocked to her knees and then flat to the ground, her clothes ripped off her back leaving her stripped to her underwear, she is later dragged out of frame. The video may merely be showing what the recorder caputred from the point at which he started capturing it.)

4. In paragraph 9 she said "…… The one with the Navy logo as neck tie told them to arrest and handcuff me…….." It is apparent that it was this "arrest" that now made the ratings to drag her towards the Guest House where the Admiral had gone into. (for the sake of perspective, the beating and subsequent "arrest" were not as a consequence of a material threath posed by the woman. e.g. she was not wearing and explosive vest designed to detonate and kill everyone in the vicinity, all reports agree that she had primarily offended the sensibility of the naval personnel) And it is at this point that the Admiral came face to face with her, after he had been briefed by his men on what transpired. In paragraph 12 she tells of the phone discussion between her father and the Admiral. The Admiral said to her that she should count herself lucky that she was not killed and that got her even more upset. Then she started to shout on the Admiral himself "….. since we are in a democratic country…." I wonder since when democracy has allowed 27 year olds to shout publicly on Military Generals. (It may be the case that publicly shouting at Military Generals is forbidden by law until one attains the age of 28). Despite all these the Admiral actually took pity on her. It was this pity that now made the Admiral to offer advice to her that she was lucky not to have been killed before being brought to him as the ratings might have killed her with the way she kept having a go at them (moreover the Admiral knew that the moment she had been brought before him none of the ratings would dare touch her again). (In reminding her that his men could have murdered her, the Admiral was carrying out a noble act of mercy rather than intimidation or callous disregard for professional conduct or the law of the land)

5. In paragraph 13, after shouting on the Admiral, the Admiral advised her that she needed to know that even in a democracy she must not challenge people in uniform. (The law that expressly forbids anyone from challenging people in uniform has many interpretations, even though it has not been written into any statute in Nigeria, we are now aware that we are not to challenge door-men, security guards, boy scouts, school children, Aladura, the police, any member of the armed forces until they are in mufti). She said she replied that she did nothing wrong. I, for one, know for a fact that she said much more than that to the Admiral. (we infer that this is due to Fadipe's personal closeness to the Admiral, the woman and his physical presence during the incident) In paragraph 14, it was her permanently obstinate & shouting reaction (to even the Admiral himself) that frustrated the Admiral into saying to her that he thought he could advise her as she was old enough to be his child. Despite all these the Admiral was the one that gave her a shirt to cover herself up with which in essence means that the Admiral did not even harbour any major grouse against her (The abiding thought here is that the Admiral was in some way victimised by the sight of a battered half-naked girl who had been dragged in by his men, but was gracious enough not to hold her injuries against her) otherwise he could have easily gotten her detained and further maltreated, as the lurking ratings were hoping that was what he would instruct them to do. (Fadipe informs us that a continuation of the beating and subsequent detention of the victim is the standard procedure in these matters; reminding us that the men must have been dissapointed not to be allowed to continue their work as expected.)

6. Also in paragraph 14 she mentions that the Admiral even had to tell her that she was not remorseful. (One must express remorse for being flogged, punched, kicked, stripped of clothing in public. The woman was wrong not to be sorry for the inconvenience she caused the Admiral) Members of the all learned media, there must be a good reason for an Admiral to utter such words. (The Admiral said it. therfore it must be true) People need to know or get to hear what and what she said to the Admiral that made the man conclude accordingly. I am sure the Admiral, at that point, probably realised that she had thuggish (This is not mere name-calling; It is possible to stretch the definition of the word "thuggish" to include people who are beaten by military personnel tendencies and could be further manhandled by the hopeful ratings waiting in the wings.


1. Rear Admiral Arogundade has not done anything wrong in my own view. What did the public expect the Admiral to do in such instance? (It would be patently unrealistic to expect anyone in the Admiral's position to apologise for the assault and the violent conduct of his men, or admonish the said men in strong terms, or institute disciplinary proceedings against them, or take the victim of the beating to a hospital in order to see to her injuries, or show any traces of humanity.) Applaud her behaviour and give her wads of naira notes? She had been beaten already before she was brought to the Admiral, and the Admiral did not further order her maltreatment in any way. The only thing the Admiral did was to engage her in a discussion all through which she was even rude (unimaginably given the relatively benign treatment she had received; I mean, the didn't kill her..) to the Admiral. A 27 year old girl??? In my own opinion, the fact that the Admiral even decided to wade into the matter after having entered the Guest House, coming face to face with her, and advising her regards her behaviour was very, very, magnanimous of the Rear Admiral. Most Generals of the Armed forces as we all know wouldn't even get involved in such lowly issues (At this point all "lowly issues" are advised on the correct procedure for obtaining the benefits of the Admiral's magnanimity.) pertaining to the lower ranks at all.

2. There has been public outcry against Admiral Arogundade's use of Naval ratings and siren. The question to ask is – Did he acquire those illegally? (yes) Public commentators and journalists have gone on and on to insinuate that he ought not to be using ratings and siren when the fact of the matter is that all of those tools were directly issued to him by the Military High Command, as is normally issued to very senior military officers of certain ranks and postings considered to be strategic. (NOTE FROM DIGITAL PEPPERSOUP: Guns are issued to officers but their misuse is against the law. Similarly, excretory organs are issued to all but their misuse is well... you get the point) Now, all of a sudden the all-knowing journalists and "loudspeaker lawyers" know more about the operations of the military than the military high command that gave out those movement tools to the General in the first instance! Or are they telling us that the Nigerian Military High Command is made up of dumbheads (Fadipe may not be aware that that is precisely what these subversive commentators are saying) who do not have reasons for giving such protection to their Generals? (It is important to protect high ranking military officers from people going about their business. Partucularly from 27 year of girls) Some knuckleheads (name calling when all else fails is sometimes an effective way to convince people that your argument is sound) were even wondering why Nigerian Military Generals were not being made to enter public buses and so on. Are we in an organised society like first world countries? So Generals who hold strategic troop command positions should be sitting amongst Area Boys, Armed Robbers, and the like? Incidentally, this so-called democracy that we have in this country is guaranteed by the Generals at the expense of their lives. What lunacy? What a country? (cleverly moving from the particular to the General - pun intended, Fadipe shows surefooted reasoning, arguing that... well, I don't know really)

3. I believe the young woman herself is nothing but a young beast (Her behaviour may not warrant such an abusive term but the Mr. Fadipe may have further insight into the matter of what constitutes a young beast that is not known to the rest of the population) in the making. A wild thug without any sense of decorum herself. And the media, loudspeaker lawyers, and the like have been encouraging her to take on uniformed authority, simply because we are in a so-called "democracy". As far as I know, any woman with a decent enough upbringing could never, ever, have ventured to do what that girl did. A decent civilian will take the unjust assault on the chin first (And so we come to this. The central thesis of the Fadipe's argument: The victim should remained in a state of silent resignation and permitted herself to be continuously assaulted, personal injuries notwithstanding, the point of unconsciousness or possibly death. Then and only then should she have gone to formally lodge a complaint with the irrelevant authorities) and then go to lodge an official complaint to higher or constituted authorities, more especially when she had a father that could even take up the matter right from the top in Abuja. Very surprising. If a 27 year old woman can jump on a uniformed military man in broad daylight and whip the man, then I would want to ask what type of children are we now raising in this country? (Fadipe's child rearing practices are not the topic of discussion, but one must note that, like his views, they may not be representative of the generality of the country) As for me, the only individuals that have earned my pity in the entire saga are (a) the Rear Admiral whose name has been so maligned to high heavens worldwide for even taking pity on the girl, as if he was the one that ordered her beating (b) the very unfortunate husband to be of the young female thug in question. (The brave Admiral is deserving of Fadipe's pity because lesser mortals have written about the incident in a way that does not sufficiently portay him as a victim.)

4. With regards to our so-called democracy, I am amazed that the coterie of the media, loudspeaker lawyers, and sections of the public are already behaving as if our democracy is already entrenched. A 9-year old democracy?? And we are all behaving as if we are such an advanced democratic country in the league of the US, France and Britain? (By implication we must discourage people from demanding the rule of law and respect for human rights) Does anybody understand that it has taken those countries over a century of largely uninterrupted democracy to get to where they are? (It is important for us quietly accept abuse for the next one hundred years. Like the victim of the beating, we should only attempt to excercise any rights after we have absorbed the full complement of violence.) Nigerians do not even want to learn to walk in our democratic experiment, they just want to start to fly. Do people realise that our history and culture have largely defined our mental attitudes? (In Fadipe's Nigeria, the sustained beating of a defenseless woman is supported by cultural mores and is not to be considered unjust, inhuman or wrong in any way) Nigerians just want to wake up one morning and be in a position to decommission a Military General for some rating(s) assault on one individual girl? Are we suddenly America, France or the UK? (Adoption of any values we admire must be discouraged)In that case we might as well ask our Military Generals to start parking by the roadside for us civilians to pass, since "we are in a democracy….."

5. For the avoidance of any doubt our democracy is just 9-years old. And it is already fractured with fatally rigged "landslide victories" everywhere. Our democracy is not even walking with two legs yet, talk less of sitting comfortably in an armchair like they have been able to achieve in the developed world. The Nigerian democracy, in my opinion, possesses only one leg, supported by crutches, and that single leg is even bandaged. (It makes sense, because the elections were rigged, and democracy does not work we should behave as if we are in a facist state. There is merit in Fadipe's argument in ensuring that the metaphorical crutches are dismantled and the singlular leg is amputated. Rosa Parks would have been executed in this world view and women would never have been able to vote. What's wong with that?) To cap it all the ThisDay editorial comment (of 12 November 2008) was outrightly insulting to the military. Why on earth would ThisDay refer to members of the Nigerian Military as "mad dogs"? And the ThisDay editorial board thinks they have made a major point by directly insulting the military? (Since the perpetrators are sane men not mad dogs. The military's response should be direct and swift, all members of the editorial board should be beaten and stripped as soon as possible) We all should be very careful with the way we have begun to denigrate the military nowadays simply because "we are in a democracy". The late MKO Abiola/Airforce saga of some years back readily comes to mind. If in just 9 years of democracy our biggest Newspaper houses have started referring to Military men as "mad dogs" then I wonder what names they would be calling the Military after 20 years of uninterrupted democracy. May I remind everyone that these are people who have voluntarily signed up their lives to protect you and I, (As they obviously demonstrated by protecting the lady?) so that we could go to parties, naming ceremonies, et al??? (paties and naming ceremonies is a very short sample of what we do; let's add work productively to pay the taxes that pay for the sirens, motorcades and horsewhips) If these gallant people had refused to sign up for the military has it occurred to anyone that we would all have had to be conscripted? It happened even in the USA during the Vietnam war and the so-called "Human Rights Lawyers" couldn't do anything about it. I, for one, would never, ever be a party to rubbishing the Nigerian Military in any form. Let anyone say what they may like.

6. Governor Fashola of Lagos State simply played to the gallery initially over the matter by threatening publicly (in front of the media) to report the incident to the President. How do you listen to one party in a case involving several parties and jump up to say you are going to report to the President? Moreover is Admiral Arogundade a primary 3 pupil that a State Governor would want to report to a Headmaster? As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria he ought to know better! (Fadipe who worked in the London burrough of Camden and has a project managment certification cetainly knows better than the Governor of of Lagos State, a constitutional lawyer and a S.A.N.) I am reliably informed that Fashola has now heard the other side of the story and it would be nice for journalists to accost him and check out what he now has to say on the incident.

7. It just beats my imagination that we all tend to be celebrating a senseless action by a thuggish young woman. There is no doubt in my mind that the action of the first rating that hit her/her car with a horsewhip was wrong and quite condemnable but to now go as far as she did beggars belief. If the Naval ratings can be labelled as mad dogs, then what label do we ascribe to a young woman that puts up such behaviour in broad daylight? (She did not have the good sense to get beaten up at night) Ordinarily this is an action that no right thinking civilian would perform on a Policeman, talk less of the Military. (Ordinarily, using a horse-whip or riding crop on people is an action that no right thinking person of any description would perform on anyone) I do not even think it is possible to try such dastardly act with the SSS, who are not even a uniformed organisation, without massive repercussions. And I am certain that even Colonel Okere (Rtd), who is the girl's father and Head of Security at the National Assembly would not smile and shake hands with any civilian that engages any of his uniformed "maiguards" at the National Assembly in a scuffle and then proceeds to whip such guard.

8. President Yar Adua has sent a memo to the Chief of Defence Staff over this matter. I am particularly amazed at the President's decision to begin sending memos on a single individual case (Unfortunately, the president did not have the time or the inclination to clear it with Mr. Fadipe first. Fadipe surmises also that individual cases are not worth the presidents attention even if the cases highlight deeper systemic issues that need to be resolved) to the CDS. For starters do we know how many people are daily horse-whipped whenever the President or Governors' entourages pass by? (We must find out how many people are whipped daily. No action must be taken in this case until we determine this crucial fact.) Do we know how many people are horse-whipped daily in the 36 States of the federation plus FCT? So how many memos does the President hope to send before the expiration of his tenure? (Fadipe, ever the project manager, assumes that the president is incapable of sending out a single memo instigated by this act that covers the general case.) Well, I can only wish the President the best of luck in his pursuit.

9. I have found a good number of reactions to the incident, especially from Nigerians in the Diaspora to be very disturbing, and superbly ironical. Some contributors have actually called for Admiral Arogundade to be tied to a stake and shot! Some wished that the Admiral should be dragged on the floor for over 20 kilometres and sacked! Etc. Such comments are very, very, ironical indeed especially when you consider that the authors are the so-called "decent Nigerians" living abroad. Assuming the whole episode was even Admiral Arogundade's fault, would it be appropriate for Nigerians abroad (who have been part and parcel of the First World democratic societies) to call for such actions? In my opinion, we Nigerians are all (Excellent use of the collective responsiblity concept as Fadipe has shown there are no exceptions) bunch hypocrites, wherever we may be. It simply shows the "Nigerian" in us all, as derived from our cultural history and environments that we all grew up in. (We can only thank Mr. Fadipe for revealing our true nature to us.)

10. Finally, the way the Nigerian media has handled this incident leaves a big dent on its credibility. As far as I can see there exists no professional investigative reporter in Nigeria. A cleverly edited video clip was circulated around on the internet (CNN i-report) and the whole media went ga-ga. No one bothered to find out what the other side of the story was, (It is possible, although rather unlikely, that there is another video shownig that the girl assaulted the officers, stripped them even thereatened to blow up the convoy) including the Lagos State Governor. We all forgot that we live in Nigeria, where even video shots never tell the whole truth! Moreover, the girl's statement established the crucial fact that the Admiral was NOT present at the point where she was beaten, and neither was he aware of the incident UNTIL the Naval ratings had "arrested" the girl and taken her into custody at the Naval Guest House. The Admiral then handled the entire episode by offering her advice in addition to getting her a shirt to cover herself up with. The way the media had carried on as if it was the Admiral that personally ordered her brutalisation leaves a lot to be desired. I still need to be further enlightened as to the offence of the Admiral on this occasion. The media never went after the names of the Naval ratings that brutalised the girl simply because such names would never sell their newspapers. They preferred to immediately use an Admiral's name so they can make good profits – Haba!

In Summary: A spur-of-the-moment amateur video shows military personnel in the Admiral's convoy viciously beating and stripping and unarmed woman. Fadipe concludes that the video is doctored, and that the girl is a rude, senseless beast; and a thug whose brutal beating should be occassion for her gratitude to the Admiral for his brave magnanimity in reminding her that his men could have killed her. Anyone who thinks otherwise, (a group which includes the, the media, the governor of the state in the which the incident occred, the president of the country and most citizens) is a hypocrite and not as insightful as Fadipe and the Admiral. In between he rants about democracy while presenting a sketchy fascist agenda. Did we miss anyting out?

I do hope that this article of mine would be given equal prominence like the media have been giving to all other stories concerning the incident. Mine is a completely different perspective on the issue and I stand up to be counted on the side of Rear Admiral Harry Olufemi Arogundade on this occasion. Call me a Military apologist if you wish! (Some may indeed call Mr Fadipe what he requests, I suspect that others will have more colorouful names for him. We chose to call his thought process and reasoning simply "awe inspiring".)

I rest my case.

Thank You.

Niji Fadipe

Abuja, Nigeria.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:00 pm

    Stunningly stupefying!! God help us.