A Tale Of Two Citizens: The Nigerian Unknown Woman And Mr. Governor

I urge fellow Nigerians to read the two narratives below and draw their own conclusions as to what manner of persons we have as our leaders in Nigeria. This is what I deduce from the available information:

Mr Gbadamosi (the complainant) feels so strongly about the brutalization of this Nigerian woman and her children that he feels compelled to go public with her story. The alleged victim suffered physical harm to her person, emotional harm to her psyche and material harm to her property. Her young children were terrorized by the raw display of brute force against their mother. These young boys were traumatized by the savagery of the attack.

Imo State government through its mouthpiece, one Steve Osuji, are confirming the occurrence of the incident and classifying the victim, a Nigerian citizen as “an unknown woman”. Osuji attempts to appeal to the public’s emotions by injecting the words ‘womanhood and motherhood’ into the conversation. One wonders how much the victim’s gender and status as a parent played in the beating and assault she received. We shudder to imagine what treatment might have been meted out to the victim if she was a single woman without children or God forbid, if she had been a man. Osuji takes pains to sympathize with onlookers who were shocked at the temerity of this Nigerian citizen who did not scamper out of the way for the governor’s convoy. Additionally, he highlights the magnanimity of his Excellency Mr Ohakim who did not allow the victim’s car to be impounded. Mr Ohakim also showed the milk of human kindness by not ordering the victim’s arrest.

Osuji’s choice of words and emphasis is very illuminating. He is fixated on the victim’s unladylike and unmotherly behavior and exhibits some paranoia by questioning her identity. Osuji also casts aspersions on the person of Mr Gbadamosi for excercising a basic human right of self expression. Osuji’s use of the words ‘tribal arrogance, entitlements, courtesies and respect are laughable. Perhaps he should start by enlightening the Nigerian public as to his understanding of these simple words.

Osuji and his master Ohakim are examples of all that is wrong In Nigeria. Their little exercise in public relations falls flat on its face. It reveals the underbelly of a cold and cruel state where the citizen taxpayer is put down, raped and abused by unaccountable power drunk men who go by the labels ‘leaders’. No one leads by brute force. No governor or any other public official has a right to brutalize a Nigerian citizen in the land of her birth and to do so with sheer impunity. Ohakim should be served with court papers for criminal damage and assault. This woman’s civil rights that are guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution have been taken away. She should seek and get redress in a court of law. I call on all well meaning Nigerians to support this victim and to pressure Mr Ohakim to do the honorable thing by apologizing and paying compensation.

Narrative I – source

SIR: I don’t quite know how to begin… this morning (Sunday, February 10) between 9.15 a.m. and 9.45 a.m., an Imo State convoy of about six cars attacked my friend on Alfred Rewane (Kingsway) Road, Ikoyi. There are three lanes on that road, and she was on the right lane (at the edge). When she did not stop her car, but moved to the edge for them to pass, they used one of their vehicles to ram hers from the back and another tried to run her off the road by hitting the driver’s side. With the side impact, her car (Honda Civic) was almost lifted onto the sidewalk! She then stopped the car. After all these, another of their vehicles crossed her car in front so that she was totally hemmed in and surrounded.

They jumped down from their sports utility vans, wielding their guns, and began to beat her up. Some of them were also hitting her car with their guns and broke off both wing mirrors. They claimed to be on their way to the airport! In all this commotion, her frightened sons (five-year old and three-year old) jumped out of the car and ran off in different directions on the highway. Passers-by ran after them and stopped on-coming cars so that the children would not be run over. I just have a few questions:

In a democratic dispensation, what made these animals bold enough to do this? Who was the barbaric “dignitary” that was being carried/escorted to the airport by these beasts and who watched them molest a woman and her children? How could Imo State get away with this type of savagery in Lagos? How can we get justice and recompense for the damage to the car and physical assault? For how long more will we continue to ‘siddon look’ while “animals in human skin” parade themselves as our leaders? It could happen to anyone and I beg you to join this crusade against institutionalised savagery! Let us speak out together so that we can make enough noise for our voices to be heard.

Lateef Gbadamosi, Lagos

Narrative II: source

Thursday, February 21, 2008
Imo governor and a ‘rude woman’
SIR: We have read with utter surprise, a letter to the editor published in The Guardian of Wednesday February 13, 2008 written by one Lateef Gbadamosi under the title “Imo State convoy of death” We are surprised because the incident under reference which happened on the morning of Sunday February 10, 2008 along Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi between the convoy of His Excellency, Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State and an unknown woman is better left unrecounted and out of the public arena because it paints a shameful picture of motherhood; of womanhood.

It was simply a case of a woman who bluntly refused to yield the way to a governor’s convoy. For over one kilometre, she struggled with the convoy almost getting behind the staff car. And when an attempt was made to make her give way a little, she swung her car to the right and wilfully smashed into the convoy, making people around to scream and nearly causing a ghastly crash. Worst of all, bringing the governor’s convoy to a halt with all the attendant security implication. That was a clear security breach. But what seemed more shocking to all onlookers was that this woman had children in her car. It was for this reason that the governor prevented her arrest and the impounding of her car.

Mr. Gbadamosi should note that this woman was not the only road user at that point. Further, the governor and his entourage are sane, rational, family men and women and would not profit anything from harming an innocent woman and her children. Apparently, Gbadamosi was not at the scene of the incident yet he went about portraying a state governor as a monstrous and irrational being, drawing conclusions from the account of one party in a dispute.

It was indeed a case of a woman feeling too big and couldn’t give a damn whether it was a governor or a god who was going in a convoy and raising all hoopla. It also explains why she would hire an advocate letter writer so that she could hide her identity from the public. It really would be interesting to know the name behind that disgraceful, unladylike and unmotherly behaviour. Lastly, Mr. Gbadamosi dared to suggest that because the Governor is from Imo State, he is less than a governor on Lagos soil. That’s parochial nonsense. It is probably this tribal arrogance that made her refuse to yield way to a convoy for just one second. A governor (and indeed a Nigerian) in Lagos, is a governor in Sokoto, is a governor in Ebonyi and anywhere in Nigeria. He is entitled to the same courtesies and respect. Convoys are here with us for good or ill and reasonable people yield the way for a second to allow convoys and sirened vehicle right of way.

Steve Osuji,
Chief Press Secretary
To the Governor, Imo State

Join the discussion

  • This is simply sad…the lady in question should sue in Federal Court for violation of her human rights (that should get an apology and bring some sanity to this whole mess) and have her day in court. This is the era of due process. This irresponsibility from our “leaders” must stop. I am from Imo State, Nigeria and feel ashamed to read this about my own governor. The press secretary needs to do a better job in defusing tensions. He failed in this one. Governor Ohakim and the Imo State government needs a better press secretary. M Obinna Nwaneri, MD

  • liars, dictators, wicked people and idiots who don’t know what service is. does he even know if the woman is Ibo, trying to make it a tribal thing. three lanes? and the convoy cannot pass by?You will get your own someday! all evil will be recompensed.

  • our leaders still rule with stupidity and iron hands thinking that they are above the other Nigerians that voted them into the offices. In civilised situation, no one will touch her, mostly seen her with young kids in the vehicle. Well, they entourage behaved so because, they are always afraid of themselves for they have offended us (Nigerians) so much. I was in Benin one day during the tenor of evil Igbinedion Lucky the same incident happened to my wittness, the whole security guards that took the speaker of the house to the office almost kill anyone on their way, because he was going to the office. My God anything Nigerian govt is brutal and uncalled for against her citizens. It will never happened here in Tokyo. Lord save Nigerians from our evil leaders hands.