History of Brigadier Babafemi Ogundipe

Nuelson Penuel Saturday, May 25, 2024 Millitary

Babafemi Ogundipe, born on September 6, 1924, to Yoruba parents from Ago-Iwoye in present-day Ogun State, was a prominent figure during Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi's 1966 military government in Nigeria. He served as the de facto Vice President during this time. Ogundipe had a distinguished military career, joining the Royal West African Frontier Force in 1941 and serving in Burma from 1942 to 1945. Rising through the ranks, he attained the position of Brigadier in May 1964. In January 1966, Ogundipe was appointed as the Chief of Staff at the Supreme Headquarters of the Nigerian Defence Forces. Following the coup that ousted Aguiyi-Ironsi in August 1966, Ogundipe reached an agreement with the new military government led by Yakubu Gowon. He subsequently left Nigeria for the United Kingdom, representing the country at the 1966 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in September. Afterward, he assumed the role of Nigeria's High Commissioner in the UK until August 1970, when he retired from public service. Criticism arose in some circles regarding Ogundipe's decision not to assume leadership after Aguiyi-Ironsi's assassination, which many believed contributed to the ensuing violence. However, it was argued that taking power was not a viable option for him as he lacked sufficient military support and faced challenges due to regional and religious divisions. Ogundipe prioritized the unity of Nigeria and opted to step back from the power struggle, endorsing Gowon as the new leader, despite being senior in rank. Ogundipe passed away in London in November 1971, leaving behind a complex legacy marked by his crucial role in a tumultuous period of Nigerian history.Tap on a clip to paste it in the text box.

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