Editor's note: Recently, a former Chief of Army Staff, Theophilus Danjuma, had warned that if he speaks on issues in Nigeria many people will lose sleep.
In this piece, Philip Agbese, an author, publisher and human rights activist analyses activities in the middle belt region and expectatition from the retird Army general.
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Military officers are men and women whose hearts are supposedly walled with hardness akin to rocks. They are usually thick and impenetrable! Like King Pharaoh, soldiers are brave, courageous and superbly, very daring specie of professionals, who flinch at nothing.
This truism is even more of the badge of retired Army Generals. Theophilus Danjuma flaunts the identity and shadows of a professional soldier.
But recently, Danjuma's soundbites make it extremely difficult for anyone to really address him a retired senior Army Officer and also as someone who once served as Nigeria’s minister of defence. His recent posture brings into doubt if he truly merited the rank of a General in the Nigerian Army prior to his retirement because he unswervingly displays feminine belligerency.
It is more consoling to believe Danjuma never earned the prestigious rank of an Army General. But as a yeoman in the corridors of power, his masters in the military bestowed and decorated him with the rank may be as a “compensation” for being a loyal subordinate.
Probably, it could be a reward for General Danjuma’s sadistic, cruel and unethical murder of the former Head of State, Gen. Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi.
Outside of active service from the Army, Danjuma parrots on national issues in a manner of a child dreading a scary prey. The feeble willpower inside him severely restricts the strength to bark and bite, like the Army Generals were known to Nigerians and the world.
He is goaded, maybe by some spirits to speak the so-called truth, he claims is hidden under his cloak, about the dark side of Nigeria, but also dreads his voice simultaneously.
He is often emboldened and mistakes his suspiciously stupendous illicit wealth for the innate courage of an Army officer. So most times, he mouths off sheepishly and cowardly, betraying the courage of military men, at the moment of decision, like the Biblical Peter, who denied Jesus Christ three times before the cock crow.
Perhaps, pricked by an inner conscience that he cannot hold his head up proudly as a retired Army General, Danjuma is desperately seeking new identities in the last few years. He flaunts himself differently as religious activist and bigot, tribal warlord, a financier of evangelism and spy on his country.
A few days ago, General Danjuma spoke at the University of Ibadan during the launch of a book, “70 Years of Progressive Journalism: The Story of the Nigerian Tribune and the Presentation of Tribune’s Platinum Awards.” But he made curious and laughable statements by asserting; “If I tell you what I know that is happening in Nigeria today, you will no longer sleep.”
Danjuma proceeded to discourteously hurl tacit invectives at the entire Yoruba race by saying; “In Yorubaland, everybody seems to have lost their voice, scared.” But assuming anybody presumed Danjuma’s utterances had any modicum of conviction, you would be disappointed, as this retired Army General revealed his effeminate self within the same breath; “So, Chief Ayo Adebanjo’s warning and advice are very timely. If you want details, I will give it to you privately.”
By any nuanced consideration, Danjuma’s outbursts have no semblance of neither dignity nor courage akin to an Army General. He accuses others of being scared, of speaking the “truth” he hoards, but dares others to speak it in public?
He prefers to blather it into the ear of those who wish to listen or at best, morph into a gossip before revealing the wrongs he wants the whole world to know about Nigeria?
Danjuma wants to be heard, but doesn’t wish to be quoted? What sort of elder statesman who perceives many “wrongs” with his country, but prefers to play the ostrich? Even at the ceremony, Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a “bloody civilian” was more audacious than General Danjuma.
The Afenifere leader has been vociferous and boldly even at that event; “that Yorubaland was in danger…We’ve been submerged…only few governors in the southwest are responsible for us. They’ve shut down. They cannot face the head of state because of their own shortcomings….”
But disappointingly, General Danjuma sounded like the likes of former Imo Governor and Senator Rochas Okoroacha. Having trapped himself in demonic political calculations to plant a stooge and in-law as successor, coupled with the tension generated by his senatorial victory, which his enemies suppressed, in consuming rage, exclaimed that if the APC pushed him to the wall, he would tell Nigerians what is in Aso Rock. Some Nigerians are used to such tattling when their dubious intents or interests in the country are bruised. Danjuma is posturing like Sen. Okoroacha.
The former minister of defence cannot claim disenchantment with Nigeria or even feign knowledge of the “evil” allegedly “crumbling” the country. But at some time, maintain a very cold conspiratorial and destructive silence over the apparent ethnic cleansing agenda of his Jukun kinsmen against the Tiv natives of his home state of Taraba
Danjuma has been variously accused by various groups, such as the Tiv Youth Organization Worldwide and some Middle Belt NGOs as the unseen hand in the sponsorship and sustained massacres of Tiv people in Taraba. He is also alleged to have been responsible for the renaming of Tiv ancestral villages with Jukun identities. What evil surpasses this one? If Danjuma is not afraid, he is challenged to quote one public statement aired in condemnation of the killings in Taraba since it started mid- 2019?
Danjuma claims to love Nigeria more than its founding fathers. Yet, this is a Nigerian billionaire businessman, who paired with the United Kingdom-based gas company, Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) to pursue a dubious gas flaring contract with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
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Every sane person would know Danjuma should be conversant with the conventional and business laws of Nigeria to detect a company or foreign business partners with such suspicions links. But because of his questionable interest in shortchanging Nigeria, Danjuma even offered P& ID assistance of $40 million take-off fund through his company, Tita-Kuru Petrochemicals Ltd, which executed it, laced in underground politics, manipulations, conscious flouting of laws and steeped in destructive operational intrigues against his own country.
When the fake P & ID contract later fetched Nigeria a whooping judgement debt of $6.6 billion, after closed legal proceedings in a United Kingdom-based Court, Danjuma’s exposition that the Irishman, Michael “Mick” Quinn only served as a consultant in preparing the contract, using Danjuma’s funds and office space only indicates how these latter-day “patriotic” Nigerians are unconcerned about Nigeria.
If the project was his original idea as he cared to explain and it later dawned on him that “my consultant was going to steal my project,” there was no patriotic action from him to expose them. He never demonstrated patriotism to Nigeria by exposing how an incompetent P & ID company had strayed into Nigeria to dupe the country because they exhibited to him the character of dupes.
According to Danjuma’s explanation, P&ID later promised a share of P&ID in return for his initial investment, which he refused to accept it. But to any discerning mind, Danjuma’s later explanation blows hot against reason, farcical and smacks of his knowledge of a dubious deal ab intio.
The EFCC’s later preliminary investigations revealed that the gas flaring contract was neither approved by the FEC nor captured by the national budget. So, on what basis did Gen. Danjuma’s company, Tita-Kuru Petrochemicals Ltd contract the Irishman as a consultant? This is the extent of Nigerian patriotism the likes of Danjuma regale in flaunting in public domain.
However, despite the heightened false sermons, raising needless tensions around the country against President Buhari’s administration by fake religious cum patriotic activists like General Danjuma and co-travellers, the truth cannot be obviated. At the peak of partisan campaigns’ in 2019, General Danjuma specifically alleged President Buhari is sponsoring, a Fulani Jihadists agenda in Nigeria. He never gave details of this plot.
While Nigerians should think Danjuma hates “religious recolonization” of Nigeria, by the Fulani ethnic group; but he gleefully endorses ethnic cleansing of Tiv people by his Jukun kinsmen under his nose? What manner of patriotism from a supposed elder statesman?
What the likes of Danjuma and his lonely voyagers on the path of destruction of Nigeria don’t know is that many Nigerians still believe, President Buhari is an ideal leader.
Nigerians know Buhari is bad business for those ex-generals who enriched themselves through Nigeria's oil wealth.
Undoubtedly, the phobia of President Buhari gives them nightmarish dreams. And the verbal missiles from the likes of Danjuma who dread even their shadows is merely self-consolatory and diversionary.
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