FEATURE ARTICLE

Temple Chima UbochiTuesday, March 4, 2008
[email protected]
Bonn, Germany

ANNOUNCE THIS ARTICLE
TO YOUR FRIENDS

T.Y. DANJUMA: THAT WAS SLANDEROUS!

Slanderers are at all events economical for they make a little scandal go a great way, and rarely open their mouths except at the expense of other people. (Paul Chatfield)
Slander is a vice that strikes a double blow, wounding both him that commits and him against whom it is committed. (Bernard Joseph Saurin)
What is slander? A verdict of "guilty" pronounced in the absence of the accused, with closed doors, without defense or appeal, by an interested and prejudiced judge. (Joseph Roux)
He who wakes up from sleep and says that he killed thousand and one men in the dream has no witness to that feat. (Igbo Proverb)
The most intangible, and therefore the worst, kind of a lie is a half truth. This is the peculiar device of a "conscientious" detractor (Washington Allston)
People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election. (Karl Otto von Schonhausen Bismarck)
Slander is the revenge of a coward, and dissimulation his defence. (Samuel Johnson)
The snake seen by a person alone usually turns out to be a python. (Igbo Proverb)
Slander is a complication, a comprisal and sum of all wickedness. (Isaac Barrow)
I hate the man who builds his name on ruins of another's fame. (John Gay)
Slander is the balm of malignity. (Sebastien-Roch-Nicolas de Chamfort)
If an elder makes himself rice, children will rush it. (Igbo Proverb)
Lies exist only to be extinguished. (Thomas Carlyle)


advertisement

t-General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, is 70, and as an elder deserves respect, but, when he throws caution to the wind, he ends up making a caricature of himself. I wonder why he was not guarded in that his interview in Guardian of February 17, 2008, knowing fully well that meaning will be read into whatever he has to say. Having been around on the political and military scenes for the past forty years, he failed to take into consideration the feelings of those that paid dearly for the numerous crises people have been subjected to in Nigeria due to the fanning of the embers of ethnicity by those in power for their selfish gains; the political/ethnic/religious riots and the fratricidal civil war are some of the examples. What Danjuma said in his interview re-opened old wounds and the fire he has lighted will take time to burn out. The controversy he stirred will not die down soon.

Danjuma would want Nigerians to believe that he only is the custodian of history and he gave account of those incidents he narrated as if no other Nigerian living witnessed what he tried to put out to the world while apportioning blames to others, painting himself as a person above sin and infallible. Danjuma decided to wait out all the principal actors that he had contact with in the course of his life history before opening his mouth to talk, knowing that there will be fewer challenges to his one sided stories. T.Y. Danjuma portrayed himself as a man that saw evil, smelt evil, heard evil, touched evil, killed evil but, did no evil. Almost everybody he came across in his career life had one fault or the other and erred in one way or the other except himself that maintained "piousness" all through. That can´t be correct; we all have our faults and have made mistakes at one point or the other in our lives, for Danjuma to be claiming moral high grounds has a smack of false claim of self-righteousness. With hindsight, nobody can say that he or she never did anything he or she wished that he/she had done differently, we are bound to make mistakes because we are only human made of flesh and blood. For T.Y. Danjuma to have been in the midst of "stench" all his life and still thinks that he came out more righteous than the angels is but slanderous and false.

Dr. Nnaemeka L. Aneke in one of his articles wrote that the commander of the Second Division of the Nigerian Army during the war, Col. Mohammed Shuwa (and Col. Theophilus Danjuma, his deputy) and his men invaded Biafra from the north in July 1969, that they were mean and ruthless and the commander personally instructed his troops to exercise all levels of violence against the Biafrans. This is one of his directives:

"You are therefore required to push ahead ruthlessly to vanquish the rebels in your way. You will tell this to all your men because rebels have no honor and no respect for the dignity of mankind. You are bound to have heavier casualties than hitherto but you cannot win a war without heavy casualties" (New York Times, Tuesday, October 24, 1967, p 20, Column 3)

Shuwa and Danjuma were telling their men in that directive that Igbos has no honour and for them civilians and uniformed men are two faces of the same coin and should be dealt with. The officers and men of this division (Second Division) under Cols Shuwa and Danjuma were the most violent during the war. Col. Bisalla later replaced Shuwa.

The worst part of the interview was how he falsely portrayed Aguiyi-Ironsi as a dunce and nonentity; it was insulting to read him describe that rare breed soldier in such degrading terms. Based on all he said of that world recognised soldier (Aguiyi-Ironsi), one is forced to ask: What happened to the military spirit that is supposed to be in Danjuma? How can he justify killing the man he was paid to protect? Danjuma should have held his peace so that the world will not know that he is a coward that failed in his duty, that of defending his commander-in-chief against all forms of harm. If Nigeria was and is a country where the law and norms take their course, Danjuma should have been court-martialled then for dereliction of duty, he was found wanting in big and small things. He needs to seek for forgiveness, rather than justifying his stupidity.

Danjuma erroneously described the military coup of January 15, 1966 as Igbo one, but, forgot that there were other officers from other parts of Nigeria that took active part in the putsch and that the aim of the plotters was to release Awolowo from prison and install him as the prime minister even against his (Awolowo) will. Danjuma said this "the Igbo officers eliminated the cream of the Army leaving behind absolutely useless people like Ironsi who was a desk-clerk Head of State." I wonder what he was talking about there, because, Ironsi was the most superior in Nigeria and one of the best in the world then.

When Ironsi became the first Nigerian two-star General, Danjuma was just a Major. General Ironsi as the commander of the United Nations Forces in Congo earned all his accolades by merit, he was a fine soldier down to the wire, he was brave and exhibited leadership qualities. Ironsi took over the political power in Nigeria to prevent Nigeria from disintegrating after the military coup of 1966, although for only six months, before Danjuma and his fellow sadists cut him in his prime. Ironsi was imbued with a strong patriotic zeal and had the interest of Nigeria at heart and wanted to unite Nigeria after the destruction the politicians of the first republic wrought on the social fabric of Nigeria. Ironsi introduced unitary system of government thinking it would have solved the malaise left by the politicians which turned out to be part of his undoing. Ironsi made a lot of mistakes that eventually cost him his life; he kept his kinsmen in the army at arms length and surrounded himself with only soldiers of northern extraction; he had over-trusting trait and those people around him (like Major T.Y. Danjuma) proved to be wrong and deceptive people, and he failed to release Chief Obafemi Awolowo from prison.

Lt-General Danjuma in opening his mouth so wide contradicted himself so many times; he claimed that he mistakenly supported the rise of Obasanjo as a head of state in 1976, but, in 1999, he was for Obasanjo as the best that can happen to Nigeria, that he promised to go into exile if the former fails to emerge as the president then and when he got his way, he was rewarded with the Defence portfolio as a minister and the going was good until things fell apart between them. Now Obasanjo is one of his worst enemies. He derogatorily called Obasanjo a puppeteer and YarÁdua a puppet. What an irony? Danjuma also distorted history by his parochial account of the war and he infact added "salt" to the injuries people are still nursing since after that carnage till this day, he must be a sadist and a dangerous man that has no remorse in himself.

Now one wonders why Danjuma that has been in the corridors of power for over 38 years should now turn around to castigate the establishment he served and the people he served with. He is one of the most corrupt Nigerians living, even boasting that his problem is how to spend his money, because, it is inexhaustible. He stole our commonwealth with alacrity never known before, he and his colleagues in the corridors of power allotted oil blocks to themselves, making money from oil they never know how it came about. Danjuma fell out with Obasanjo because the latter surprised by the number of oil blocks he has; decided to revoke some, that's why Danjuma is insulting Obasanjo lately. Come to think of it, I wonder who is a "desk clerk General" here, Danjuma never merited his rank as he got to that rank because of his northern origin, left on merit alone, he shouldn't have crossed the rank of a lieutenant-colonel.

Danjuma needs to re-examine his conscience well and know if he is now self-fulfilled with his lies, venoms and hatred he spewed out. No wonder that his lips bend to one side whenever he is speaking. One thing is clear, one day he will regret making those disgusting remarks, if not now, in the future. He has lost a lot of respect instead of gaining same by those unguarded and careless remarks of his. Another thing is clear; T.Y. Danjuma will face retributions and will be recriminated upon till the end of his time. The tears and agonies of Lady Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi, her children and those of the families that lost their loved ones one way or the other through the hands of General Danjuma (no matter how remotely) will never be in vain.

advertisement
IMAGES IN THE NEWS