Discourse Column (by Sydney Madukwem) Herdsmen rampage: Rt Lt-General Danjuma rattles the army We are encouraged, elated and spurred into una
Discourse Column (by Sydney Madukwem) Herdsmen rampage: Rt Lt-General Danjuma rattles the army
We are encouraged, elated and spurred into unabated enthusiasm to write, educate and inform the reading public and beyond Nigeria who devote their time and energy to dissect and assess our write-ups particularly one of my readers who reside in London
According to him, the Nigerian international reputation is steadily on the decline and its rating on the democratic sphere is nothing to write home about.
Yes, all is not well with a once vibrant nation under the immediate past last President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan. Of course, never did Nigerians expect anything negative on the 29th May 2015, after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Listening to the President’s Acceptance Speech, Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief that the President possessed the magic wand to solve the nation’s myriads of problems. For instance, the speech contained elixirs, promises, strategies and antidotes to the national questions. Buhari promised to remain the President of all Nigerians adding that no Nigerian would be discriminated against on account of religion, political, cultural and linguistic affiliations.
He assured Nigerians that security of all citizens would in guaranteed and attacks from Boko Haram and other forms of criminality would be reduced to their barest minimum. He also scolded the governors, local government chairmen for squadermania, kleptomania, impunity and for short-changing their people, assuring that they would no longer have a field day in financial profligacy.
On those who joined in making President Muhammadu Buhari, Lt. General Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), once a staunch member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was a front liner that supported the release of former Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from detention in 1998, assisted the emergence of Obasanjo under PDP as the first democratically elected President post-military era, parted ways with the PDP to join the All Progressives Congress, APC so as to desperately return power to the North. He worked for the enthronement of Buhari in 2015. If Danjuma pursued “power must return to the North” objectively, analytically and based on track records, people like us would have commended Lt. General Danjuma. Never did Danjuma consider national interests above sectional agenda. Danjuma threw caution , truth and facts overboard. He attacked the sitting President Goodluck Jonathan voraciously. He wrote off Goodluck Jonathan as non-performer, a coward, a sectional leader and incompetent. He threatened Jonathan with arrest, trial and imprisonment should the election be rigged in favour of PDP.
On General Muhammadu Buhari, Theophilus Danjuma gave glowing tribute as possessing all qualities to make a better alternative. He was fond of Buhari as competent in the use of power. To curry favour and with the support of the Moslem North, Danjuma attacked one of the foremost Igbo leaders dead, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu describing him in foul languages.
When President Jonathan announced acceptance of defeat even the results of the election had not finally been collated, Theophilus Danjuma did not see the magnanimity of Jonathan even when the integrity of the election was compromised. Danjuma refused to see the wisdom and lesson accruing from the spectacular move. Rather he politicized the maturity and gesture of Jonathan as sign of cowardice.
When IPOB raised alarm to question the composition of the Service Chiefs lopsidedly in favour of the North, in favour of Muslims, without Ndi-Igbo, governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State and other spoke against the exclusion. But Theophilus Danjuma did not alter any objection.
But belatedly in 2017, following the outrageous massacre of Southern Kaduna indigenes on the eve of the Christmas day in 2016. Danjuma and others were pissed off. The killings of Christians in Southern Kaduna after alarm by victims calling for the intervention of the Kaduna State governor, the President, the Inspector-General of Police and other security agencies to nip in the bud attacks by the Fulani herdsmen, the invaders unleashed bloodbath. The way the victims were attacked showed deliberate security complicity. Lt. General Danjuma joined the Northern Christian Elders in calling for the arrest, persecution and imprisonment of the killer herdsmen.
As if such call offended the power that be, the killings grew from ordinary to extra-ordinary when the Benue killings and Taraba states occurred. Barbaric and outrageous these killings assumed, the culprits are walking free, threatening those asking for their arrests and prosecution.
Self defence is the first law of nature. Vengeance in self-defence is not ungodly. When General Theophilus Yakuba Danjuma on Saturday 24th March 2018 spoke and addressed his people of Taraba state at the Taraba State University that they should not wait for soldiers to defend them against the killer herdsmen as they have no other place to run to, Danjuma spoke the minds of vulnerable citizens facing the marauding herdsmen, and eminent Nigerians and institutions.
Danjuma did not mince words in indicting the military in the complicity of looking the other way as the herdsmen engage in waste of lives and property of innocent Nigerians.
Danjuma is not an ordinary citizen, inconsequential. Danjuma is from Taraba state. Educated at St. Bartholomew Primary School Wusasa from where he moved to Benue Provincial Secondary School in Katsina –Ala where he also obtained Higher School Certificate in 1958. In 1959, Danjuma enrolled into the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology in Zaria now Ahmadu Bello University, from where he joined the Nigerian Army by the end of 1960.
Rising through the ranks, in 1975 Danjuma was promoted to the rank of Brigadier. In 1976 he rose to the Chief of Army Staff in the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo. He retired from service meritoriously in 1976.
From this beautiful navigation through the Nigerian Armed Forces, Danjuma survived hazardous times of successful and unsuccessful coups, rose to apex of the position presently occupied by Lt. General Tukur Burutai, whatever issue Danjuma raises about the present Nigerian Army cannot be dismissed with the wave of the hand.
But the response of the military High Command to the allegation of complicity in the herdsmen killings was rather infantile and did more harm, damage to the military.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu in a statement at the weekend said that although the Army would not join issues with the elder statesman, it urged law-abiding people of Taraba, home state of Danjuma, to go about their lawful duties, warning those Nigerians Danjuma called upon to defend themselves to prepare to face the wrath of the military. The statement by the Director, Army Public Relations left much to be desired. That the military is opposed to Nigerians rising or waking up to challenge the wanton killings by the herdsmen as a last resort after those in charge of the security of lives and property of innocent Nigerians have failed, disappointed Nigerians exposes the insincerity and double standard of the Nigerian military. It shows or portends danger as the elections are fast approaching. If the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police, the DSS cannot stop herdsmen private business, not government business from using military weapons, the security and sovereignty of the nation is on its precipice.
Although Danjuma’s call is belated, but the call goes to reinforce the previous alarms raised by military veterans such as Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida. Of concern again is the position of Defence Minister Muhammadu Dan-Ali who said that Theophilus Danjuma appraisal of the Military over herdsmen attacks was because the Military was neutral was rather unfortunate. Good enough eminent Nigerians have reasons, risen to support Danjuma.
The military that is supposed to be apolitical is now used injuriously against Nigerians they swore to defend. The consequence is the fact that the Military is receiving bashes from Nigerians, groups and the Amnesty International. If the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB a non-violence organization, non-arm bearing was a victim of the vicious Rules of Engagement, it pre-supposes that Boko Haram, the Fulani herdsmen should be encircled by the military with earth scorched action.
However, Nigerians should rally round Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, a statesman of national and international repute in demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari rises to the occasion to stop forthwith the massive lost of lives and property of Nigerians when the nation is not at war. The use of threat by the federal government to deal with Nigerians or organizations making political capital about the abduction and release of Dapchi girls depicts the President as anti-democratic and despotic.
Little wonder, the main opposition party PDP, is working around the clock to point out the weaknesses, shortcomings and failures of APC and President Muhammadu Buhari. Also important is to draw the attention of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to the need to desist from peddling lies to Nigerians. Enough of such antics and deceit because Nigerians, not the Military, the police and the DSS will decide the outcome of the 2019 general election.
Sydney O. Madukwem, Guest writer, Dile Emeohe Mbaoma Emii, Owerri North L/G 07069123994.