Tony Onyima Viewpoints

Tell TY we've been sleeping soundly

By Tony Onyima

General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), a former Minister of Defence few days ago spoke himself into national news talking point. Danjuma says that “nobody in Nigeria will sleep again” if he reveals what he knows happening in Nigeria.

He 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. Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff (1975-1979) also chided the Southwest leaders for their silence over the state of affairs in the country.

His words: “In Yorubaland, everybody seems to have lost their voice, scared. And people appear not to care about what is happening. If I tell you what I know that is happening in Nigeria today, you will no longer sleep. We are in a big hole as a nation. And people who put us in this hole have continued today. So, we’ve to wake up. Only we can save ourselves. The fifth columnists’ activities going on among your people are not helping matters. May Almighty God continue to bless this country, but only we can save ourselves from ourselves.”

I will join Danjuma in his prayer for Nigeria: “May Almighty God continue to bless this country; but only we can save ourselves …” from people like Danjuma.

This is not the first time Danjuma will be threatening to spill what he knows to Nigerians. In a newspaper interview published on Sunday, February 17, 2008, Danjuma said that his memoir will be a grenade.

“You know what a grenade is – it explodes”, he said. Eleven years down the line, he is yet to drop the grenade.

But a few things will strike you after reading Danjuma. He presumes to know a lot of things happening in the country particularly at the corridors of power. Truly he may know, given his background and reach.

Again, he assumes that he is performing a patriotic duty by alerting the nation to what’s happening. But what is it that Danjuma knows that will make Nigerians not to sleep if he reveals them?

Perhaps he will tell us about the shadowy cabal behind the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mrs. Aisha Buhari has already told us that.

Will he reiterate the acts of impunity of this administration?

People like Femi Falana and other political ‘born agains’ have been shouting about the lack of rule of law.

Will he talk about the humongous level of poverty in the country?

The World Bank has already warned us that Nigeria may be the capital of poverty in the next few years if we do not tackle crushing unemployment in the country.

I have been wondering what else Danjuma will tell us that will make us lose sleep.

As a minority Jukun, will he talk about the nepotistic appointments made by this administration?

That is in the public domain.

So what else?

As a businessman involved in the oil industry, will he tell us about how the oil blocks were allocated to friends and cronies?

Nigerians, particularly people from Niger Delta, have always known that.

So can someone tell Danjuma that we have been sleeping soundly and that there’s nothing he will tell us that will make us wake up from our slumber.

There are two things, however, that should worry us about Danjuma’s statement.

One is his moral authority to tell us about the “people who put us in this hole”. Hasn’t Danjuma always been part of the “people who put us in this hole ” beginning from July 29, 1966, when he shot himself into national limelight? Even as recently as the Obasanjo administration, Danjuma has remained in the power loop as a participant, adviser, kingmaker, and as a wheeler-dealer. Is Danjuma angry now because he is no longer part of the “people who put us in this hole” that have managed to remain in the inner circle till today?

My second worry about Danjuma’s statement is the historic nature of the place where he made the statement. Was it not Danjuma who led a group of soldiers to desecrate Ibadan when they killed Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, then Head of State, and his host, Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, then Military Governor of Western Region? The Ibadan coup, historians have continued to insist, irreversibly put Nigeria on the path to civil war. Almost 50 years after the unfortunate war, Nigeria is yet to come out of the ‘hole’ Danjuma and his adventurers put the country into with their unbridled ambition. Yet, a self-righteous Danjuma tells us that we cannot sleep if he reveals what’s happening in the country.

I totally disagree. Please help me tell Danjuma that Nigerians have seen it all and there’s nothing he will say now that will make us lose sleep. Concluding, I will join Danjuma in his prayer for Nigeria: “May Almighty God continue to bless this country; but only we can save ourselves …” from people like Danjuma.

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