Daddy Danjuma had it all figured out. It was a convocation ceremony, right? Ok, so why did it end up being reported like it was a political rally or a press conference with one general yanking the carpet off the feet of another general? Yeah, because it was all well-timed, army precision kind of timing.
All those things General TY Danjuma said couldn’t have been spur-of-the-moment stuff. He was not reading a prepared script. He spoke straight from his heart or better still, he poured out his heart, on national television too. Oh yes, the program was live both on Channels and AIT! The man had all of us where he wanted us, in our living rooms, sipping our Saturday tea, lazing in the comfort of our living rooms. I was still in my PJ, going up and down doing the usual Saturday things women do if there was no owanbe.
Daddy TY was so prepared for that performance. Did you hear the number of times he repeated ‘collude’?
He swayed from side-to-side. The dramatic pauses, the body movements. He milked the moment to the hilt, telling us the army, the Abuja daddies the truth, hard undiluted truth, according to TY Danjuma.
But Daddy Danjuma, how dare you tell us all that on live television, taking on people who have guns and have not retired look bad like that? How dare you take them to the cleaners? Old men do not, or are not expected to tell the whole truth like that in one fell swoop. In measured dosage, yes. Not in torrents. Seriously sir, the Yoruba insist that the pot of soup should not shake in the belly of an elder, not even if he’s being pursued by a wild animal. But you have gone on and not only shook the pot of soup in your elderly belly, the soup’s looking like it’s going to be served. Or is it being served already? Oh daddy, that was one planned performance.
A retired colonel said the general was probably worried that we as a nation have a knack to foolishly mistake a baby tiger for a pussy cat. That, that was how the Boko haram cat strolled in and started purring and we scratched its fur, fed it and kept it until it became a wild tiger. It was when he started eating our children for breakfast, lunch and dinner that we finally noticed that it was a wild animal we ought to have banished into the wild. Now we all have scars, incomplete fingers, missing toes, bruised skin, disfigured faces, untold fear as evidence of our foolishness.
I heard it was that fear of another pussy cat becoming another wild cat that made the general flip like that last Saturday. Who can blame him? We tend to behave like we are one indestructible people. The killer herdsmen cat is here scratching our eyes out and this new cat means worse business. It’s not even starting with eating children for breakfast. It just loves seeing coffins in the dozens. This new cat loves dead bodies. It thrives on seeing graves. The sweat of great diggers excites it endlessly.
I learnt that was why the general was angry. This cat was not restricting its ‘dastardly act’ to the north east or slowly erecting flags in villages. It is all over the place. He was first cited in Plateau, then it quickly added Taraba and Nasarawa to its territory. Even when Kogi tried to intervene, it went there and killed royalty. Can you imagine? Ekiti, Ebonyi, Oyo, everywhere. It has no respect for traditional royal stools or 21st century platforms like airports. Complicated matter. Criminal matters. Enough to make a General lose his cool in public.
I must confess that I prefer that he said all those things himself. No spokesperson or third-party narrative to make security agencies hot behind the collars. They can go after the old man, quiz him for hours or even incarcerate him indefinitely for his toxic utterances. At least he spoke for himself. Remember the story of Oluode’s dog I told here a few weeks ago? When you beat a warrior’s dog, it is the warrior you have beaten. But in this case, the Oluode stood there in the village square. Those angry with him can go and beat him black and blue.
As it is, the mealy-mouthed goblins of social media have launched their attacks. My friend called them twitter Almajiri and facebook herdsmen. They know what they know, which is little. You do not get angry with an ignorant child as a good parent, you explain it to him. And I found a lot of intellectual people on social media, people who enrich you with the depth of their knowledge of our history, where we are coming from. Gladdening materials that most of us have forgotten over the years.
Of course, we were all shocked by Daddy Danjuma’s heavy-duty statement on live television. Naturally, the sensitivity of his utterance at a sensitive time like this had our national back against the wall and our first reaction was to charge at him like an enraged bull, but how will that profit us? Has the man spoken the truth or not? Yes, with a lot of drama but the nation is in bad place with these rampaging killers. Children are being killed in their beds. Defenseless grandmothers are being hacked down in broad daylight. Grandfathers are made to watch their sons being beheaded and fetuses yanked out of the bellies of their still-breathing mothers.
For those who do not know the good side of Nigerians, we are beginning to look like a nation of vampires. There is too much bloodshed. Indeed too many suspicious things are happening but it does not mean all our military heads are all bad.
Many of them are bald from all this insecurity load they carry. Those who have a few strands of hair left are totally grey. But who else will we hold responsible if the head of the infant is left hanging dangerously in the market? The elders, of course.
That does not mean there is no truth in what Daddy Danjuma said. Not that I agree with the self-defense angle but what do you do if someone slaps you so often that your two ears feel like they are on one side of your face. Will you fold your arms until go numb and deaf? Not likely.
But before I proffer my suggested solution to this Danjuma confusion, let me remind those of us who have forgotten who Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma is. TY, as we all call him was the boy whose teacher Adamu Fika recalled as one who displayed leadership qualities, humility and respect for elders even in primary school.
TY as a Lt Colonel under whom president Buhari fought was the soldier whose gallantry PMB hailed during the war to keep Nigeria united. As a Brigadier, TY played a prominent role in aborting the B.S.Dimka coup and according to PMB himself, TY elected not to when he could have benefited from the aborted coup by becoming Head of State. If he wasn’t a revered northern elder, who is? Just go back in history and see how prominent Nigerians from the region defer to him.
TY is one of the few largest individual donors to education in Nigeria; #2.3billion to Ahmadu Bello University fund raiser, massive faculty of engineering building to Bayero University Kano. He gave $10m for the rehabilitation of Boko Haram- ravaged North-East states. Thousands of Nigerians are benefiting from his education scholarship within and outside Nigeria.
A man who loves and gives like TY has reason to worry if the country he fought for and defended is descending into the vampire abyss. And if he is afraid to speak up at his age, what kind of man, father, elder will that make him? Where will an 80-year old man relocate to if Nigeria goes up in flames?
Let me conclude with this. When I was 16 years old, my father baked my backside with six hot strokes of the cane for forgetting to tell him his friend came to the house while he was away. I was so angry. How could he? I was 16 and sweet, a ‘sisi’? I locked myself in my room, refused to talk to anybody. I wept angry tears all day, but did I ever commit that sin again? No. I learnt my lesson after the whipping. My father delivered the hot message, like Danjuma did on live television. I felt humiliated because my siblings watched him cane me. Like the military and the federal government must have felt on March 23, 2018. But the message and lesson have stayed with me ever since.
Let us all look beyond the cane and the pain of TY Danjuma’s explosion and learn the lesson therein. It will help from here on.