Monday, December 23, 2019 7:00 am
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
Last week, the highly respected retired General Theophilus Danjuma, one-time ADC to former Head of State, late Major-General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, former Chief of Army Staff, former Defence Minister, attended the ‘70 Years of Journalism’ event of Nigerian Tribune at the University of Ibadan. There, he was quoted as saying that if he ‘reveals what is happening in the country, Nigerians will no longer sleep’. Leaving us the ordinary people in suspended animation, he stopped his story midway saying that if ‘I tell you what is happening in Nigeria, you will no longer sleep’. He offered that anyone who wants to know details should come to him privately. How many of us can have access to Oga Danjuma? Me, I want to hear ooo! General, with due respect Sir, you owe Nigerians full details of the story. We no longer sleep easy anyway. So, another frightening story cannot kill us. Our elders say that a ‘woman who has given birth to twins is not afraid of the size of any man’.
Danjuma is not a man given to much talk. Of all the soldiers from the era, he is one that still somewhat commands the respect of Nigerians. He has been so involved in the post-independence politics of Nigeria that he must open his mouth and talk to Nigeria. He knows much. His words, like his silence, can shake tables. But we don’t mind our national tables being shaken now. I am pretty sure he shook mighty tables in 2018 when he asked Nigerians to defend themselves against the Nigerian Army that he once led! He said at the time that our ‘armed forces are not neutral’. It was a most poignant moment for stakeholders who saw his verbal intervention as very timely. The country did not burn then. It will not burn now. So, we need full disclosure to prepare us so that the river which is overflowing its banks may not drown us!
At the meeting, Danjuma spoke about some Yoruba elders who have contributed to the looming anarchy in the country by keeping quiet. He virtually called them ‘cowards’! ‘In Yorubaland, everybody seems to have lost their voice, scared’. Chief Ayo Adebanjo expressed worry about governors from the South-west who can no longer speak up because to speak truth to Aso Rock could rock the relationship between the governors and Abuja. It is an irony that though the people ‘elected’ these governors, they are more afraid of the manipulating powers of Abuja. If you fall out of line, the next verdict in the tribunal may not favour you! It is a coded message. It is tragic. But nobody wants to be a hero and end up like Orji Kalu!
After the assassination of Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s eponymous drama, the conspirators made a tragic mistake – they spared Mark Antony and allowed him to address the plebeians. Mark Antony, being a seasoned orator, knows how to work the crowd. By subtlety and irony, he stirs the people against the conspirators who had tried to convince them through Brutus that Julius Caesar had to die for ‘his ambition’. Mark Antony seizes the moment to say that if he as much as reveals Caesar’s plans for them as contained in his will, they the plebeians would know how much Caesar loved them. ‘The will, the will’, becomes a refrain! Of course, it is a device that works too well. So, if this is the style Danjuma has adopted, we are now calling for ‘The revelation. The revelation!
The Nigerian people already know that something sinister is afoot in the country. Wrong and strange decisions. The rule of law has been smashed. There is the threat of passing a law that will fetter free speech. Nigerian borders will be opened to all Africans come January 2020. We are puzzled that our country that is reeling from the insecurity in the North-east can dare to open its borders in such a reckless manner. There is an invasion by foreigners in different parts of the country. President Buhari had declared that the insurgency in the North-east is being fuelled by foreign elements. It is therefore baffling that our borders are being open to more foreigners. There is the fear of Islamisation as raised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. First Lady Aisha Buhari has complained openly and loudly that our President is ‘not in charge’. So, Nigerians are asking ‘what exactly is going on?
Nigerians already smell a rat. Danjuma simply confirmed the presence of a rat in the polity. What is the make-up of the rat in question? Where did it come from? Who are the handlers of the rat? What is the overall goal of those pulling the strings of the puppet? To conquer and rule forever? Is it about RUGA? Is it about the cabal ruling over the man who rules over us? Is it about the doppelganger Jibrin? The story, Nigerians suspect, is not a good one.
The life of a nation is more important than the whims and caprices of any individual, no matter how important or highly-placed that individual is. When a leader is elected, he is accountable to the people. There seems to be a very parochial and dangerous agenda issuing from Aso Rock. It is ominous. It is dangerous, it is tragic. We had been through this route before. Where are those who thought that they could hold Nigeria by the jugular? Leaders from the South-west and the South-east, North-central and South-south must take notice of Danjuma’s warning. Collaboration with evil minds does not last forever!
As a participant in the politics of Nigeria, as a beneficiary of the largesse which public office can give office holders in Nigeria, as a man who fought in the 1967-70 civil war to keep Nigeria one, Oga Danjuma should speak up. He is not a coward. He perhaps wants to be careful not to offend some ‘deities. But that will not save Nigeria. He should talk to Nigeria in the open because Abuja is not likely to listen to him anyway. We are all ears. I am all ears? By speaking up, he would save Nigeria from itself, from its rulers. Nigerians need to know. The good book says: ‘my people perish for lack of knowledge’. By speaking up, he would also be putting the small group masterminding and orchestrating the ongoing shenanigans that they have taken enough for the owner to notice!
-Eghagha can be reached on 0806 325 9454 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Credit: The Guardian