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Author Name: Farouk Martins
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Nigeria: Danjuma Reputation As The Black Knight
Author: Farouk Martins | March 08, 2010



Many Nigerians are still apprehensive of the Army’s return. If a few of them decide to take over the government as in Dimka coup or the recent “welcome” of Yar’Adua from the Abuja Airport, they still can, regardless of the consequences. The only stabilizing force, whether we like it or not, are their colleagues in and out of the Army. There are many of them but only one of them stands out. Live with or without our Frankenstein. Unfortunately, Nigerians are still paying a price for our colonial past and each of those who have been part of all the coups in Nigeria demands their pound of flesh. If it is not Danjuma, it is going to be someone else. As long as we have not been able to retire all of them into their cages as Abacha retired Babangida, we must live with them. Those who think otherwise do have a point but it is not pragmatic because old soldiers never die. Nigerians are fed up with recycled military leaders and rightly so. While Danjuma’s face dominates Jonathan Advisory council, we disregard innocent members that were neither political prostitutes nor militaricians. When Yar’Adua claimed the mantle, some of us also gave the same excuse that the alternatives were worse, that half a loaf is better than nothing and Yar’Adua was the least of all the evils. It has become recurring excuses to justify lack of radical ideas to move Nigeria forward. If anyone wants to radicalize a nation such as Nigeria, the people have to be ready for revolt en mass. Those of us calling for Rawlings panacea in Ghana ignore the price of war we paid for Nzeogwu’s coup. It is not enough to mean well, consequences of our actions must be so justified. We are yet to agree on a few solutions not to talk of a single one in Nigeria. Ask any Nigerian what part of the country they want to take with them if we separate and each goes his own way. We can hardly get a resolute answer. On a delicate political balance, Danjuma may not be too much of a price to pay for the stability of government and for Ebele’s life. No matter whom he chose, demands would be made. It is exactly what people are against. Nigeria cannot be reduced to sharing blocks while the rest of us suffer. The way we are going, with the dwindling amount of oil left, our kids will not have enough economic bargaining power in their future. Call him the white, black or Robin Hood Knight: Danjuma sees himself as the rescuer of justice or injustice depending on whose side he is. If he is on your side of the fence, you praise him as a Christian; neither Hausa nor Yoruba but took side with the Muslims, Hausa and Yoruba who were selectively killed in a coup. On the other side of the fence, he is nothing more than a criminal that killed his Christians Igbo and Yoruba superiors in a revenge that led to a pogrom in the Country plunging us into civil war. However, during the repressive regime of Abacha, the black knight came to the rescue of NADECO made up of mostly Yoruba and Igbo, funding a campaign against one of the worst dictators perpetrated on all Nigerians, North or South. Some people claimed he was the last person to see Abacha alive. Unfortunately, the beneficiary of the death of Abacha and Abiola was a man Danjuma backed at the risk of exile, if Obasanjo lost the election. The same man is called on again to rescue Ebele from the Dead Cat Bounce. Whether we like it or not, that is the pragmatic position we are and the only one we can deal with. There are those that wished the British can come back and rule us because those were the best days they ever witness, and some even call for the return of the Army since a benevolent military rule is better than the worst civil rule. Hidden between those wishes is a resignation to our sorry state or loss of confidence in our ability to rise. Danjuma does not easily fit into any category. It is a fact that he is a Northern, but he is one of convenience, because he is from the Middle Belt or the North-central. His base and strength come from the Army that is not limited to the officers alone like the other Nigerians or the Northerners, but also amongst the Jomo or the infantry. If you think you come from the same area and can compete with him; Babangida ask Gen. Malu. Like most Nigerians in privilege position, he has become filthy rich from other people’s backyard of oil blocks and concessions. So much so that he fell out with his booty buddy OBJ and allocated oil block was taken away from him. Since Ebele is from the oil rich area of the Country, people suspicion that Danjuma will demand his pound of flesh is justified and should be expected. A son of the soil may have pressing right to give oil blocks than any other Nigerian. But Danjuma needs mental health more, at this stage. For these reasons, the role of Danjuma as a black knight must shift to the rescue of the South-south from which he has enormously benefited. If he actually believes in his soul that he acted when injustice is perpetrated, he must act to support not only the Acting President but the people of South-south that have never had a fair shake in Nigeria. Their cause should be his cause and their cry must be listened to by showing results on the ground not through governors that feather their own personal nests. Danjuma legacy will always be faulted until he rises to the occasion and make amends with the Igbo people of the South-east. Never mind those who have tried before, failed and apology rejected. It is more important to come out and demonstrate either remorse or understanding of a whole group of people wronged by the war on both sides. He has never done so but this position may be his last opportunity to try and reach out. Danjuma has more money than he knows what to do with it, but not everything. What Danjuma needs more than money and oil blocks, is a peace of mind and spirit. Ordinary soldiers develop post-war mental trauma after so much spilled blood, so are leaders of coups that traumatized the whole Country. There are many of them hunted by mental guilt no matter their brave face. Danjuma is just as human as anyone of them. by Farouk Martins Aresa

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