Gen. T.Y. Danjuma has gone mad again

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo
8 min readMar 26, 2018

Retired General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma has gone mad again.

Last week, at the convocation of Taraba State University in Jalingo, the retired general excreted bees unto Nigeria’s political space. In an angry speech, he urged Nigerians to rise up and defend themselves from marauding herdsmen in some parts of Nigeria or risk perishing due to inaction.

“You must rise to protect yourselves from these people; if you depend on the armed forces to protect you, you will all die…,” Danjuma said. “This ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba, and it must stop in Nigeria. These killers have been protected by the military; they cover them and you must be watchful to guide and protect yourselves because you have no other place to go.”

This is not the Theophilus Danjuma that Nigerian history remembers.

Captain Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma came into prominence when he led a group of soldiers to abduct the former head of state, Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and his host, the military governor of Western region, Lieutenant Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, from government house Ibadan on the night of July 29, 1966.

Under Danjuma’s orders, Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi was spat on, slapped, kicked and punched. With Ironsi’s hands tied behind his back with telephone cord, Danjuma’s soldiers crushed his testicles with their military boots. Ironsi was then dragged on the ground from a moving military Range Rover, skin torn by gravels on the road, blood oozed from his mouth, face swelled, bones cracked and body parts dismembered. And finally he was shot several times and his bullet-ridden, mangled body was dumped in a forest near Iwo road. And so saw his host, Fajuyi.

It would be absolutely unfair not to present Danjuma’s foolproof defense: he refused to break Ironsi’s crocodile swagger stick as demanded by the soldiers who feared that Ironsi would disappear. According to Danjuma, as a result of that, the soldiers abandoned him and left on their own with Ironsi. In any case, as far as Danjuma was concerned, Ironsi was an evil man. In a 2008 interview with the Guardian newspaper, Danjuma described Ironsi as “a useless desk-clerk Head of State.” In the eyes of Danjuma, Ironsi represented all that was wrong with Nigeria of those years. Danjuma was part of a band of brothers passionate about reversing Nigeria’s slow descent into anarchy.

For accomplishing such brutal act as he did on Ironsi, Danjuma earned his chops in Nigeria’s…

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Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo is the author of "This American Life Sef."