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TY Danjuma, Legacy Of Service



For General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), life can be said to be, ultimately, eventful. On the day of his birth, 81 years ago, if a soothsayer had told his parents that their son would grow up to be a beacon of light that would illuminate the pathways of many in and around their humble Takum community and even beyond, they would have told him to go ply his trade elsewhere. Considering their material circumstances, greatness for their son was only a wish, like every other parent, they would have prayed for their son. From their grave, it is obvious that they will surely be pleased with their Yakubu.

As always, fate usually has its way in the affairs of mankind and TY, as he is fondly called by his peers and admirers, could not have wished for more than he is able to achieve in this fiercely competitive world. After a most glorious career in the military, and on retirement as Chief of Army Staff, TY proved, by his versatility that yielded and is still yielding immense result, that his record as a combatant was hugely earned. Today, he is idolised as one of the best the Nigerian military ever produced, a consummate politician and a dependable godfather who served as Minister of Defence in the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, multi-billionaire businessman and world acclaimed philanthropist.

His chain of business connections is as imposing as his personality. From shipping, banking, agriculture, telecommunication to oil, the Danjuma mystique leaves in its trail a flurry of activity that awes the imagination. With his wealth which he once personally describe as immeasurable, he is touching lives in a way only he can. From the pedestal of his TY Danjuma Foundation which seeks to alleviate poverty in communities by providing basic amenities, education for children and young adults while also providing free medical care for indigent people, he is proving to the outside world that philanthropy runs in his DNA.

Danjuma was born in Takum, Taraba State (formally Gongola), Nigeria to Kuru Danjuma and Rufkatu Asibi. He started his education at St Bartholomew’s Primary School in Wusasa Zaria and moved on to the Benue Provincial Secondary School in Katsina-Ala where he was the captain of the school cricket 1st XI team. He received his Higher School Certificate in 1958. On leaving high school, Danjuma’s first choice of a career was not, ironically, the military.

He enrolled at the Nigerian College of Arts Science and Technology in Zaria (Ahmadu Bello University) to study History on a Northern Nigeria Scholarship. Maybe, he had in mind to be a teacher or a diplomat. However, again, fate, that unseen hand in the affairs of men, had other plans for the young Danjuma as he had to leave the university to enrol in the Nigerian Army. Yet, he still achieved his aim of being a diplomat when in 1970, he attended the International Court Martial in Trinidad and Tobago as Nigeria’s representative, where he was appointed president of the tribunal in a case brought against members of a failed coup attempt in Trinidad and Tobago. Through the activities of his foundation, schools are built and scholarships awarded to the indigent thus fulfilling his other aspiration of being an educationist.

While in office as senior military officer, he spearheaded efforts to curb the politicisation of the military, and was a firm supporter of democracy and the Rule of Law. His opposition to President Obasanjo’s attempts in 2006 to engineer a way that would have enabled himself and state governors to serve more than two consecutive terms, earned him the enmity of his lifelong comrade-in-arms. But it didn’t bother him as he believed in the greater good to be achieved for Nigeria when men, especially leaders, begin to appreciate the indispensability of the qualities of integrity and firm attachment to the common good.

Danjuma served as Chairman of the Victims’ Support Fund Committee, supporting the victims of terror. Prophetically, as if he was talking to the present administration, he warned the government of Goodluck Jonathan that the battle to win the insurgency war had already taken too long.

As he ages gracefully, TY is generously oiling the wheel of his most enduring legacy to humanity by deploying his enormous wealth to projects and services that are aimed at putting lasting smiles on the face of the less privileged in the society. The TY Danjuma Foundation is partnering with Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, throughout Nigeria, and with the support and co-operation of 36 state governors. A grateful nation, in appreciation of his meritorious service to fatherland bestowed on him the second highest honour in the country, the Grand Commander of the Order on the Niger (GCON). By now, he himself must have lost count of chieftaincy titles, as well as honorary degrees from universities intent on saying thank you to him for a job well done. Happy birth day.



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