Theophilus Danjuma

Theophilus Danjuma
Danjuma inspects the Guard of Honor, 1st battalion Coldstream Guards, at the British Ministry of Defense. Source: Central Press/Getty Images

Theophilus Danjuma; Military general who played crucial roles in the shaping of post-independence Nigeria. Danjuma who made huge fortunes in Nigeria’s extractive industry announced his foundation with the sum of $100 million in 2009[i]. The one-time Chief of Army Staff, COAS, and Minister of Defence is generally regarded as a doyen of military professionalism[ii].

Born in 9 December, 1937, his rise to the top began between 1953 and 1960  during his days at Benue Provincial Secondary School, now Government College, Katsina, and Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology, now Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria. On completion of his course in 1960 in ABU, Danjuma joined the Nigerian Army, and was enrolled at the Nigerian Military Training Centre, Kaduna, after which he proceeded to the Officer Cadet Training School, Aldershot, the School of Infantry Hythe and Warminster — both in the UK as well as Special Warfare Centre, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, USA and Army Staff College, Camberly, UK.

On July 29, 1966 a mutinous troop led by Major Theophilus Danjuma abducted General Aguiyi-Ironsi at Ibadan with military governor of Western Region, Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi. Both were later reported dead[iii]. During Nigeria’s 30-month-old civil war, Danjuma was a fighter. This later earned him the appointment of general office commanding, GOC, 3rd Infantry Division, Nigerian Army, 1971 and 1975; and chief of army staff, 1975 to 1979 when he retired following the nation’s return to democratic rule. His four years as the minister of defence, according to him were the most trying period in his life[iv]. Danjuma lost a lucrative oil bloc after he fell out with President Obasanjo. His credential in retirement however remain intimidating and he is a respectable recipient of the national award of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON.
[i] NATION May 26, 2013

[ii] The News 13 December, 2004

[iii] The Source August 13, 2001

[iv] TELL December 15, 2003

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer