General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma GCON FSS psc is a Nigerian Jukun soldier, politician and multi-millionaire businessman. He was Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff from July 1975 to October 1979. He was also Minister of Defence under Olusegun Obasanjo. Danjuma is chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO).
He wasn’t born with silver spoon, his father Kuru Danjuma was a peasant farmer who also traded in metal parts for farming implements and tools. His ancestors all settled in Takum and were highly respected members of the community. As a farming community, Takum dwellers cultivated crops like yams, rice, cassava and beniseed in large quantities.
Theophilus Danjuma attended St Bartholomew’s Primary School in Wusasa then Benue Provincial Secondary School in Katsina –Ala there he was made captain of his school’s cricket 1st XI team. He received his Higher School Certificate in 1958 and in 1959 enrolled at the Nigerian College of Arts Science and Technology in Zaria (Ahmadu Bello University) majoring in History on a Northern Nigeria Scholarship. However, by the end of 1960, Danjuma had left university for recruitment in the Nigerian army.
Involvement in Nigeria Civil War
By October 1967, Obasanjo had been redeployed to Army HQ in Lagos, and Lt. Col Danjuma placed in charge of the Enugu sector. Following the successful repuslion of the Midwest invasion, Danjuma moved to capture Enugu, and did on October 4 1967. The Biafran capital was moved to Umuahia. Meanwhile, all the Biafran soldiers captured by Lt-Gen Theophilus Danjuma’s troops were executed in Ogoja.
Nigeria America Line (NAL) Formed in 1979 by General TY Danjuma (Rtd), Nigeria American Line (NAL) began business and initially leased a ship called ‘Hannatu’ which traded between Lagos and Santos in Brazil when Nigeria’s bilateral trade agreement had opened the sea routes to economies in the South American markets. NAL went on to win patronage from Nigeria’s National Supply Company (NNSC) to bring in government goods from. NAL’s list of growing clients included DICON Salt (Nigeria) and project cargoes for Iwopin Paper Mill, ANNAMCO and Volkswagen Nigeria.
NAL became a member of AWAFC (American West African Freight Conference), Brazil-Nigeria Freight Conference and the Mediterranean Line (MEWAC). With the formation of the National Maritime Authority (NMA) IN 1987/88, the profile of NAL increased as NMA encouraged indigenous operators to claim their share of internationally traded cargo involving Nigeria. NAL began with a core indigenous staff of about 12 in 1979.
In 2009 staff in NAL-COMET is closer to 250 including approximately 12 expatriate staff members. From the Lagos office the NAL-COMET Group has opened branch offices in Port Harcourt which serves Onne, Warri and Calabar seaports.
South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO)South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO) is a Nigerian oil exploration and production company that was created in 1995 by General T. Y. Danjuma. The ministry of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria awarded the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 246 to SAPETRO in February 1998. The block covers a total area of 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi).
SAPETRO partnered with Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd (TUPNI) and Brasoil Oil Services Company Nigeria Ltd (Petrobras) to start prospecting on OPL246. Akpo, a condensate field was discovered in April 2000 with the drilling of the first exploration well (Akpo 1) on the block. Other discoveries made on OPL 246 include the Egina Main, Egina South, Preowei and Kuro (Kuro was suspended as a dry gas/minor oil discovery).
In 2004, SAPETRO’s subsidiary in Benin won through a competitive tender process an oil exploration contract covering 550 square kilometres offshore from the Republic of Benin. In February 2005, SAPETRO was granted Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130 and thereafter the Federal government backed in through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In June 2006, SAPETRO divested part of its contractor rights and obligations to China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).
SAPETRO produced its “first oil” (condensate) on 4 March 2009. In December 2009 SAPETRO donated a new state of the art medical centre to the Nasarawa State University. The medical centre, to be known as South Atlantic Petroleum Medical Centre would be available to serve the University, the local and neighbouring communities.
COMET Shipping Agencies Nigeria Ltd COMET Shipping Agencies Nigeria Limited was established in 1984 by Danjuma, primarily to act as an agent for Nigeria American Line (NAL). COMET has grown and by the late nineties became one of the largest independent agents operating in Nigeria with experience in handling many types of vessels and cargo. In 2009 Comet handled over 200 vessels at the ports of Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri. In 2005 NAL-COMET acquired a roll-in-roll-out port (RORO) in Lagos which makes it the largest independent port operators in Africa.
NatCom Development & Investment Limited Nigerian business tycoon, Gen. TY Danjuma, was named Board Chairman by the NatCom Development & Investment Limited “NatCom”, trading as ntel. The announcement was made on Wednesday, July, 2016 following General Danjuma’s inaugural board meeting.
Ntel commenced commercial operations of its 4G/LTE-Advanced network on 08-04-16 in Lagos and Abuja. ntel is Nigeria’s most advanced mobile 4G/LTE network providing superfast Internet Access that enables high-definition voice, data and video services. ntel’s network is built on the 900/1800 MHz frequency bands which are the best propagation frequencies for the deployment of 4G/LTE technology. ntel’s bouquet of services includes: National Bandwidth; International Voice Termination, International Bandwidth; Mobile and Fixed Communications services.
Proposals on Restructuring Nigerian Governance
Against the background of continuing political and security crises in Nigeria, elder statesmen–and others–are doing some serious thinking about how to change the constitution to create more effective governance. At an awards ceremony sponsored by one of Nigeria’s serious newspapers, Leadership, three major political figures made concrete suggestions.
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar urged that the current state and local government structure be replaced by the regional structure of the late colonial and first republic period.
The current states would then be transformed into provinces of six regions. The local government structures would be abolished. Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, a former minister of defense, who has played a major role in most of Nigeria’s previous governments, supported the former vice president and commented on the overwhelming power of the governors who have few if any checks on their power. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a well regarded former governor of Lagos
Politics and National Service
Since 1999 Danjuma has played an significant role in Nigerian politics, some of his key appointments have been:
- 1999 Appointed as Minister of Defence to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Cabinet
- 2003 Appointed as Chairperson for investigative committee on the Warri conflict
- 2010 Nominated as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan
While in Office, Danjuma sought to restrain the politicisation of the military, and was a firm supporter of democracy and the Rule of Law. He also oversaw the renaming of all Nigerian barracks and cantons from those of civilian or living persons. He was also widely known to be an avid opponent of President Obasanjo’s attempts in 2006 to engineer a way that would enable himself and state governors to serve more than two consecutive terms.
Danjuma serves as Chairman of the Victims’ Support Fund Committee, supporting the victims of terror such as the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping. On 16 July 2014, in a speech at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Danjuma “told President Jonathan that Boko Haram insurgents appear to be having the upper hand, as they choose where to strike and capture territory … Danjuma said the battle to win the insurgency war has already taken too long.”
The Foundation’s principal aims are to provide durable advantages through the implementation of development programs. The Foundation plans to operate more as a philanthropic organisation rather than simply as a charity. This would allow for the foundation to seek out other deserving causes and Non Governmental Organizations(NGOs) to partner with and make grants available.
The TY Danjuma Foundation 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. Currently, USD500,000 has been given out as grants to NGOs working to relieve suffering in Danjuma’s home state of Taraba. Tarabais historically one of Nigeria’s most impoverished states, compounded by the absence of a health service which catered for the masses. Furthermore, the state has the highest case of river blindness and other debilitating illnesses.
The TY Danjuma Foundation is currently partnering with over 50 NGOs throughout Nigeria, and with the support and co-operation of 36 state governors. One of the many NGOs which is being supported by the Foundation is CASVI working in Takum, Wukari and Donga. CASVI’s main area of expertise is on the provision of free eye care services such as the treatment of river blindness in Wukari, Ibi and Donga.
Lesson from Theophilus Danjuma
- Look Forward to greater height; After his retirement from the military. Danjuma made himself useful by going into the business world.
- Know how to explore your ability;
- Control your state of thinking;
- Don’t just dream, go out and implement it;
- Always have the Faith of being successful;