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Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida yesterday extolled the virtues of General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma as a “legendary soldier, a savvy and forward looking entrepreneur, investor and philantropist” during the N50 billion Endowement Fund of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
Gen. Babangida, who was the Chairman of the occasion, said Gen. Danjuma, who was then the Chief of Army Staff, entrusted the re-organisation of the Nigeria Army to him even though he was just a colonel.
Danjuma, who was army chief from 1975 to 1979, also served as Minister of Defence during the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
Gen. Danjuma, who was the Chief Launcher at the occasion, was also conferred with an honorary doctorate degree.
Delivering his address to a well-attended gathering that included the Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Gen. Babangida said: “I am one person who is eminently qualified to comment on the qualities of Gen. T. Y. Danjuma. In our days in the military, I have the privilege of serving under his able leadership of which brought me into very close contact with him.
“Indeed, of the eleven times Gen. Danjuma travelled out this country as Chief of Army Staff, I was with him at ten of those occasions. More significantly for me, he entrusted me with the singularly important task of reorganising the Nigerian Army as a whole even though I was at the relatively lowly rank of a colonel in the army. At any rate, my focus today is not on our relationship but on the superlative qualities he always brings to bear in whatever he does in life.
“He said apart from the famed Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, who established the university and as a mark of honour, the university was named after him, no other Nigerian has contributed to the development of education in northern Nigeria like Danjuma.”
According to the former military president, the honour bestowed on Danjuma was well deserved, considering his (Danjuma) committment and contribution to the development of education, which he said was the solution to some of insecurity, ignorance and poverty.
“For the individual Nigerians, making contributions to the education sector has become a matter of enlightened self interest. The security, peace and progress we aspire for ourselves and our families are not attainable if the majority of the citizenry remains locked in the traps of ignorance and poverty. Ignorance and poverty are two sides of the same coin, in the same way that knowledge and progress are to another coin. Pocketing one of these coins by any community would surely lead to peace and prosperity for all, while picking the other would certainly results into stagnation, insecurity and anarchy that would engulf everyone.
“In my opinion, there is no person making greater contributions in this regard today in this country than the person being honoured at this occasion and the chief launcher for today’s ABU’s endowment fund, General Theophilous Yakubu Danjuma. Indeed, for the Northern States of Nigeria, no individual with the exception of the person after whom this University is named, Sir. Ahmadu Bello, Sardaunan Sokoto, has made greater contribution to the educational fortunes of the region,” the former military president added.
Babangida further said that 50 years after the demise of Sir Ahmadu Bello, General Danjuma has “virtually picked the gauntlet from where the Sardauna has left it.”