More reactions have continued to trail the call by General Theophilus Y. Danjuma (retd.) for Nigerians should rise up and defend themselves from killer herdsmen ravaging communities across the country.
This was as a prominent Christian leader, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, said the former Defence minister spoke the truth, stressing that, “Danjuma represents forceful truth and it is a bitter pill which is not easy to swallow.
The staff of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), in an exclusive interview, stated that because of poor leadership, “Nigeria is sub-standard and almost a visionless country”.
“TY Danjuma spoke the truth but some people are trying to dig out his past and rub dirt on him. Some going as far as suggesting that he is part of the problem with Nigeria. Who isn’t? he asked.
“Some of us have each contributed our part in bringing Nigeria to where she is today, a sub-standard almost visionless country due to poor leadership.
“I listened to his speech in the video clip and in summary, TY Danjuma spoke of self-defense in the context of, defend your country, territory, your State, God bless our country. What’s wrong with that?
“The counter-attacks on what TY Danjuma said comes as no surprise to some of us, in fact I expected it, more will come! It’s called divide and rule manipulation tactics. It’s subjective psychological intimidation.
“I am glad that objective responsible voices from the north and Nigeria are coming out to say hey, listen or investigate what TY Danjuma said, not attack or try to discredit him. Is the government conscious that they stand discredited in the eyes of many Nigerians today?
“Correcting what TY Danjuma and in fact many others have observed is the most sensible thing the Federal government needs to do.
“Truth from a truthful person is very bitter. Truth from a dishonest source is usually taken with a pinch of salt. Danjuma represents forceful truth and it is a bitter pill which is not easy to swallow.”
Para-Mallam, quoting to a former US president, Theodore Roosevelt, said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official, save [except] exactly to the degree in which he himself or she [herself] stand by the country.
“It is patriotic to support him [her] in so far as he [or she] efficiently serves the country. It is [in fact] unpatriotic not to oppose him [or her] to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his [or her] duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the President or anyone else.”
Para-Mallam maintained that, “I will say to Nigerians and especially those in the Middlebelt and lovers of truth in the north, let’s stand resolute with the truth. Don’t be intimidated with the current attacks on TY Danjuma, it’s not just him they are attacking; you and I, are their main targets. The goal? Scare the hell out of us. It’s a psychological warfare which could go physical. Will we run or stay our ground?
“Fact is, should you choose to run, where to? My take? Let’s stand our ground, this land, God gave us, No running, we won’t Cede.
“Some even went as far as being uncharitable; as to say TY Danjuma ate fat on Nigeria and now he wants to end up as a tribalist by instigating his tribesmen and women against the Nigerian nation.
“Who isn’t a tribalist among those voices coming out against TY Danjuma? Both from the North and other voices?” he asked.
The cleric continued, “I am not supporting tribalism. I actually hate it. The point I want to make is this: the self-centeredness of some core northern leaders and their religious bigoty is legendary.
“They unite to attack with the aim of scattering the non-conforming voices. Nigeria owns the North and not the North owning Nigeria. This time they will miss-fire. It’s not about TY Danjuma, it is about all of us in the Middlebelt and other parts of Nigeria who have been cheated many times over.
“Nigeria belongs to us all and when some northerners speak, it is as if Nigeria belongs only to them and they determine who should live, enjoy what facilities and so forth. This is a false supremacy mentality that has no place in 21st century forward-looking thinking.
“One write-up even suggested that they were on their way in 1804 to conquer all of Nigeria but the British Colonialist stopped them. Pack of lies and distortion of history. Well, it’s simple: 2018 is not 1804. The world has since moved on and so also our capabilities, intellectual capacities and religious orientation.”
According to the clergyman, “To evoke the spirit of 1804, is a selfish non-tenable simplistic argument from unsophisticated minds. In the life of every nation, a time of reckoning comes and this might be it for Nigeria.
“OBJ spoke, IBB, spoke, TY Danjuma is speaking now and some people are crying foul.
“Some of us are speaking, truth to power. Should everybody keep quiet and allow the rot and killings to continue? NO.
“When Christian leaders speak, they are labelled ‘religious fanatics.’ It is good that these national leaders and former military Generals who fought for the unity of this country, though retired, are speaking out.
“I will suggest that we all go beyond speaking to acting to save this country. Changing the direction of Nigeria needs our collective effort including core progressive and pragmatic thinking leaders even from the core North. Senator Shehu Sani is one such voice.
“When OBJ, IBB, TY Danjuma and others cry out, the core North, needs to listen. President Buhari, Vice President Osibanjo and more progressive minds in APC like Chief Tinubu, need to take stock.
“Those speaking are not raising baseless false alarms. It is in the interest of the Military also to do an introspective soul search on what TY Danjuma said beyond issuing rebuttal public statements.
“The testimony of people on the ground confirms what TY Danjuma said. This crisis is affecting the economic growth of the Middlebelt, the North and Nigeria.
“The World Bank figures are there for all to see, our economic growth rate today is at a much slower pace than it was 3 years back, agreed that the present government is doing a good job at diversifying the economy.”
Para-Mallam, however, lamented that “Transparency International in February 2018, came out with the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2017 and Nigeria is doing badly.
“The need for this government to correct the imbalance in their fight against corruption cannot be overemphasized.
“Nigeria’s current position of 148 in Transparency International rankings of perceived corruption index says a lot. In fact, I did a background search into the past and found this: Nigeria’s Corruption Perception Index from 1996-2017 shows: Current position 148 out of 175 countries. 136 in 2015 out of 168 countries and 135 in 2016, with an average of 119.14 between 1996-2016.
“Nigeria’s all-time high in the rankings was 152 in 2005 under Obasanjo and a record low of 52 (favorable) in 1997 – surprisingly under Abacha. So, coming back to 2018, we are progressively getting worse in the CPI rankings. Yet APC used the C- factor to campaign and won elections in 2015.
“What will they say in terms of report back to the electorate in 2019 on the C-factor? He asked.
“The government likes talking to us rather than listening to the groaning of the people which speaks louder than their brainwash.
“The point I am also making is that this crisis is affecting our economic growth and in some ways fueling corruption but this could be a subject of detailed conversations another day.
“Some corrupt elements in society are eating fat on the blood of our innocent citizens through these senseless killings. Dig deeper!
“Should we all keep quiet because a Buhari from the north is in power? Para-Mallam further asked.
“When Jonathan from the South was there did the North keep quiet and kept clapping for him? No!
“They were shouting, so why should others keep quite now? Don’t forget 2019 is around the corner and this present APC government under the Buhari Presidency must render account to Nigerians. If you had the courage to seek political office, you must also have the courage to render account truthfully and what you say should be empirically examined with facts on the ground.
“Our President’s supporters who try to shot down the likes of OBJ, IBB and TY Danjuma, should be told the truth to their faces.
“These same trio supported Buhari’s emergence as President in 2015. The idea of speaking truth to power is to correct power and get power to do what is right for the good of all. So, President Buhari should count himself lucky to be told the truth by respectable men who are from his ‘constituency’: the military”.
“This nation deserves the best – which we are not getting. To me, the change candidate needs change himself, if he is to be relevant for Nigeria.
“President Buhari has the remaining months of 2018 to redeem himself as a credible leader. His fanatical followers won’t intimidate and scare the vast majority of Nigerians,” he warned.
Para-Mallam further stated, “We are battle ready with our voter’s cards; pure and simple. If he sympathizes are serious, let them advise him to listen to these voices and stop throwing bats at those who speak for the good of the nation.
“I gave Buhari the candidate and President the benefit of the doubt in 2015 and urged people to support him and give his government a chance on an on. Now, 3 years on, I am personally very disappointed.
“The killings in the Middlebelt States and the direction the whole country is going is something we all should not ignore”, he warned.