General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma has become a man no one could ignore in the scheme of things. He is a rare icon, simply matchless in astuteness and humanity. Till today, those in authority either in government, religion or business still can’t ignore him. All treated him with awe and respect. When he talks, a lot of people listen. Thus, when the Taraba State-born reticent retired General- turned- business magnate hit the big 80 on Saturday, December 9, the frenzy that characterized the social establishment top members’ jostling to celebrate the respected wealthy gentleman came as no surprise at all. An excerpt of a personally signed congratulatory letter by President Muhammadu Buhari to welcome the equity maven to the Octogenarian club attested: “I share in the grace and joy that comes with this special day, having keenly followed your leadership trajectory over the years in selfless service to the nation, courageous military career and building a versatile business empire.”
And to celebrate the milestone, no expense was spared by the family led by the sociable wife of the celebrant, Senator Daisy Danjuma, for an ultra-exclusive birthday bash at the plush ocean-front Eko Atlantic in Victoria Island, Lagos. Security at the event was tight; beyond the handful of police officers at the main entrance of the venue, several barrel-chested private security operatives stood silent sentries at the mainbowl. Of course, the Danjuma family, famous for soiree at such ritzy and demure ambience, delivered lavish food, choice wine and pulsating tunes from a live band. As expected, the eclectic nature of the party’s celebrity guest list had a perfect mix of politicians, socialites, investors, top entrepreneurs and entertainment celebrities who flocked the two-pronged glitzy celebration to toast the the amiable tycoon. The day had started with a thanksgiving service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos. Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and other dignitaries including Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Ogun State Governor Senator Ibikunle Amosun; Kaduna State governor Nasir el-Rufai; Edo State governor Godwin Obaseki and former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon among other luminaries were in attendance.
Danjuma is a renowned Forbes rated billionaire and philanthropist with a networth of over $2 billion. The former Chief of Army Staff made his money in the oil and gas sector. He is the founder and Chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO), an oil exploration company, which owns upstream assets in Nigeria, Republic of Benin, the Central African Republic and Madagascar. He also owns substantial stake in Notore Chemical Industries, which manufactures Urea fertilizer, as well as NAL Comet, one of Nigeria’s largest shipping companies.
The Takum-born old soldier, a recipient of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), which is the highest honorary award in Nigeria bestowed on non-head of state, has spent over $100 million of his wealth on charity. Thus, this philanthropy and positive contributions to the lives of others make his birthday a noble cause for several of his friends, family and business associates to celebrate.