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Daisy Danjuma: The Amazing Amazon at 70
GUEST COLUMNIST by Kashim Ibrahim-Imam
It is easy not to run out of adjectives to describe Senator Daisy Danjuma. She is accomplished, thoughtful, dedicated, driven, incredibly decent, extremely generous, remarkably considerate…. She is all of these, and much more. One image that keeps coming to mind about her is the picture of the audacious female warriors of ancient Greece, called the Amazons. She is the quintessential Amazon. Elegant and graceful, Senator Danjuma will literally go to war to protect her family and friends and the causes she believes in.
There are so many great things to say about her as she joins the septuagenarian club. But I will restrict myself to three areas: her sterling accomplishments, her kind and thoughtful personality, and her dedication and devotion as a wife to a great man.
I will start with the obvious by recounting some of the highlights of her illustrious career. She served meritoriously in the upper chamber of the National Assembly between 2003 and 2007. She gave a good account of herself in her legislative duties in both plenary and committee meetings.
As a Senator, she served on many committees, including as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women and Youth Development and of ECOWAS Parliament’s Women and Children’s Rights. She stood out from the crowd in the Red Chamber through the force of her presence and the depth of her contributions. She raised a lofty flag for her Benin South Senatorial District, for women and the youths, and for the country as a whole.
Much earlier, she had performed creditably as a corporate lawyer, with stints at the Legal Aid Council, NAL Merchant Bank, and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), where she served as company secretary/legal adviser before going into private practice. But she has not restricted herself to Law, which she studied at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in the 1970s. She has also been a major player in the oil sector. She is currently the Executive Vice Chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), a key indigenous oil company, where she had previously served as the Chairman.
But what stands her out is beyond her remarkable career and public duties. She is simply an amazing human being, extremely kind, caring and thoughtful. She is the kind of friend and ally that everyone, no matter their station in life, needs in their corner. She remembers birthdays and other major milestones and makes it a point of duty to be present at important events in the lives of others. For those that she cannot attend, she will call and send gifts.
Times without number, she will call just to enquire about the wellbeing of others. Even while on holiday in exotic places like Marbella, Spain and Paris, France, she is thinking about family and friends. This part of her was on high display at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when the whole world was shut in and gripped by fear. She was not only in constant touch but also was sending medications and multivitamins to friends and associates to ensure that they are well fortified and protected.
Most remarkably, she has maintained a great balance between her professional/public obligations and her primary duties on the home front. For her, family comes first. She has remained a devoted and caring wife to her husband, the highly respected General T.Y. Danjuma. She supervises the preparation of his meals and serves the meals herself. Whenever, I visit the General, she would dutifully lay the table, then take her leave. There is nothing you will say that will make her stay, as she always insists on leaving the men to eat and talk.
Without a doubt, the General’s wellbeing remains paramount to her. While COVID-19 was raging, she became a total recluse, refusing to leave their home for any reason. She chose to sacrifice her social life to eliminate the risk of contracting the virus. She did this principally to protect her beloved husband who on account of age could be vulnerable. This underscores her care, love, respect and devotion to the General.
As our dear and loving sister, an amazing, dignified lady with incredible soul, reaches the landmark three scores and ten, I join many others in wishing her many more years in good health and great spirit, and God’s continued guidance, protection and blessings.
*Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, Entrepreneur and President King’s College Old Boys Association