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Why DAISY DANJUMA Has Remained Relevant @ 70


Senator Daisy Danjuma, the pretty wife of Lt.-Gen. T.Y. Danjuma will soon be 70. She seldom grants interviews. But she spoke with City People a while back, and it was a hugely revealing interview. This Edo-born accomplished lady of style and elegance has been in the public for over 3 decades.

In the interview below, she reveals what you don’t know about her.


You’re one of Nigeria’s most stylish women. What exactly informs your style and how you get it right all the time?

I don’t think there’s anything extra-ordinary in my style because 1 wear what’s comfortable, what suits me. My age, my career, my personality and my status. There are many styles that young girls wear, but I will not do it because I don’t consider myself an old fool, Agbaya, in the first instance and there’s nothing to prove or show off, I dress according to the dictates of the ceremony. If I’m going to the office, I know what to wear, If I’m going for evening events, I adorn ball gowns, it depends really on where I’m going to, I don’t have any complex about designers or anything or having to say this is this or this is that. I wear what suits me colour-wise, I have colours that I like, I like dark colours, I like black, I like navy blue, it depends actually. Gold, Silver for the evening. I will not wear something because A or B has worn that, I think I have enough confidence in myself to wear what I think suits me, what I’m comfortable in, and what suits my status.

In essence, you’ve not been wearing designer clothes?

That’s why I said I don’t suffer from an inferiority complex. I don’t want to be like anybody, I want to be myself because I am me and everybody is not me.

I’m Daisy Danjuma, Nobody is me, I’m me, so I dress to suit myself.

Who is Daisy Danjuma? How would you describe her? Are you an introvert?

It depends,  I flow with currents, I flow with time, I flow with the trend, I cannot qualify myself, I’m a human being, there is a time for everything. There are times you are happy, at times you weep, at times, you laugh, and at times, you cry. I’m just a human being, I’m like any other human being, if you annoy me, |I get angry, If I’m excited, I‘m happy, if anything good happens to me, I celebrate, so I’m just like any other person, there’s nothing extraordinary.

Let's talk about your NTA years.

I enjoyed working for the NTA, and I was at NTA for 10 years, 1982-1992, I was the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser:  When I was at NTA, it was a big family.  We were all happy. May I say I enjoyed working in the NTA then? It was a very fulfilling career that I enjoyed.

From where did you get into the NTA?

After I finished my programme at  Law school, I worked in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, which was my youth corps service and we were the pioneer set of the Legal Aid Council lawyers.

From there,  I worked with Nigeria Acceptances Limited (NAL), I was Executive Assistant to the Chairman/MD, Chief Gamaliel Onosode. I also worked with Capital Events, I was with Wole Adeosun and it was quite an interesting period. I learnt much because it was during the period of implementation of the indigenisation policy. Legal opinions were overwhelming. It was a period that was full of opportunities and I learnt much about the private sector.

Would you say that your NTA years prepared you for what you’re doing now?

Usually, from everywhere you work, you gain experience. I’ve always worked and gained experience which has always come in handy. But for politics, not just where you work, the world as a whole is your teacher, politics is a very wide area, you don’t have a specialised area, like the writing of Bills now, you need to have a certain background, but generally, every experience you get from working is never wasted.

Your love for Diamonds, how did it come about?

Every woman loves something good, even in the Bible, women adorned themselves. So, if that is what makes us better and look nice, why not? After all, people say diamonds are a girl’s best friend it’s even a song that every woman wants to look nice.

Would you say your style is uniquely you?

Nothing is unique to anybody, nobody has a monopoly of anything and any style anybody adopts, somebody has displayed it somewhere before in this world, even fabrics themselves.

So, nothing is personalised actually.

You can only add one or two things to give it your personal touch, as people say oh! I wear many Moroccan clothes, yes,

I know you’ll come to that because many people associate Moroccan clothes with me. I find them very comfortable and very convenient, you can casually wear them, formally, it’s something you can wear freely and go about.

I used to wear many boubous, but you can make it flow, if you want, you can make it the way you like. Morocco is a place I often go to, so it’s not a surprise that I wear their clothes, their styles are a bit unique, away from the local clothes.

I also know that you love shoes, Am I wrong?

I do agree. I’ve always said that Nigerians are the best-dressed women in the world that I’ve seen, I’ve been to many countries, I’ve seen people from all over the world in gatherings, but Nigerian women are the best dressed I’ve seen and they’re well-coordinated in their dressing and if I’m a Nigerian. I fall into that category, I don’t mind at all. We like dressing well despite the frustration in our country’ We still try to be very happy, which I think is unique to Nigerians.

So, do you like shoes?

Why not? I’m a woman. I don’t just like shoes, I love good shoes. I have the height to wear It, I can carry it, but 1 like high-heeled shoes, that’s the difference. My friends accuse me of wearing very high-heeled shoes because when shoes are not high, I can’t walk in them so, many of my friends are surprised that as tall as I am, I still wear high-heeled shoes because you walk well, you walk straight in high shoes, it moves you forward, so, you cannot afford to slush or walk anyhow.

Would you then say you love the good things of life?

Absolutely. Why not? That is part of life, If God gives you good health and you can afford basic things and you can afford that little extra, what are you living for? You might as well enjoy it.

Some people do say that General TY. Danjuma spoils you silly and spends heavily on you...

I don’t know, but 1 have earning power, so I earn in that wise, I spoil myself very well, I don’t think my man will spend anyhow on a woman, if you have that extra-taste as a woman, then why not work and earn it? So, I earn enough to spoil myself because I believe I’m hardworking and the only thing I can show for it is to enjoy myself.

So, it’s not as if your husband spoils you?

I don’t think any man in Nigeria spoils any woman silly. My husband is very nice to me, but I can afford the extras myself. 

What is life like as a wife of General T. Y Danjuma?

My husband is like any other man, if you’re asking me if my husband has been a terrorist, if you say how is life with a terrorist, then I can say it’s a different world, but my husband is a loving and nice husband.

He’s generally seen as a tough General and then one wonders, how does Senator Danjuma cope with this tough man?

I don’t know what you call tough, my husband is a very truthful person, he tells you things as they are, but most Nigerians don’t believe that, they believe you have to cajole people, deceive them, but he does not believe in that and I believe in being very blunt just as he is blunt, that is why I think that we get on very well together because I tell you my mind, I don’t care how you feel as long as I’m saying the truth, that is very important to me and in Nigeria, if you’re a very truthful person and you say the truth at all times, they say you’re difficult, you’re hard or this or that, but I just know he’s a very straight forward person and to the point.

Often, nasty reports get written about you in the newspapers and one gets the feeling that this woman doesn’t bother?

Believe me, you’re right, I don’t bother. I don’t bother. I don’t care what’s written about me because what I say, if you write anything about me that is not true and people call me saying that they’ve written some things about you, will you not react? I’ll say don’t worry, if it’s a weekly, I’ll say next week, another person’s story will come out and the edition containing my own story, they’ll use it in selling roasted plantain or groundnut round the corner. If you want to listen to what people say about you, you will not progress because whether you’re good or bad, whatever you do in this world, whatever you are, they’ll talk about you, good or not complimentary, so it should not bother you at all. Let your conscience guide you as long as natural justice, equity and good conscience control your life, you cannot do more than that. And you fear God, that is all.

What’s your guiding philosophy in life?

God is first, natural justice, equity, and good conscience. Those three things. To be fair, when you’re fair to your neighbour, that’s all.

Let's have an insight into your childhood. Was it privileged?

I would say very much because I come from a very comfortable family. My grandfather was one of the first people who drove a car in Benin City. He was the first Christian convert. He was a very privileged man, Pa Ighodaro, he trained all his children, he produced the first male graduate, first female graduate, first lawyer, and now I’m the first female Senator in Benin. I must say I’m from a very privileged background and I thank God. Not my making, but because they had worked very hard and God helped them, it’s a question of being privileged and lucky. Being at the right place at the right time.

You have equally famous siblings, the Ehanires, can we know them?

I have a brother in Benin, Samson Ehanire, he’s a very good golfer, he’s a businessman. I have another brother, Dr Osagie Ehanire, he’s a surgeon, German-trained, he has a clinic in Warri. I also have a sister, who is a Principal at St. Theresa’s College, Ibadan, she did French. She’s Mrs Falope. My immediate sister is Dr Edugie Abebe, she’s a Director in the Federal Ministry of Health. She’s a sister-in-law to a former First Lady (the late Stella Obasanjo).

I have a younger sister, who’s married to Senator Usman Sam Sam, she’s here in Abuja, she read Tourism in Bournemouth, her name is Yuwa. I have a brother who’s Andy Ehanire, he used to be in the State Security Service (SSS) as Assistant Director. He’s retired now. He runs his own business. I have another brother called Isaiah Ehanire, who works in Abuja. Another of my brothers is Egie Ehanire, who was a Bank  Manager, he’s now into construction. I have two senior sisters, who are politicians Stella Aideyan and Osama Edokpolor. I’m from a very big family, I have many sisters and brothers. My father had many children, we’re about 20.

Who are your friends?

As a politician, I have many friends because I went through primary school, secondary school, and University, I have worked, I’m into Politics, therefore, I have many people who are my friends and I have a very friendly disposition. Then I have some very good friends. My sisters and cousins are very close to me.

Do you have anything you’re passionate about?

Well, I love Golf and I’m a member of the IBB Golf Course in Abuja, but when you’re a golfer, you have to create a time for golfing. Recently, I’ve not had the time. I also like flowers, as you see here, we’re planting our garden, my husband and I are interested in having a very lovely garden. We both manage our garden very nicely because we used to hold parties in our garden and then it’s good to have a very nice environment for music, my husband likes music, in the evenings, mostly, we listen to good music, we read, I love reading, he loves reading too, reading, music, gardening.

Music, which kind of music?

My husband loves Jazz, Classical music, and easy listening.

In a few words, describe your husband?

He’s a man, who has time for his family, loving, and devoted and I think I’ve been blessed by God.

And if you come back to the world again.

I’ll be his wife and I’ll be myself.

You don’t want anything changed?

Nothing. I have no regrets, and any cross I have, I’ve carried very well, God has carried my cross for me and I’m a very happy and contented person. The main thing in life is when you’re contented, you have all.

At 54, have you achieved your dreams?

I will just say I thank God because I’m living a very satisfied life and I’m most grateful to God. I don’t want anything changed.

Tell us more about your parents...

My father’s name is Ighodaro Ehanire, my mother is from Delta State she is Merry Ehanire, She’s 83 now, she still resides in Benin.

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