*Please keep us in your prayers —Family
By Dapo Akinrefon, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi & James Ogunnaike,ABEOKUTA
NOTABLE Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan; President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Federal Executive Council, FEC; Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State; former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George, and former Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, yesterday, paid glowing tributes to late former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya.
They commended the late army general for his love, belief and loyalty to the country just as the family of the deceased urged Nigerians to pray for them. Diya died at the age of 79.
Diya served as Chief of General Staff during the regime of late General Sani Abacha from 1994 until his arrest for treason in 1997.
He previously served as Chief of Defence Staff and was Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985.
Please keep us in your prayers—Family
Announcing the death of his father on behalf of the family, one of his children, Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, said Diya died yesterday. He, however, urged Nigerians to pray for the family.
The message read: “On behalf of the entire Diya family, home and abroad, we announce the passing onto glory of our dear husband, father, grandfather and brother, Lt. Gen. Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (retd).
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of March 26, 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.”
He had a bold, courageous career —Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari expressed grief over the passing of Diya, who served as Chief of General Staff from 1993 to 1997 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994.
The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina, paid tribute “to General Diya’s bold and courageous career in the Nigeria military and dedicated service to the country as General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Commandant, National War College (1991–1993), Chief of Defence Staff and Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985.”
President Buhari recalled that Diya was known for his brilliance, exceptional organisational skills and discipline, and he displayed these virtues in the important roles he held in office as a military officer.
His accomplishments’ll be remembered after him —Obasanjo
Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, described Diya’s life as a great success and accomplishment, which would long be remembered after him.
Obasanjo, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, stated that with the demise of Diya, there is no doubt, the ranks of the nation’s leaders have been depleted “by the loss of a dedicated and resourceful patriot, who served the nation in various capacities as an army officer, community leader and a legal practitioner.
“It is noteworthy that in the course of his military service, which straddled more than three decades, he acquitted himself as a dedicated officer and a real patriot. From the thick of the Nigerian civil war to the post-war re-organisation of the Army, he distinguished himself as a seasoned soldier.
“The rare diligence, loyalty and resourcefulness with which he carried out his duties and responsibilities, culminated in his appointment as Commander 31, Airborne Brigade; Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985; General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigerian Army in 1985; Commandant, National War College, 1991–1993; Chief of Defence Staff in 1993 and soon after, Chief of General Staff also in 1993; Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994 and later functioned as Nigeria’s number two man under the military administration of General Sani Abacha from 1994 to 1997.
“We, however, have cause to thank God that his life was a great success and many of his accomplishments will for long be remembered after him.”
He was a committed patriot— Jonathan
Expressing sadness over Diya’s death, former president Goodluck Jonathan, described Diya as a committed patriot and courageous soldier.
The former president, in a condolence message to the family, noted that Diya served the country diligently and fought for the unity of Nigeria, adding that he showed bravery and brilliance as a military leader.
He said: “Diya devoted so much of his energy towards uniting Nigeria and showed exceptional brilliance while holding different command positions in the nation’s military leadership.
“He will be remembered for his efforts towards promoting peace and commitment to the progress and development of our nation.”
Tinubu, FEC mourn
Also, the President-elect, Tinubu and the Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday, sent messages of condolence to the family of the former Chief of General Staff.
While expressing his sadness over the passing of the retired General, Tinubu, in a statement by Tunde Rahman, also praised his contributions to national development and the military institution.
The President-elect said: “The news of the death of General Oladipo Diya early this morning (Sunday) came to me as a shock. I send my heartfelt condolences and sympathy to his immediate family, especially his wives and children.
“General Diya lived a remarkable life as a soldier and he made his mark in the military where he served our country diligently. As Military Governor of Ogun State, in the various military positions, he held till he rose to the enviable position of Chief of General Staff and second in command to the Head of State, he served meritoriously.
“As much as he could, he played a stabilising role during one of the most turbulent periods in our nation’s life in the aftermath of the June 12, 1993, presidential election. He will be remembered for his patriotism and service to the nation.”
Similarly, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, on behalf of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, said he was shocked at the death of Diya.
Director Information in the Office of the SGF, Willie Bassey, in a statement, said Mustapha described Diya as a seasoned military officer with admirable administrative capabilities in his various functions as the Military Governor, Chief of Defence Staff and later, Chief of General Staff.
The statement reads: “FEC condoles with the government and people of Ogun State, his family and friends, and prays to God to grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest.”
He played frontline roles in devt of Ogun — Gov Abiodun
In his condolence, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said Diya’s contribution to the development of the state will not be forgotten.
The governor, in a statement by his spokesperson, Kunle Somorin, said: “He was courageous and daring, quick-witted and patriotic. Gen. Diya played frontline roles in the evolution and development of the state and his activities in the military, in part led to the eventual return and enthronement of democracy in the country in 1999.”
Bode George mourns
On his part, former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George, mourned the late Diya, saying he ran his race to the best of his calling.
George, in his tribute to Diya said: “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. George, who was the Principal Staff Officer when Diya was Chief of General Staff, said: “May God give him eternal rest and may his memory be a blessing to his family and friends.
“He ran his race to the best of his calling and we must leave the rest for the pages of history. Good night sir till the resurrection morning when we shall meet to part no more. May the Angels sing you to your resting place. My deepest condolences to his family, especially Simi.”
He was an accomplished Army General — Amosun
In his tribute, former Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, described the late Diya as an accomplished Army General and qualified legal practitioner.
Amosun in a condolence message said: “An accomplished Army General and qualified legal practitioner, the late Oladipo Diya in his lifetime served Nigeria meritoriously in many capacities beginning from his commissioning as Army 2nd Lieutenant in March 1967.
“His sharp intellect and diligence earned him diverse promotions and appointment as Platoon Commander, 6th Battalion, Ikeja;
Commanding Officer, 101 Battalion; Deputy Adjutant-General; Director, Army Personnel Services; Commander, Nigerian Contingent in the UN Peace Keeping Operations and later Chief Military Personnel for the entire United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
“My condolences go to the Diya family of Odogbolu, particularly the widow, children and immediate household.”
It’s shocking, regrettable — Uzodimma
Also, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has said that Diya’s death is both shocking and regrettable.
A statement by Oguwike Nwachuku, Uzodimma’s Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser, said the governor commiserated not just with the Diya family and his Odogbolu community in Ogun State where he impacted lives so much, but also the government and people of Ogun State, the Nigerian military and the Federal Government, over the loss.
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