The news of the death of Lieutenant General Oladipo Diya (retd.), the former Chief of General Staff to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, left many Nigerians in shock on Sunday morning.
In this report, The PUNCH highlights 10 major things to know about the late Diya.
1. Oladipo Donaldson Diya was born in Odogbolu in Ogun State on April 3, 1944.
2. He joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna at a youthful age and was part of the active soldiers who fought during the Nigerian Civil War between July 6, 1967, and January 15, 1970.
3. The late Diya studied Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then at the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
4. Prior to his appointment as Abacha’s second in command, Diya had served as the Chief of Defence Staff and Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985.
5. In 1993, he was appointed Chief of General Staff and later Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994.
6. On December 21, 1997, the regime arrested top army officials including General Diya, Major General Tunji Olanrewaju, Major General Abdulkarim Adisa, and eight others for allegedly plotting to “violently” overthrow Abacha.
7. Just one week before his arrest, Diya had allegedly narrowly missed becoming the victim of a bomb explosion at the Abuja airport when he was on his way to represent Abacha at the funeral of the mother of Major-General Lawrence Onoja in Benue State.
8. Diya in collaboration with Bamaiyi and other notable officers had demanded four things from Abacha when they noticed that he was beginning to nurture the plan to transmute as president for life, which were:
i. That the original draft of the 1995 constitution should be promulgated without the mutilation to which Abacha was subjecting the document.
ii. That the June 12 crisis be resolved and along with it, the release of political prisoners which included the winner of the 12 June 1993 presidential elections, Bashorun MKO Abiola.
iii. That Abacha should make an unambiguous public pronouncement that he had no intention of succeeding himself.
iv. That an attempt to eliminate Yoruba military officers should be terminated.