Mr Olawale Adekoya, Special Adviser on Media and Strategy to deceased Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya, on Sunday described him as a pioneering leader in many endeavours.
Born at Odogbolu, Ogun, on April 3, 1944, Diya died on March 26 at a Lagos Hospital at the age of 79.
He was one of the pioneer students of Odogbolu Grammar School in 1957.
Diya was also among the pioneer students of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) that graduated as Regular Course One cadets on March 18, 1967.
One of his peers at the NDA is retired Gen. Aliyu Gusau, defence minister from 2014 to 2015.
Another one is Gen. Ishola Williams who walked out on the army and on Gen. Sani Abacha in 1993 on the premise that his and the army’s takeover of government were immoral.
Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya
The same Gen. Abacha appointed Diya as his Chief of General Staff when he took over government from the Interim National Government (ING).
The ING was put in place by military president, retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida when he “stepped aside’’ following strident measures by Nigerians to end military rule.
Before his appointment as Abacha’s deputy, Diya was the pioneer Commandant of the Nigeria War College between 1991 and 1993.
Earlier than these, deceased Gen. Diya was Commander 31, Airborne Brigade of the Nigerian Army.
He was appointed Military Governor of Ogun from January 1984 to August 1985, the period during which he banned night parties and closure of roads by revellers in a state widely known for “owambe’’ all-night parties.
He became General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigeria Army in 1985.
Diya’s passing on was first announced on Sunday in a terse statement issued by his first son, Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, a lawyer on behalf of the family.
His media aide, Adekoya told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the deceased’s residence in Lagos that: “incidentally, Oyesinmilola along with his late father made history when they were both called to the bar on the same day some years back.’’
Diya was survived by Josephine, his wife; many children and grandchildren spread across the world.
“A former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Wole Diya is his younger brother; Kehinde Diya, a Barrister, is also his younger brother.
“We also have a General in the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Olusola Diya, who was recently promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General,’’ Adekoya said.
Diya authored a book entitled: “Destiny Anchored on Faith’’ which encompassed the life he lived and elucidated on the role he played during Nigeria’s civil war of 1968 to 1970.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria