Abacha’s Chief Of General Staff, Oladipo Diya Is Dead

Retired General Oladipo Diya

By Frank Oshanugor

A one time Chief of General Staff during Sani Abacha’s regime, Lt. General Donald Oladipo Diya is dead. He was said to have died in the early hours of Sunday.

According to his son Barrister Oyesinmilola Diya, the former military administrator who turned 79 years in April this year, passed onto glory in the early hours of Sunday 26th March 2023.

The statement which was released earlier on Sunday morning, however did not mention cause of death. It reads:
“On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to glory of our dear Husband, Father, Grandfather, brother, Lt- General Donalds Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd).

“He passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.”

Born on 3rd of April, 1944 Diya came to limelight when he was appointed military Governor of Ogun State after the Buhari coup of December 31, 1983.

Earlier in his military career, Diya had passed through the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and later fought during the Nigerian Civil War. He later attended the US Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College, Jaji (1980–1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.

While serving in the military, he studied law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained an LLB degree, and then proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, where he was called to bar as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

He held other top military posts like GOC, 82 Division and finally the Chief of General Staff (military Vice President) to Gen Sani Abacha.

During the turbulent days of the Abacha regime while serving as CGS, he was arrested along with others for allegedly planning a coup to unseat Abacha.

He was thereafter sentenced to death by firing squad along with men like Maj.-Gen Abdulkarim Adisa on April 28 1998 but by divine intervention their execution was yet to take place when General Abacha himself suddenly died in Aso Rock on June 8, 1998.

Abacha’s successor General Abdulsalam Abubakar subsequently released Diya and others similarly sentenced in connection with the phantom coup.

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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