*VP recalls ex-CGS involvement in praise song recording project with other leaders in 2017
The former Chief of General Staff of the Federal Military Government led by General Sani Abacha, the late Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya (Rtd) was a forthright and honest leader who served his country and its people well, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this during a condolence visit to the family of the late elder stateman in Lagos on Friday.
The Vice President accompanied by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustahpa was received on arrival by Mr Oyidamola Diya, the second son of the late General, other family members and associates.
Condoling the late General’s widow, Mrs Josephine Diya and his children, the VP said the former Chief of General Staff loved Nigeria dearly, served with all his strength and was committed to its progress and unity.
According to him, General Diya was “a very down-to-earth, honest and straightforward human being. We are very proud of what he achieved while in office.
“My memories of him were of a very decent man who loved and served his country. He signed up to die for his country and in the process ended up in the political line and served as the number two citizen of the country.
“In the coming years when we reflect on the life of this man, we will see the greatness of his life. He showed us that you can live and serve your nation and serve well even after office, serve again and work hard even in private life. Also, when you pass on, you are able to leave a legacy, and people can say of you that you did well.”
Recalling his interactions with the late Diya, the VP said “I tried to get him to write a memoir about his life but that didn’t work. What I did get him to do was to sing ‘Oh God, our help in ages past’ in 2017. He was the first person I spoke to about the project.
“The idea was to get past Presidents and Vice Presidents to come together to praise God. He had joked about how well he could sing, and so we tested that singing skill and as you all know, he did so well.”
Later in a chat with journalists, the Vice President flanked by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said “we are here to express sincere condolence of the President and government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to my worthy predecessor in office, Gen. Oladipo Diya, who of course you know served as an effective Vice President under the regime of General Abacha.
“He served his country loyally and he served his country with great conviction. He put everything on the line for his country not just as a soldier but later as a political leader. He served with forthrightness; he served with integrity.
“We are extremely proud of him; we are extremely proud of the legacy that he left and we are extremely proud of all that he was able to achieve in his lifetime.”
The VP added that the visit was “to condole with his family and also pray for his family that his memory will remain blessed and that the Lord God Almighty will strengthen the family at this time and that the children will even be greater than the great General Oladipo Diya, their father.”
The Vice President afterwards signed the condolence register at the Ikeja residence.
His message reads thus:
“My sincere and heartfelt condolence to the wife, Mrs Josephine Diya, children and family of a worthy predecessor in office, a decent gentleman, and an outstanding soldier and leader – General Oladipo Diya.
“General served his country and its people well. Both as a soldier and later as a political leader – at all times, he demonstrated a rare ability to manage men and material efficiently, he built trust because he trusted others and served with integrity and forthrightness. We will remember him well and celebrate his legacy always.
“On behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and our government, I express sincere sympathies and pray that his memory will always be blessed.”
The late Diya who as the then Chief of General Staff was the deputy to the late General Sani Abacha and had served previously in key positions in the Nigerian Army. He was also involved in private law practice including through a law reporting firm that he ran after he left office.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
7th April, 2023