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June 12, 1997 ‘phantom’ Coup, Abacha years: Everybody has his own blame – Diya

By Bashir Adefaka
Chief of General Staff (Vice President) under the Abacha regime, Lieutenant General Oladipo  Diya, says  every citizen has a  role to play  to make the country great  as Nigeria celebrated its 56th independence anniversary, yesterday. Diya also speaks on the Abacha regime’s handling of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, the detention of the presumed winner, the late Chief MKO Abiola, and the 1997 coup plot he was accused of mastermiding.

Nigerians say things are worse economically.   At 56th , independence anniversary, would you say Nigeria has yet a messiah in town?

There is no doubt we have problems.   One way or the other, we don’t want to apportion blames.   It would be wrong now to apportion blames that things are bad.

Luckily we have a  President now who is determined.   Yes, things are bad but we are not out of place because, certainly, things will get better. diya

We have a leader who believes that things can change and that things have to change for better.   So, we are all looking forward to what is coming.

Anti-corruption war of the President, what is your assessment and what is your take on the behaviour of the judiciary, that is, the bench and the bar, to the war?

First of all, to me, everybody is putting in his best in the prosecution of the ongoing anti-corruption war.

Lately, some leaders of Niger Delta have come out to admit that the region actually got its shares of the national cake but could not  say  who to blame for the problem of the country. What do you say about the hostilities in the Niger Delta?

Well, I don’t want to  say this or  that should be blamed.    What I  can say is that we want a better and peaceful Niger Delta area.   Even though some of their leaders have said that unity is not a guarantee, that is for the persons talking.   The important thing is to let the people sit down and come out with good result.

With your experience (accused of plotting coup) with the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, do you have reason to regret working with him?

I don’t have any regret on  any issue.   If you are to talk about who does the right thing and who does not, we would continue to talk and, at the end of the day, we will start to apportion blames and I don’t want to apportion blames.   But if anybody says he is right, then he is not being factual and that is also because I don’t want to use the word ‘fear God.’   Everybody has got his own blame one way or the other, but that is not what we are saying now.   Let us solve the problem we have at hand,

join hands with the government of the day and then together move Nigeria forward.nig-at-56-logo

What are you  doing to get President Muhammadu Buhari  to address the fact that three of six of you that were involved in the phantom coup issue of 1977 were pardoned by former President Goodluck Jonathan leaving the remaining three in the cold?

Even as we are talking now, some of my colleagues never petitioned because they never believed that anything was wrong.   So, if you don’t petition, what you mean is to say that either you have accepted what is said against you or you have not accepted it but you just decide to keep quiet.   But we pray for long life because many people will still talk.   Probably they are tracing their time to talk.

General Olanrewaju, Colonel Jando and the late Lt. Col. Akiyode were left out of the pardon  arrangement when former President Goodluck Jonathan pardoned  you.   Is there anything being done by you to get President Buhari look at their matter?

Something that is being done by me? Ha, what should I be doing than to be talking and be talking?   But to do something is the government’s place.

We heard many things about Diya, the Yoruba and the June 12  compromise.   Did you really compromise June 12 or what is your story?

I have said it so many times that even when I was in active  service as Chief of General Staff which some people would like to call military Vice President, up till today, I have said it before openly and clearly and I still want to say it now that I never knew where the late Chief MKO Abiola (the assumed winner of the 1993 presidential election who died trying to claim his mandate)  was detained.   I am not saying that I didn’t know that he was detained but I am saying that I didn’t know where he was detained.

And  if the Vice President, which my position as Chief of General Staff was at that time says he never knew where somebody was detained in a government that he was part of, you quite know that it means a lot.   Now, from here, go and make your research. But it’s okay.   We have lived above all those things and we thank God for everything and we thank God particularly for President Buhari who has chosen to identify with all former Presidents and Vice Presidents and is according them their due respect.

Just before we end this talk, what is Nigeria of Your Excellency’s dream?

The Nigeria of my dream is Nigeria where every Nigerian will have  sense of belonging and will enjoy the good things made possible by good governance.

Are we currently moving along the path to achieving that dream?

Yes.   We are near it.   It will come soon.

 In a situation where some people are crying that things are hard?

When you cry that things are hard, what you should also  consider is, is there any measure being taken to ensure that things get better?   And I will say that with the positive attitude of President Muhammadu Buhari to

governance, there are measures being taken towards that and we are near that Nigeria of my dream.

What role is expected of Nigerians on a final note?

The role of Nigerians is to ensure they cooperate with the  government.   Many countries where things are better, the citizens play their own role.   Nigerians should be patient with the government and also play their own role by supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s programmes to ensure that together we get to the Nigeria of our dream.


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Posted by on Oct 2 2016. Filed under Headlines, Presidency, Sani Abacha (1993-98). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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