It was a roll call of dignitaries and eminent personalities who came from all walks of life to the Odogbolu Ijebu home town of the late former Military Administrator of Ogun State, ex-Chief of Defence Staff, and former Chief of General Staff in Nigeria, the Asiwaju of Odogbolu, Lt. Gen. Donalson Oladipo Diya, to pay their last respect as his body was committed to mother earth.
Gen. Oladipo Diya died on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at the age of 78 years.
The Roving Pen correspondent reports that the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, former Governor Ibikunle Amosun, the Senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial District, Senator Shuaib Afolabi Salisu, and his Ogun West counterpart, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, as well as a former Deputy Governor of the State, Senator Gbenga Kaka, and former Ogun East Senator, Lekan Mustapha, among other dignitaries, attended the funeral service held at the Cathedral Church of St Paul, Anglican Communion, Odogbolu Ijebu, Ogun State.
In a sermon at the funeral service, the Bishop of Ijebu South West, The Rt. Revd. Babatunde Ogunbanwo, berated political figures and those at the helms of affairs for not serving the people according to the fear of God, saying many of them become arrogant and selfish once they get to power.
Rt. Revd Ogunbanwo noted that, “Many of these politicians amassed wealth and hid money everywhere, forgetting the fact that they are going to leave the office one day, and even leave the earth”, adding that if Nigerian leaders have the fear of God in their hearts, the country will not be “in a total mess that we find ourselves”.
He, therefore, commended late Gen Oladipo Diya for exhibiting the fear of God during his lifetime, adding that he genuinely and meritoriously served Nigeria and left behind “a heritage of honesty, dedication, commitment and a great service to this nation”.
The Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun had described the late Diya as a seasoned administrator, gentleman and officer who made contributions to the development of the security architecture of Nigeria.
Abiodun said, “He was courageous and daring, quick-witted and patriotic. Gen. Diya played frontline roles in the evolution and development of the state and his activities in the military, in part led to the eventual return and enthronement of democracy in the country In 1999.”
Also speaking in an interview with our correspondent, former Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, described late Gen. Oladipo Diya as an accomplished Army General and a qualified Legal Practitioner, who during his lifetime, served Ogun State and Nigeria selflessly and meritoriously.
Amosun said, “Lt. Gen. Oladipo Diya will be remembered for his sharp intellect and diligence which earned him diverse promotions and appointments in the Nigerian Army, including Platoon Commander, 6th Battalion, Ikeja; Commanding Officer, 101 Battalion; Deputy Adjutant-General; Director, Army Personnel Services; Commander, Nigerian Contingent in the UN Peace Keeping Operations and later Chief Military Personnel for the entire United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, among others”.
Gen. Donaldson Oladipo Diya was born on 3 April 1944 in Odogbolu, Ogun State. He had his primary education at Yaba Methodist Primary School, Lagos and Odogbolu Grammar School.
Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna and 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, Diya studied law at 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.
He was appointed Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985. He became General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigeria Army in 1985. Diya was Commandant, National War College (1991–1993) and then was appointed Chief of Defence Staff, among other appointments.