Nigeria’s former number two citizen, Oladipo Diya, has said he would never seek elective office.
Mr. Diya, who was deputy to late military dictator, Sani Abacha, stated this on Saturday at the General Oladipo Diya Public Speaking Competition for Schools in Ogun State.
The retired general explained that he considered himself too old to play active politics, and so he would play the role of an elder statesman.
“Everybody is a politician,” he said. “It is either you are quiet and you are not a participant in politics. But there is no human being that is completely out of politics. All you do is that you remain at the background, you sit and watch and that’s all.”
“Now, I’m a grown up person. I prefer to remain in backseat and watch events from the side line. When it needs correction or need for you to voice out completely, you say it.”
Mr. Diya was accused by the Abacha government of leading a military coup to topple his boss. He was subsequently sentenced to death by a military court. He was awaiting death, when Mr. Abacha died in June 1998.
While asked about his relationship with late Mr. Abacha, Mr. Diya said he had forgiven his former boss.
“First and foremost we have to realize that we are either Christians or Muslims. $ What is important now is today and the future.
“Today, I’m grateful to God because I retired as Lieutenant General, how many people can rise to the position of Lt General, to the rank of being a former Vice President, or being the former successful governor. I give glory to God and I will continue to thank my creator.”
On his assessment of the Buhari administration, Mr. Diya said the present federal government should be allowed time to implement its programmes.
“Everybody should be patient, this government is new, not even up to a year and they are using four years. So let us be patient and anything we have to say, let us find a way to say it quietly and responsibly. That is the purpose of governance.”
Speaking on his educational programme in Ogun, Mr. Diya who was a military governor of the state explained that “if there is anything, we can now contribute to the progress of education in Ogun State. Let us do whatever we can do to improve the standard of education.
“We just believe that public speaking is an important aspect of education especially in Ogun State and Nigeria generally.”
On the standard of education in Nigeria, he said “nobody says he is happy, even the Minister of Education knows that we have to do a lot to improve the standard of education.
“When I was there, the standard even at that time needed improvement and we all acknowledged it. Even now ,the standard needs improvement. If you ask anybody now, those who finish secondary that have credit in English or Mathematics you will count them by your fingers, so that is the basis of education.”
“If somebody finishes secondary school and his English is poor and his Mathematics is also poor, right from the word ‘go’, where they can go is already limited; because without Mathematics and English, you are limited and it’s not good enough.”
When asked to react to the ongoing controversial arms deal where money meant for the purchase of arms was allegedly diverted, the former military brass said those who have the details are already doing something about it.
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