Former Chief of General Staff Oladipo Diya has called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to work harder to solve the nation’s security challenges.
Mr Diya, who was the de facto second-in-command to the late military dictator, Sani Abacha, stated this on Friday, in a statement written to celebrate his 77th birthday.
The retired general explained that there is a need for the government to arrest all forms of insecurity rocking the nation to ensure unity and peace.
“As mortals, we must celebrate every day as it comes. However, by the special grace of God and some divine arrangement, I am alive and in good health to celebrate my 77th birthday. I give all glory, honour and adoration to the Almighty God,” Mr Diya wrote in the statement he titled ‘A Clarion Call for Peace in a Nation in Dire Need of Unity.’
“This special day also affords me an opportunity to reflect and attempt to proffer a solution on the state of our dear nation, Nigeria. There is no gainsaying that we all need to come together to confront our common enemy – war and its apostles – so that we can rise together as one.
“Nigeria is a uniquely blessed nation. God has bequeathed on us a large vibrant population; a vast land filled graciously with milk and honey. North, East, South or West, everywhere you turn, there is a mineral resource that will remind you that God loves us.”
Mr Diya said the country’s natural resources are turning citizens against themselves and “what we are witnessing in the recent past is alarming. It is taking a dangerous turn. The signs are ominous. We seem to have forgotten that, fundamentally, we are brothers and sisters from one source, in one nation with a common destiny. Let us pursue peace and eschew violence at all costs, by all means.
“Many actors have made their positions known. A lot more have pointed accusing fingers. We have turned the table and changed the narratives, just to suit our positions. One thing is certain, we cannot continue like this. Enough is enough. Let us cease the practice of name-calling. There is no part of the nation that does not have its inherent security challenges. Hence, the first solution is to look inwards. Let us do a soul searching.”
The retired General noted that while Mr Buhari’s leadership had recovered numerous territories hitherto occupied by insurgents, more work is needed to be done.
“More work however needs to be done by the government to solve the perennial problem of banditry, farmer-herder crisis and all forms of terrorism in the land,” he said.
“The arrival of the COVID vaccine is a welcoming relief. I have taken my jab, without any side effects. I took the vaccine, ate then slept like a baby. I urge the organizers to keep improving the delivery process, in order to vaccinate more Nigerians.
“Sociologists have always warned us that ‘the rumours of war always justifies armament. Armament itself heightens the possibility of war. We must avoid a repeat of mistakes of the past. Peace is all we need. The Political Class must play by the rules and observe the thin line that separates Politics from Governance.
“Security matters should not be toyed with on the altar of politicking. Hate speech, fake news, as well as inciting ethnic-religious acts should be completely eradicated. I have fought many wars in my life. I have been out there all my life. I know the feel, the smell, the agony and the long time implications of wars. After a war, there must still be a dialogue, so it is better to dialogue and talk our way out of the problems.”
Mr Diya is one of the former leaders that ruled Nigeria in the military days. He was accused by the Abacha government of leading a military coup to topple the head of state and was subsequently sentenced to death by a military court.
He was awaiting death, when Mr Abacha died in June 1998.
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