Former Chief of Army Staff, General Oladipo Diya (rtd), in a statement yesterday to mark his 77th birthday, expressed optimism that despite teething challenges, the Nigerian nation would still overcome.
Diya who was sacked and detained by Abacha for allegedly plotting to overthrow his administration in what was widely famed as phantom coup, said 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.
“I agree that there has always been one misunderstanding or the other, for a long time, but what we are witnessing in 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,” Diya admonished.
He said, “Many actors have made their positions known” and that “a lot more have pointed accusing fingers, but noted that “we have turned the table and changed the narratives, just to suit our positions.”
He, however, appealed for ceasefire in the accusations and counter-accusations concerning Nigeria’s security and other challenges.
“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,” he opined.
Waxing philosophical, General Diya said, “Sociologists have always warned us that the rumours of war always justify armament. Armament itself heightens the possibility of war’.
He cautioned: “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.”
He also appealed that security matters should not be toyed with on the altar of politicking.
“Hate speech, fake news, and 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,” he stressed.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari “for his brave, strategic and fearless leadership.”
“Through a dint of hardwork, the government had recovered numerous territories hitherto occupied by the insurgents. I commend His Excellency, Vice President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo (SAN)…, the Armed Forces, the Police and all well-meaning Nigerians for their gallant efforts,” he further said.
He said more work needed to be done by the government to solve the perennial problem of banditry, farmer-herder crisis and all forms of terrorism in the land. “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 organisers to keep improving the delivery process, in order to vaccinate more Nigerians,” Diya appealed.