Donaldson Oladipo Diya was a Nigerian general who served as Chief of the General Staff, under military head of state General Sani Abacha from 1994 until his arrest for treason in 1997. He previously served as Chief of Defence Staff and was Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985.
Former Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen Oladipo Diya (rtd), died in the early hours of Sunday.
Diya, who was Chief of General Staff under the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, was aged 78.
His death was announced in a statement by his son, Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on Sunday morning.
The statement read: “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; We announce the passing on to Glory of our dear Husband,Father, Grandfather, brother, Lt- General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd) GCON, LLB, BL, PSC, FSS, mni.
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.”
The former Chief of General Staff was born on April 3, 1944 at Odogbolu in Ogun State.
Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.
He was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1993 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994. As Chief of the General Staff, he was second in command and the de facto vice president of Nigeria under Abacha from 1994.
Diya lost his wife, Folashade, in May of 2020.
He later attended the United States Army School of Infantry, the Command and Staff College, Jaji 1980 to 1981) and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.
He was the Sole Administrator/Military Governor of Ogun State from January 1984 to August 1985, during the military regime of Muhammadu Buhari.
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 emerged as the deputy military president to Abacha from 1993 to 1997.
His office as the second-in-command was truncated when he was arrested and accused of treason for allegedly plotting a coup against his principal, Abacha.
On 21 December 1997, Abacha accused and arrested him and other top military officials including Maj-Gen Tajudeen Olanrewaju, and Maj-Gen Abdulkarim Adisa, among others.
Prior to his arrest, Diya had cheated death by allegedly missing a bomb explosion at Abuja International Airport.
In 1997 Diya and his colleagues were tried in a military tribunal and initially sentenced to death, but later commuted to a 25-year jail term.