Retired General Oladipo Diya, former Chief of General Staff and second in command to Nigeria’s late maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha (rtd), has rebutted the allegation of tyranny against the regime.
Diya, who was recently granted state pardon, alongside others, by President Goodluck Jonathan for his alleged involvement in the 1997 coup-plotting against the Abacha regime, made the statement during a press conference he addressed in Lagos.
He said the military junta could not be said to be tyrannical, because “the regime of General Sani Abacha assembled one of the best cabinets ever in the country. Tell me anybody that was a gentleman that did not serve in the government”, he quipped.
He added that the regime was not “wicked and oppressive”. Diya’s avowal however contradicted his stance that he was framed in the “phantom coup” because of his “principled opposition to the forces of tyranny in Nigeria”.
He expressed gratitude to the President for using his good office to exonerate him finally from what he described as a diabolical and unjust treatment meted to him.
Moreover, he pleaded that the gesture should be extended to other people said to have participated in “the phantom coups of 1995 and 1997″.
On this score, he equally advocated the implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Justice Chukwudifu Oputa panel to serve the cause of justice against those he served were roped into the coup-plotting saga because of him.
He stated that unlike the clemency delivered to him and his alleged co-conspirators by General Abdulsalami Abubakar in 1999, the presidential pardon would guarantee an opportunity to enjoy the benefits due him as a retired “Chief of Defence Staff”. [VN]