HOW TO TACKLE SUICIDE BOMBING - DIYA
General Oladipo Diya, former Chief of General Staff to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, is now committed to the cause of the Yoruba race. He always attends the bi-monthly meeting of Yoruba Unity.
After one of the recent meetings of the group, Diya explained the frustration of many Yoruba with a popular Yoruba group, like Afenifere, which associates with political parties. To him, those that want the interest of Nigeria and the Yoruba race should put off their political shoes and attend the pan-Yoruba meeting to discuss Yoruba problems. He warned political office holders that shunned the invitation to the meeting that the power they wield is temporary because they would soon become former office holders, like some of the personalities at the meeting.
He spoke on the problem of insecurity confronting Nigeria and described it as a temporary issue. In his view, the tackling of suicide bombers demands a new approach by security agencies. According to him, the military teaches how to fight known enemies and to pursue the enemy until he surrenders. The army, he said, never envisaged a situation in which the enemy would be prepared to die to kill you.
'The only thing is that if a challenge now takes a form that you don't expect, when it gets to a stage when people want to kill you and also ready to die, it is new, completely new. It is a new phenomenon. But then, it has come and it has to be faced,' he said.
How was the pan-Yoruba meeting you attended?
I think it went very well. I think the meeting is on the right course. You can see the calibre of people that attended the meeting. The proposal on the way forward was a good one and it has already been adopted by the conference.
Why were political office holders not here?
We won't say because they are not here, therefore, the meeting is not successful. One day, they will also be like many of us here. They will be former this and that. So, it is a temporary position. The conference is not going to stop talking to them. Maybe there are areas that are not clear to them. Or, there are areas they don't understand. By the time they are more educated, they will know that it is in their own interest to join us.
How committed are you to the Yoruba cause?
How committed am I? I attend the meeting. I travelled from my place, in Odogbolu, to attend the meeting at Ikenne and from Ikenne I go back to Odogbolu and to Lagos. Any time there is a meeting and I am duly invited, I will attend.
What do you say to the insecurity in the country?
Insecurity is a temporary issue. It is a phase of our history. It is a challenge. There is no challenge that is beyond solution. We are facing it and I am sure those that are in government are doing everything within their power to ensure that we have the situation under their grip and control.
Did you have the insecurity experience during your time in government?
We may not have had Boko Haram, but we had Maitasine. We had challenges that we faced. A challenge must face a country. There is no country that is beyond challenges. The only thing is that if a challenge now takes a form that you don't expect, when it gets to a stage when people want to kill you and ready to die, it's new, completely new. It is a new phenomenon. But then, it has come and it has to be faced.
With your experience in governance, how do you expect government to tackle this challenge?
Look, people are developing theories everyday. People develop tactics. In the military, there was nothing like suicide enemy. You are taught to plan a war. In planning, when you attack an enemy, he runs. You pursue him. One of the principles of war is maintenance of momentum. You run after the enemy until he surrenders. We are not taught that a suicide-minded person, who is ready to die, arms himself with all sorts of weapons; it is not part of the tactics. But it has come now. I am sure that those that are in charge are already thinking of the tactics now to face this new development.
How do you rate President Jonathan administration, moreso when your people are complaining that they have been schemed out?
The president is there at the top. When things happen, you bring them to his notice. He is the president of the country and he means well for everybody. Nobody would be president and will say he wants to isolate a particular group of people. What are you going to gain out of that? Moreover, the Yoruba voted massively for President Jonathan. So, if anything occurs, it could be a mistake and it is part of the job of this Yoruba meeting to draw his attention to some of these lapses. At any given opportunity, it would be rectified.
One of the comments made at the meeting was that politicians should remove their political shoes and come here to discuss Yoruba problems. Do you think it is possible?
It has always been the problem many of us had with Afenifere. Afenifere should divorce itself completely from politics. The important thing is to be a good Yoruba man, a good Awoist and a good Nigerian. It doesn't really matter, which political party you are in. We are here now and ACN is here; CPC is here; ANPP is here. People who are not in any political party like me are here. What we are talking about now is how Nigeria would move forward and the betterment of the Yoruba in the committee of the community of nations.
Would it not be better if General Diya spearheads this school of thought by going into partisan politics?
Every human being is in politics. We are not just in partisan politics. I want to know who is going to be the chairman of my local government. I want to know who is going to be my governor and I want to know who is going to be my senator. I just want the best of all the contestants to be here. Nobody will say he is not in politics. We are only saying, when you come here; remove your toga of partisan politics. Then, think of Nigeria and Yoruba race.
Do Nigerians expect General Diya to be a politician, who will contest election in future?
No. No. No. The time for that is over for me. I played my part. I played it well and I am satisfied.