Sunday 8 January 2023


It was Gen. Oladipo Diya's birthday at his Ikeja GRA residence.

There were only a handful of folks in the house. The atmosphere was sober and somehow quiet. The adjoining streets around his house were deserted.

Gen Diya sat on a chair in the corner of the sitting room with his gaze fixed on the adjacent wall in sobriety. His mien was difficult to decipher. He shook the hands of the few well wishers, smiled and responded to their felicitations.

An inquisitive young journalist sneaked up to the General.

"Good evening sir. My name is Rasheed. I am a journalist. I have covered your birthdays for our Newspaper for the last few years.

Today, my Editor did not send me. I came on my own" the young man introduced himself.

The General's face lit up with a smile. He stood up, shook the hands of the young man and genuinely welcomed him.

"Those years when I covered your birthdays, it was not easy to get close to you, not to talk of interviewing you.

To take a photo of you was extremely challenging. Journalists swarmed the whole place like bees. All the Streets around your house would be filled with cars, and inside of the house would be jam packed with people who came to rejoice with you on your birthday.

But today, there are only few cars on your street and less than 15 people in your house. Yet today is your birthday. What do you have to say?" the journalist asked.

Gen. Oladipo Diya wiped the smile from his face and looked intently at the young man. He put an arm on the journalist's shoulder and solemnly said:

"Well my young friend. I called you "friend" because you are my friend for you to be here today.

You see those hundreds of people who thronged my house on my birthday and blocked my street with their cars was when I was the Chief of General Staff?

Those were the friends of the Chief of General Staff. The very few people you are seeing here today are the friends of Oladipo Diya.

Oladipo Diya and the Chief of General Staff used to be the same person then. Today, they are two different people. Most people associate with us because of our position and what they can get from us. Don't ever forget that".

The General spoke the reality of life in those short sentences.

If we know this, we will know peace. .... (A reflection of an unconventional mind)

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