Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan has described the late Admiral Mike Akhigbe as a courageous leader who always spoke truth to power even in the face of daunting challenges and at great risk to his personal life.
Uduaghan, in a statement by Felix Ofou, his press secretary also described the former number two citizen as a disciplinarian who lived a spartan life and insisted that the interest of the masses must be considered before critical national decisions are taken.
Notwithstanding his military background, the governor applauded Akhigbe’s pro-people initiatives, resulting among others in his joining hands with General Abdulsalami Abubakar to return Nigeria to civilian democracy in May, 1999 as well as helping to nurture it.
“Admiral Akhigbe was a fine naval officer, a gentleman and patriot who rose to the pinnacle of his career, including being appointed as the Chief of General Staff (CGS) or number two to General Abdulsalami Abubakar. And it is to their collective credit that Nigeria was returned to civilian democracy in May, 1999”, he noted.
Governor Uduaghan further recalled that Akhigbe, after leaving offices, joined forces with other patriots to nurture the country’s fragile democracy, opposing any suggestion for the military to return to power. “He joined partisan politics and was against the use of force or thuggery in winning elections.He was one of the ex-generals who admitted that military rule was an aberration and helped to stem its tide”
The Delta State chief executive said Admiral Akhigbe was a definite loss to the people of Edo State, the military and the nation at large, and prayed God to grant the family and all concerned, the fortitude to bear the loss.