Vice President Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo,on behalf of the federal government has commiserated with the family friends and well wishers of the former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mike Akhigbe whose sad demise occurred yesterday in New York
The statement by Umar Sani, the vice president’s spokesman said “Admiral Mike Akhigbe has served this nation selflessly. He was Governor, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of General Staff to the Military Administration that ensured the smooth transition from Military to a democratically elected government.
“He was a disciplined military officer who rose to the peak of his profession by dint of hard work and commitment. As a statesman, his invaluable counsel will be greatly missed by us. Indeed His loss is a sad and great loss to the country.
“The Vice President prays for the repose of the soul of the deceased and for God Almighty to the give the family the courage and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Also ,Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has described the death of Vice Admiral Mike Okhai Akhigbe, one-time Chief of General Staff and Vice President of Nigeria, as a great loss to the state and country.
The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria said “it is with a sad heart that I mourn the death of Vice Admiral Akhigbe, an elder statesman, a pan-Nigeria nationalist, a man of uncommon qualities and an illustrious son of Edo State.
“Vice Admiral Akhigbe’s track records as former military Governor of Lagos and old Ondo states, as Chief of Naval Staff and Chief of General Staff are indelible. He no doubt discharged his duties creditably and left huge imprints in the sands of time.
In Edo State, Admiral Akhigbe was a pillar of support as he had cause to disagree with his political party at several times while championing a good cause for the state.
Vice Admiral Akhigbe, no doubt, had lived his life to the fullest and made indelible mark both as a disciplined military officer and as an administrator. “His death has no doubt robbed Edo state and Nigeria of one of her brightest minds.
“We feel even more pained that death robbed us of Vice Admiral Akhigbe at this time while we still mourn the passage of another illustrious son of the state, Prof Omo Omoruyi. However, as we mourn, we take solace that he contributed his best and gave his all to the state and the country; for these, the people and Government of Edo State are grateful and proud.
I pray God to grant the soul of the departed Vice Admiral peaceful eternal rest in His bosom and grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
In his condolence message ,President of the Senate, Senator David Mark,mourned the death of Vice Admiral Mike Akhigbe describing his death as the loss of a brother, confidant, friend and comrade-at-arms.
Senator Mark, who was overwhelmed by emotions, recalled their days at the Nigerian Defence Academy noting that “Mike was fearless and very diligent in our course.
“He took these attributes to all the formations where he was privileged to have been posted either in his core military postings or political offices.
“He was one of the poster boys of our Course 3 and we were all very proud of him. His death is a huge personal loss to me, the members of Course 3, the Armed Forces, Edo State and the nation.
“But we can not question God. He alone gives life and takes it when he so desires. We are bound by his decision to take our brother and friend at this time.
Senator Mark, who is the Chairman of Course 3 Alumni of the Nigerian Defence Academy, said: “We are however consoled that while Mike was with us, he lived his life in the service of God and mankind. May the Lord grant all of us the fortitude to bear this very painful departure.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has also described the death of the former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Mike Akhigbe, as another colossal loss to Nigeria at a point the country had needed his private counsel to deal with its current challenges.
Atiku Abubakar took over as Vice President from Akhigbe, who as Chief of General Staff was second in command to General Abdulsalami Abubakar played a key role in that regime’s programme for return to democratic rule in 1999.
Reacting to Akhigbe’s death in a statement by his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President recalled that Akhigbe’s remarkable contributions to Nigeria’s transition from military to civil rule, which lasted nine months, could not be easily forgotten.
According to him, the late Akhigbe was part of the team that contributed to the successful and faithful transfer of power to civilians on 29th May, 1999.
In Atiku’s words, “even from a distance, the late Chief of Naval Staff would come across as a cultivated gentleman. He was a broadminded and patriotic officer par excellence.”
Atiku Abubakar prayed to God to grant his family the fortitude to bear the great loss.