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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Passage Of The People’s General – By Chief Mike A. A. Ozekhome, SAN

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The death of Admiral Okhai Mike Akhigbe, GCON, hit me with the ferocious force of a ravaging tornado, nay hurricane. Why do the good, compassionate and masses- oriented people invariably die young?

 

Perhaps the only consolation is that the expectancy age in Nigeria is less than 50 years. One cannot therefore say Admiral Akhigbe died prematurely at sixty eight (68). Very suave, amiable, friendly, humble, sartorial dedicated and honest to a fault, Akhigbe was the quintessential gentleman, an officer’s officer, and a people’s General. He wore the Naval uniform, not for self aggrandizement, but to serve his country and humanity selflessly, a profession in which he distinguished himself up to the enviable rank of a General.

 

He not only commanded the Eastern Naval Command as a flag officer, the equivalent of a GOC, he also served as the Chief of Naval staff to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Perhaps, it is in the political realm that Admiral Akhigbe displayed his uncommon sagacity and managerial aficionado. He was made Governor of Ondo state while still in his 30’s, one of the youngest ever to have attained that feat.

 

His assiduity, competence and transformational inclination led to his being elevated as Governor of the very complex and highly cosmopolitan Lagos state.

 

Undoubtedly, his greatest contribution to National development is in the realm of governance at the Federal level, when he became Chief of General Staff (Vice President) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He, it was, who, with General Abdulsalami Abubakar, midwifed the democracy Nigeria is currently enjoying – in a record time of a nine (9) months!

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He had the opportunity with General Abubakar to cling to power like his predecessors, but chose to play the statesman and democrat that he was.

 

He shall never be forgotten in Nigeria. He will in Nigeria fondly be remembered as one of the fathers and Architects of modern Nigeria.

 

Adieu Admiral.

Adieu, my bossom friend, soulmate and elder brother.

Adieu the people’s General.

Rest in the bossom of the Lord. Amen.

 

CHIEF MIKE A. A. OZEKHOME, SAN,

Constitutional Lawyer and Human Rights Activist

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