Obi, Uduaghan mourn Akhigbe

Posted by News Express | 30 October 2013 | 3,675 times

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Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi, has described the death of Admiral Mike Akhigbe as a sad surprise even as Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, described the late former Chief of General Staff (CGS) 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.

Taking a philosophical view of the development, Obi said the cold facts about death are that it comes when we hardly expect it and it is irreversible.

“I’m saddened by the loss of a fellow Nigerian, someone who was a patriot and a statesman, qualities that the nation is direly in need of. But it has happened. There’s nothing we can do to turn back the hand of the clock. I sincerely commiserate with his family, the Government and people of Edo State and the nation at large.”

Obi noted that Admiral Akhigbe was assured of not just a space in the history of Nigeria but more importantly of favourable mention for the role he played in the transition to the fourth republic. He pointed out that as the CGS at the time, Akhigbe literally had the role of a midwife in the transition process and Nigerians are agreed he discharged that responsibility well.

Governor Obi said it was regrettable that death came when Akhigbe could have availed the nation of his experience. Obi observed that given his antecedents and love for the country, the deceased would have been a welcome facilitator in the ongoing preparations for a national conference.

Concluding, he said the lesson in every death was a wake up call on the living to do their best while they still had the time. He called on Nigerians as they mourned the death of Akhigbe to strive to build a great nation.

On his part, Delta Governor Uduaghan further 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 office, 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,” Uduaghan said.

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.

•Photo shows the late Admiral Akhigbe.

Source: News Express

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