Vice Admiral Okhai Mike Akhigbe (rtd), a former Chief of General Staff and Chief of Naval Staff is dead. The quintessential senior officer of Regular Course 3 of the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna died in his New York residence in the United States of America on 28 October 2013.
He was the second in command to former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar and contributed immensely to the enthronement of democracy in 1999. As the Chief of General Staff (Vice President equivalent), he participated in several executive sessions that made policies for national development.
Vice Admiral Okhai Michael was born into the family of His Royal Highness Chief Alemoh Onaighuma, the Ojieavianwu of Avianwu and Clan Head of Avianwu Clan, to prince Audu Akhigbe Alemoh and Mrs Awawu Inwaebo Akhigbe Alemoh at Fugar in the Etasako Central Local Government Area of Edo State on Sunday 29 September 1946.
After his primary and secondary education, he was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna 3rd Regular Officer Cadet Course in 1967 and completed his cadetship training at the Institution in 1969. Between 1969 and 1970, he was a Midshipman onboard NNS NIGERIA (now NNS OBUMA). He also attended Sub-Lieutenant Technical Course in India between 1970 – 1971, and specialist Course in Navigation and Direction at the Royal Naval School of Maritime Operation (HMS DRYAD, SOUTHWICK) United Kingdom in 1974.
From 1982 – 1983, Vice Admiral Akhigbe was at the Command and Staff College, Jaji (as a Course 5 participant) where he earned his psc.(Passed Staff Course) He was also a member of Senior Executive Course 11 at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru in 1989 where he obtained the prestigious mni (Member of the National Institute). He attended a Senior International Defence Management Course at the Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterey, California, USA in 1992. Vice Admiral Akhigbe, a seasoned sailor, also attended a number of courses and seminars in Europe and America.
He held various naval, extra naval and political appointments including Commanding Officer of seagoing ships such as NNS SIRI, NNS OBUMA and NNS SAPELE. At the political scene, he was appointed Military Governor of Ondo and Lagos States between Aug 1985 and Jul 1988. He also held various senior appointments at the Naval Headquarters and Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji. He was the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command Calabar between 1993 and 1994 from where he was appointed the Chief Naval Staff. In 1998, he was appointed the Chief of General Staff, an appointment he held till 29 May 1999 when the then military regime voluntarily handed over power to democratically elected Government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
In recognition of his meritorious service to the nation, Admiral Akhigbe was conferred with the prestigious national honour’s award of GRAND COMMANDER OF THE ORDER OF THE NIGER (GCON). He is survived by his wife, Dr (Mrs) Josephine Agboayemie Akhigbe (nee ALIU), children and several relations.