Edo cried yesterday as two prominent sons of the state, the former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Mike Okhai Akhigbe and former Director General of the Center for Democratic Studies (CDS), Prof.Omo Omoruyi began their journey to mother earth.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole, his deputy, Dr Pius Odubu and several Naval officers received the corpse of Admiral Akhigbe, at the Benin Airport, at 11:45am aboard a Nigerian Airforce plane with registration number NAF-031.
Commendation service for late Prof Omoruyi, held at the Akin Deko Main Auditorium, University of Benin, followed by a funeral service at the Central Baptist Church, Benin City.
The late Political Scientist was later interned at his 18, Oza Street, family home. Omoruyi had requested in his book, “My Journey back to life” that he should be buried in Oza street where his family house is located.
Late Admiral Akhigbe’s corpse was also moved to the Edo state Government House Benin City where it was laid in state for about an hour.
In his tribute, Oshiomhole said Akhigbe made it possible for people like him to ascend to become President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and later governor of Edo state, through the removal of obnoxious extant laws, adding that the late Admiral gave his all to Nigeria.
“Anyone who had the opportunity to interact with our late brother closely, will know that he will live forever wherever he is today. The story of my journey to Edo state Government will not be complete if not for the contribution of this truthful man, a complete gentleman. Admiral Akhigbe during while he was Chief of General Staff during the administration of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, repealed the decrees which forbid people like us then from contesting the position of the NLC President.
“They repealed those decrees and that was how I was now legible to contest as President of the NLC. If I did not become the President of the NLC, may be I would have remained a stranger in Edo state. He did not do that because we came from the same area but because that administration respected human rights, and it was the freedom they created that led to the democracy we started enjoying in 1999.
“So if a man has made these contributions to our great nation, what else do we ask from God to give him. Yes as human beings we will miss him, we are grieved but we must not fail to thank God for what he has used him to achieve for our nation and out state in particular. Our brother stood by the truth always, he had the courage to speak the truth even to his senior colleagues. And I am particularly happy that throughout his time in the service, he was never associated with any scandal, that will tell you a gentleman that he was. Even as we mourn, we know that our brother is in heaven with our Lord”.
Shortly after the lying in state at Government House, the body of the late Admiral was taken through a motorcade to his ancestral home in Fugar, Etsako Central Local Government Council of Edo state, where he will be buried today (Saturday).