Augustus Aikhomu, a retired Admiral in the Nigerian Navy, who served as the de facto Vice President of Nigeria during the Ibrahim Babangida military junta from 1986 to 1993 died, yesterday evening at 72.
He passed away in his Apapa, Lagos residence after a prolonged sickness.
He hailed from Edo State in southern Nigeria. He died on August 17 while his former boss (General Babangida) marked his 70th birthday celebration.
Babangida in a reaction said he was jolted by the timing of the death of a “brother, a confidant and highly reliable and trusted Nigerian who gave me and the government we ran the fullest loyalty that anyone can show.”
His death was confirmed by his junior brother, Rear Admiral Joe Aikhomu, a serving officer in the Nigerian Navy.
Aikhomu rose to become the Chief of Naval Staff at the inception of the Gen. Muhammadu Buhari military regime in 1984. He continued in that position after the palace coup that ousted Buhari and positioned Babangida as Nigeria’s first Military President.
In 1986 he was lifted to the position of Chief of General Staff on the exit of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe from that government. As Chief of General Staff he was in direct conduct of the affairs of the States with the military Governors reporting through him to the then ruling military junta.
Aikhomu sailed out of the Navy in 1991 following the inception of diarchy by the Babangida administration during which period power was shared between the military and civilians at the state and federal levels.
He, however, remained in the administration as a Vice-President with direct influence in the running of the Federal Government and a liaison for the civilian state Governors. He finally bid farewell to public service in 1993 upon Babangida’s exit from power in August 1993 following the debacle that shadowed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election.
His sojourn in the ANPP was, however, relatively uneventful and in later years recoiled to the PDP where the majority of his associates had found a home.