John Akhigbe (1933-2018): People’s evangelist
Evangelist John Ighalo Clarus Akhigbe (JP), who died recently, was born in 1933 to Pa Samuel Ilenkponria Akhigbe and Madam Sarah Ibhazogbonre Akhigbe of Idumegbede, Iruekpen-Ekpoma in Esan West Local Council Area of Edo State.
He lived in Ebute, Ekpoma with his grandmother, where he had his primary education at St. Paul’s Primary School Iruekpen.
He obtained his Standard Six School Leaving Certificate in 1951 and went into the teaching profession immediately.
His first place of assignment was Ubaija Modern School, Ubiaja, Esan North East. He was later transferred to Igara in the northern part of Edo State, where he taught for sometime, before he was transferred back to Iruekpen Modern School in Esan West.
After spending sometime in Iruekpen, he was again transferred to Evboneka Modern School in NIFOR near Benin City.
As a teacher, J.I.C. Akhigbe made great effort to further his education. He was admitted into the University of Ibadan to study in the Faculty of Arts.
This dream was caught short, due to his father’s inability to afford the cost, having been training his brother in the university in England.
He, therefore, studied for the Cambridge O and A level examinations on his own. His success in the examinations enabled him to join the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on July 1, 1966.
As a CBN employee, his first place of assignment was the Benin City branch, where he worked for about seven years before he was transferred to Lagos.
In Lagos, he worked in various departments including personnel, currency control, where he was seconded to the Nigerian Printing and Minting Company as a CBN representative. He was eventually transferred back to Benin branch, where he worked till he retired as a senior manager on December 14, 1987.
After his retirement from government work, he worked in the private sector for a few more years. He worked in Fiogreat Fishing Company, Warri, Delta State and Zeek Company Ltd, Benin City. He finally retired in 1997 and became fully engaged in evangelistic and humanitarian services.
He was an epitome of love and kindness. He was so jovial and full of life. He showed people so much love and care, that his close friends called him “J.I.C BABA KE”. His colleagues in the banking industry called him ‘The People’s Manager.’
He never discriminated against anyone and his house was always open to everyone for advice and any needed assistance.