Ebitu Ukiwe was born on 26 October 1940. He is the son of Chief Ebitu Ukiwe, a traditional ruler in Abiriba in present day in Abia State and Head of the Old Bende Division Local Government Appeal Court of Abiriba.
is a retired Commodore in the Nigerian Navy who served as the de facto Vice President of Nigeria under military head of state General Ibrahim Babangida from 1985 to 1986.
He joined the Nigerian Navy in 1960 as a cadet officer. He was commissioned Sub-Lieutenant in 1966.
In 1966, he defected into Nigerian Army.
When the civil war broke out, he fought on the Biafran side in 1967 – 1970.
He was one of the few Igbo officers to be readmitted to Navy in 1972.
He was a member of the Supreme Military Council 1975 – 1977.
He served as Governor of Niger State December 1977 – July 1978.
He served as Governor of Lagos State July 1978 – October 1979.
He served as Vice President from 1985 – 1986.
Under Buhari’s government of 1983 – 1985, he remained also in the Supreme Military Council while he served as Flag Officer, Western Naval Command.
He was the Director Naval Faculty, Jaji 1981 – 1984.
In 1985, after the military coup that brought General Ibrahim Babangida to power as military head of state, he appointed Ebitu Ukiwe as Chief of General Staff and his second-in-command.
He opposed Babangida’s decision to join the country into the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
He resigned instead of taking part in that Organization of Islamic Cooperation. This shocked Babangida who thought he could beg for the position. He didn’t. Till tomorrow, Babangida respects him because he’s a highly principled man with dignity.
He was the first Chief of General Staff to resign honourably because he couldn’t give in to intimidation neither could he compromise his dignity and belief.
He joined politics and supported Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, the President-elect in the June 1993 elections, who was imprisoned after General Sani Abacha took power in a coup in November 1993.
Because of his support for MKO Abiola to recover his Presidential mandate, he was arrested and jailed by General Sani Abacha.
Ebitu Ukiwe later became the chairman of companies such as Bitu Properties, Kobimat, Bitu Promar and Rudocons.
He was adviser and consultant to Statoil, an offshore oil production company for 9 years.
He has a street named after him: Ebitu Ukiwe Street – One of the most famous streets in Jabi, Abuja is named after him.
In 2006 Ukiwe unsuccessfully ran to become People’s Democratic Party candidate for the presidency of Nigeria.