By Osemwengie Ben Ogbemudia, Benin
It was a gathering of who is who across the country as the remains of former governor old Midwest and Bendel, Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia, was laid to rest in his Ihieya residence after a commendation service at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Leading the dignitaries was former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Philip Shaibu, former governors of Edo and Delta states; Chief John Oyegun, Lucky Igbinedion, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Emmanuel Iduaghan, Speaker of Edo state house of assembly, Justin Okonobo.
Others were Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tom Ikimi, Senators Shola Adeyeye, Francis Alimekhena and Matthew Uroghide.
Former Deputy Governors, Peter Obadan, Lucky Imasuen and Pius Odubu and his wife, Chief of Staff to Obaseki, Taiwo Akerele, Elder statesman Chief Edwin Clarke, state chairman of All Progressives Congress Edo State, Anselm Ojezua, Speaker Delta assembly Monday Igbuya, Deputy Governor Delta state, Kingsley Otuaro, former Speaker Edo State House fo Assembly, Zakawanu Garuba, his successor, Bright Omokhodion, retired Justice of Supreme Court, Justice Samson Uwaifo, Ayiri Emami, palace chiefs and thousands of students and public from across the state including the clergy.
Bishop Oyenude Kure of the Evidence of the Gospel Church described Ogbemudia as a man who imparted on Edo state. He was a phenomenon, an icon, a colossus, an enigma.
The state governor, Godwin Obaseki urged the people not to forget the family of Ogbemudia as he pledged continuous state government support for the family.
He commended the management of University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) where Ogbemudia was first taken for the care given him before he was transferred to Lagoon Hospital Lagos where he died.
Gowon described Ogbemudia as his friend and brother.
“He did well in office and his legacies still speak well for him today in whatever area of life that he touched; sports, culture, agriculture, transportation, industry, just name it,” he said.
According to him, the late Ogbemudia contributed to the process of his settling down in the UK after the overthrow of their military government.
“Without a home to call my own, I was rescued by my late friend, Emmanuel Oti who gave me his London house to live without paying rent for about two years. Oti and Sam went further to buy several items furnishing for the house. “
Comforting others, the ex-general said soldiers never die. “Ogbmudia just move to another barracks.”
Delta Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by his deputy, Kingsley Otauro, said history would remember Ogbemudia for the courageous role he played to preserve the unity of the country during the political crisis of 1966 that culminated in the civil war of 1967 to 1970.
“He was truly an officer and a gentleman; he left behind an endearing legacy of good governance and selfless leadership that continue to inspire the generation after him.”
Speaking on behalf of former governors of the states, national chairman of the APC, John Odigie Oyegun said he was a proud civil servant because Ogbemudia was governor of Bendel state; and that when it was time to choose a slogan for Edo state, it was not difficult to make Edo the “heart beat of the nation” because of what Ogbemudia has done.