Edo State Declares 7-day Mourning In Honour Of Ogbemudia
The former governor of defunct Midwest and Bendel State (now Edo and Delta states), Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia is dead.He died in the early hours of Friday
Ogbemudia died Thursday mid-night in Lagos after a prolonged illness. He would have been 85 in September. Ogbemudia who was born September 17, 1932, was first, Military Governor (1968-1975) of the Mid-West State, and civilian governor of Bendel State from October 1983 to December 31, 1983 when the military led by Major-Gen Muhammadu Buhari swept them out of power.
The last public engagement of the octogenarian soldier turned politician was in November last year when he was honored by the first set of graduates of University of Benin, an institution, he established. Confirming the sad incident yesterday, eldest son of the deceased, Samuel Ogbemudia Junior., described his late father as a great man, who would be greatly missed.
Ogbemudia junior who spoke with journalists at his father’s country home on Iheya Street, Benin City, confirmed that his daddy passed on in a hospital in Lagos, shortly before midnight on Thursday, adding that the family was still meeting on the next line of action. “He was a wonderful man, unique and I think we learnt so much from him. I am going to miss him. Many people, his children, both biological and surrogate, are going to miss him.”
Edo State Government has declared a seven-day mourning commencing from yesterday as a mark of honour for Ogbemudia. Governor Godwin Obaseki who made the declaration, described late Ogbemudia as a fine military officer who liberated the Mid-West region during the Civil War.
According to Obaseki, “Under Dr. Ogbemudia, Bendel became a leading state in education, sports and industry. As two-time governor of Bendel, comprising present-day Edo and Delta states, he will be fondly remembered for the strong foundation he laid for the infrastructural, social and economic development of both states.”
He also listed his several other milestones to include the Mid-west Institute of Technology, which is now the University of Benin. “As we mourn our great leader and father, we take solace in the legacies he bequeathed Edo State and indeed Nigeria. As a mark of honour, I hereby declare 7 days of mourning commencing from today. May the soul of General (Dr.) Samuel Ogbemudia rest in peace,” Obaseki stated.
“Ogbemudia was the governor’s Governor”, said Dr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, former Minister of State for Works/former Group Executive Director, NNPC. He added that the late Ogbemudia lived a wonderful life worthy of emulation by all.
“Ogbemudia was a detribalized governor of Midwest; he touched all the nook and cranny of old Bendel. Today, look round Edo and Delta States; his legacies are visible. His ingenuity and creativity stand him out as an outstanding true leader and a father figure that wanted the best for Edo State.”
According to him, Ogbemudia’s humble life style stood him out unlike other public office holders who looted the treasury for personal aggrandizement.
Imansuagbon said: “His death was a great loss; he has left a big vacuum. He was the beckon of good governance. He lived moderately and worked for the people without media hype. He was sincere. May his soul rest in peace.”
The immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan said the news of the death of Ogbemudia came to him with a deep sense of loss and gratitude to God for a life well-lived in the service of his fatherland, his state, and humanity.
Uduaghan said: “He was a towering figure, and truly an elder statesman – full of wisdom, selfless, and passionately committed to the development of not just the defunct Midwest and Bendel States, but indeed Nigeria given the role he played during the civil war and the positions he held thereafter as governor, minister of labour and productivity, chairman of the national sports commission, and until his death, chairman of the governing council of the University of Abuja”.
The former Delta State governor noted that as two-time governor, military and civilian, Ogbemudia left a giant and indelible foot print in the sands of time for which posterity will always remember him, adding that future generation of leaders have a lot to emulate from his stewardship especially his robust vision, exemplary leadership and zeal to deliver good governance to the people.