Eulogies as Samuel Ogbemudia is buried
It was a gathering of dignitaries in the country yesterday as the remains of former military and later civilian governor old Midwest and Bendel State, Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia were laid to rest in his Ihieya residence after a commendation service at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin-City, Edo State.
Among those that graced the burial were former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, 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 Uduaghan and 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 of Assembly, Zakawanu Garuba, his successor, Bright Omokhodion, retired Justice of Supreme Court, Justice Samson Uwaifo, Ayiri Emami, palace chiefs and students.
In his homily, Bishop Oyenude Kure of the Evidence of the Gospel Church described Ogbemudia as a man who imparted on Edo State.
“You imparted on Bendel State, you imparted on Midwest State, you imparted on our nation, your work cannot be dwarfed not even by your most formidable enemy and you will be remembered for your good work. Ogbemudia is a lover of his people. He was a phenomenon, an icon, a colossus, an enigma,” he said.
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 admitted, for the care given him before he was transferred to Lagoon Hospital Lagos where he died.
Gowon described Ogbemudia as his friend and brother “Between 1967 when he was appointed as Governor of then Midwest Region by my government and 1975 when we were both sent out of office alongside our other colleagues. Sam exhibited good leadership qualities. 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. The old Midwest and old Bendel State bore his imprint of service; little wonder several major landmarks bear his name including this stadium. In word and indeed, he exemplified the concept of exemplary service to the people in my government.
He was also one of the most vilified.’’
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who was 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. “But it is as the military governor of the defunct Mid-West State that Dr. Ogbemudia shot into national limelight with his towering achievements. Under him, Midwest, later renamed Bendel, became the model for other states to follow.’’
Speaking on behalf of former governors of the states, national chairman of APC, Chief 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.
“For those of you who travel, because of what he has done, you will find a replica of the Ogbemudia stadium in several places, you will find a replica of the Nigerian Observer building in many places. I was a very proud civil servant at the time because Ogbemudia was governor of Bendel State.”
Ogbemudia’s body was brought to the stadium in full military regalia and displayed before sympathisers while a special parade by army personnel was performed to accord him honour.