Edo State Government has declared a-7-day mourning period for the late former Governor of the state, Samuel Ogbemudia.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in a statement said he was deeply sad over demise of the former Military Administrator, however, his solace is in the fact that he left behind a huge legacy.
Ogbemudia who had been down in the last few months and was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), was later moved to Lagos on request by members of his family, where he died Thursday night.
Ogbemudia was a former Military administrator of old Midwestern State from September 1967–1975 and later elected civilian Governor in the shortlived 3rd Republic of 1983 under the platform of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
In a statement Obaseki said: “It is with sadness but glory to God Almighty that the Government of Edo State announces the death, in the early hours of today, of Brigadier General (rtd) Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia.
“Dr. Ogbemudia served as Military Governor of the Midwest State from 1967 to 1975 and Executive Governor of the old Bendel State from October 1983 to December 1983.
“He was also a former Minister of Labour and Productivity, former Chairman of Petroleum Products Monitoring Company, and Chairman Governing Council of the University of Abuja.
“A fine Military officer who helped to liberate the Mid-West region during the Civil War, under his administration, Bendel became a leading state in education, sports and industry.
“As two time Governor of Bendel, which comprised present-day Edo and Delta states, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia will be fondly remembered for the strong foundation that he laid to consolidate the infrastructural, social and economic development of both states.
“Amongst his several milestone achievements was 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.
In the same vein, immediate past Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, said the news of the death of Dr. Ogbemudia, came to him with mixed feelings of 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, while reacting to the demise of the former military/civilian Governor of the defunct Midwest Region and Bendel State, described him as a “a towering figure, and truly an elder statesman–full of wisdom, selflessness .
He described Ogbemudia as a 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.”
Dr. Uduaghan 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.
He said 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.
He said both in Edo and Delta States which made up the defunct Bendel State, Dr. Ogbemudia set a record of unparallel development which has served as a benchmark for governors who came after him.
He said in the areas of education, roads, health, communication, and other social infrastructure, Ogbemudia proved himself as “a leader with great foresight, and can-do spirit.”
He urged them to be comforted with the fact that he died a fulfilled man and achieved greatness by dint of hard work, honesty and selflessness in his service to his fatherland.
He also commiserated with the government and people of Edo and Delta States for this great loss, stating that Dr. Ogbemudia would be remembered for building a solid foundation for the development of the two states for subsequent leaders to build upon.
According to the former Delta State Governor, “Nigeria has lost an iconic leader, a patriot of uncommon breed, and hero of development, and father of modern day Edo and Delta States.”
He said his many encounters and interactions with the late Dr. Ogbemudia had greatly inspired him and he benefitted immensely from his humility, rich experiences, wise counsels, and encouragement as Governor of Delta State. He prayed for the repose of the soul of the departed elder statesman.
Former governor of Edo state, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, in a statement issued by his media aide, Mark Nkwoji, described Dr. Ogbemudia as an astute administrator and later, a politician of remarkable pedigree, whose advice and selfless service to Edo and indeed humanity will be greatly missed.
He recalled with fond memories the giant strides of the late statesman, describing him as the chief architect of the great developmental strides of the now Edo and Delta states, when he was Military Administrator of Midwest State.
Igbinedion prayed God to give the family of the late Dr Ogbemudia, Edo and Delta states and indeed all Nigerians the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. Dr Ogbemudia, he said, will be solely missed.
Also, former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rev. Peter Obadan, described the late Ogbemudia as an encyclopaedia of wisdom.
“We give thanks to God for the life he lived on earth, he left qualoities that ought to be emulated by politicians, forebears, he was a fearless man, a man that in his hey days actually did a lot for the Midwest region and his records are yet to be beaten and he affected everybody in the Midwest Region.
“He never discriminated and at a time, I had the opportunity of politically associating very closely with him and it was obvious to me that he was an encyclopaedia of wisdom and have very good knowledge of the political history of this country.
“We will miss him but his legacies are there and for years to come, he will be remembered even by children yet unborn, it is a painful loss but we give thanks,” Obadan said.
On his part, the Artistic Director of Afemai Heritage and Culture, Alhaji Usman Abudah, described the late Ogbemudia as a focused person.
He said: “He has done his best which was very good to all of us the old Bendel, I advise that our current political leaders should take a cue from him. I will not say it is big loss because everyman has his time to spend here on earth and thereafter goes to the beyond.”
The former Senator representing Edo North senatorial district, Domingo Obende, described the late Ogbemudia as governor of governors.
He said: “He was a Governor of Governors. He was a great foundational leader who saw everything good about Edo and Nigeria in his life time. We shall definitely miss him beyond measures. May God grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
Also, Edo State chapter of the Sickle Cell Club also described Ogbemudia as a great man. It would be recalled that Ogbemudia was the pioneer chairman of the Board of Sickle Cell in the state.
State President of the club, Gregory Aigbonoga, said in a statement: “He was the first Sickle Cell Treatment & Research Centre Board Chairman in 1994. We pray that Almighty GOD gives the family he left behind the fortitude to bear the loss.”
Meanwhile, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Gentleman Amegor, has described Ogbemudia’s exit as painful, but eventful while alive.
He said he was consoled with the fact that the late Ogbemudia lived a good life while alive.
“He was my surrogate father and I will really miss him darely. He was everything to his children and others who were not his biological children. We are consoled with the fact that he represented everything good to humanity.”