The revered leader of the both states which were later split into Edo and Delta States, died at a private hospital in Lagos shortly before midnight on Thursday. Journalists recall that the statesman was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, in November 2016 where he was later transferred to Lagos for treatment.
Mr. Sam Ogbemudia Jr, the first son of the two-time ex-governor of defunct Midwest and Bendel States, Brigadier General Samuel Ogbemudia, retd, who died on Friday at the age of 84 has moan that his father had prepared his grave beside his ,Ogbemudia, late mother’s grave, who died in 1968 before he died.
It was reliably learnt that the deceased had battled diabetes and High blood Pressure since 1970. These, eventually led to the partial stroke he suffered late last year. The news of Ogbemudia’s demise shocked Edo residents, who woke up to read it on the social media. Family members and friends thronged his Ihieya residence in Benin City to express sympathy.
Mr. Sam Ogbemudia Jr said he would miss everything about his father. He said:”My father represents everything to me right from my child hood days. I don’t know what to say. It is devastating. I learnt so much from him. He was a wonderful man. I will miss everything about him. I, and other persons, who have come in contact with him, have all learnt a great deal from him. He was a father, not just to his children, but to all.
He was a great man. “He prepared his grave years ago because he said he will like to be buried beside the grave of his late mother. The family will need to meet and discuss including the government of both Edo and Delta states.
President Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity said the deceased diligently served the country. The statement said: ‘’ The President believes that the late Ogbemudia, who had a distinguished career as a military officer, administrator and Federal Minister, has left an impressive legacy of hardwork, discipline and commitment to communal, state, regional and national development.”
We will take solace in his legacies—Obaseki 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 (retd) Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia.
Saraki Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described Ogbemudia’s death as a huge loss to the country. He noted that Ogbemudia was a dynamic administrator, focused gentleman and a leader par excellence, who served his country and people meritoriously. He was a political colossus.
Okowa Okowa described Ogbemudia as a quintessential Army General, adroit and sagacious administrator, elder statesman, an astute politician and patriot, who stamped his footprints in the sands of time by touching the lives of Nigerians, particularly the people of Edo and Delta states. He cared for welfare of citizens—Uduaghan Uduaghan said: “He was a father figure at times of crisis. His advice and admonitions were valuable. Of course, one tried to emulate him in so many ways.
Pa Ogbemudia made indelible marks in the old Bendel State. We are forever grateful to him for his giant strides in helping to lay the foundation for the even development of our good, old Midwest State. As a military and later civilian governor, he left no one in doubt that he was an astute administrator, who exhibited the kind of courage only leaders who crave the welfare of citizens have.
The Bendel school system was serviced by its own central book acquisition centre, the Bendel Book Depot, and Ethiope Publishing Company and a Bendel Library whose trailers and boats went round the state twice a month taking books to borrowers in even the remotest parts of the state.
By 1970, Ogbemudia’s administration provided television viewing centres in remote villages, powered by small generators. In fact anything that enhanced the quality of life of the people of Bendel, was a priority to Ogbemudia who introduced the Bendel Line with Mercedes Benz buses and cars and both male and female drivers to ferry Bendelites to and from major cities across Nigeria. Within Bendel itself, a fleet of Hino buses provided a luxury inter-city transport service across the state while equally top-class boats serviced the riverine areas.”