Former governor of old Midwest and Bendel State (now Edo and Delta State) has died at the age of 84. He was said to have died in a private hospital in Lagos at about midnight on Thursday.
The late Ogbemudia had been down in the last few months and was first admitted into the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), but was reportedly moved to Lagos on request by members of his family.
Speaking to journalist in his residence at Ihieya in Benin City yesterday, his first son, Sam Ogbemudia Jr said he would miss everything about his father and that his late father has since prepared his grave besides his late mother’s grave said to have died in 1968.He said his father passed on in in Lagos, shortly before midnight on Thursday, adding that his father represented everything to him right from childhood to adult.
“I learnt so much from him. He was a wonderful man. I will miss everything about him; both his biological children and non-biological ones.
“I will miss everything about him. I, and every other persons that have come in contact with him, have all learnt a great deal from him. He was a father, not just to his children, but also to all. He was a great man.”
He said his late father prepared his grave beside that of his late mother some years ago.
When asked if his late father gave any particular reason for preparing the grave, he simply responded saying, “anybody can do that.”
Ogbemudia was a former Military administrator of old mid-western 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).
Former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rev Peter Obadan described the late administrator as an encyclopaedia of wisdom.
“We give thanks to God for the life he lived on earth, he left qualities 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 has 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”
The Artistic Director, Afemai Heritage and Culture Alhaji Usman Abidah described the late Ogbemudia as a focused person.
“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”
Former senator representing Edo North, Domingo Obende told The Guardian that “He was a Governor of Governors . He was a great foundational Leader who saw everything good about Edo and Nigeria in his lifetime. We shall definitely miss him beyond measures. May God grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Former Governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion in a statement issued by his media aide, Mark Nkworji recalled with fond memories the giant strides of the late Dr Ogbemudia, describing him as the chief architect of the great development strides of the now Edo and Delta states, when he governed as military administrator of Midwest state.
He 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 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.
The Edo State chapter of the Sickle Cell Club also described Ogbemudia as a great man. He was the pioneer chairman of the Board of Sickle Cell in the state. A statement by the President of the club in the state, Gregory Aigbonoga said “He was the first Sickle Cell Treatment & Research Center 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 described his 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 dearly. 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,”
Residents of Ihieya where the late Ogbemudia house is located described his demise as a great loss. Ehigie Aigbiremolle, who said he has lived in the area for over 25 years, described the late Ogbemudia as a man with good heart.