Full text of Ijaw Leader and Statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark's tribute to Late BRIG-GEN S. O. OGBEMUDIA - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Thursday, 16 March 2017

Full text of Ijaw Leader and Statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark's tribute to Late BRIG-GEN S. O. OGBEMUDIA

Chief Edwin Clark

The passing on of His Excellency, Brig.-Gen Dr. Samuel OsaigbovoOgbemudia on 9th March, 2017, came to me as a rude shock. This is because only two days before his demise, I had spoken to his eldest daughter Mrs. Dele George and I informed her that I will be going to visit her father now that I am in Lagos. Little did I know that this plan will not materialize as my bosom friend and mentor will go to rest with the Lord; true meaning of “Man propose, God disposes.”

Brig-Gen S. O. Ogbemudia and I met last at his residence in Benin City, in November, 2016, when he personally, in a hand written letter, wrote to me inviting me to a Ceremony at his residence at No. 3, Ihieya Street, Benin City. He said he wanted me to be present at the ceremony when the first set of students of the University of Benin, under the auspices of the University of Benin Alumni Association, class 1970, will be honouring him with an award of Grand Patron of the University of Benin Alumni Association at a Luncheon.

I attended the ceremony with a large team and live band to celebrate him at the occasion because nobody deserves such an award more than His Excellency Brig. Gen OsaigbovoOgemudia. During the occasion, he traced the history of how he founded the University of Benin and how he made me a 0ne-Man Council by Edict, to carry out the setting up of the University of Benin. Over 85 Alumni out of the 174 students admitted in September, 1970 at the takeoff of the University, were present. Indeed it was an occasion for him to recount how the institution was founded.

Late Ogbemudia
Looking back now, I think that occasion was destined by the Almighty for honour and for forgiveness. Because on that day, the former Governor of Edo State, His Excellency, Comrade Adams Oshiomwhole, did what I had advised him to do in 2009 for the action he took then, when he asked that the car bought for Brig-Gen S. O. Ogbemudia,during the tenure of His Excellency, Prof. OserheimenOsunbor as Governor, be returned. I felt that it was an inappropriate action, and in an Open Letter addressed to Governor Adams Oshiomwhole dated 12th March, 2009, I advised the Governor to apologise to Brig-Gen Samuel Ogbemudia, the builder of modern Midwest; that rather than asking him to return a car, when Governors today are getting jumbo pension packages, he should be honoured. On that day during the occasion, which was also his last day in Office as Governor,having served two terms, Governor Oshiomwholeopenly rendered unreserved apologies to Brig-Gen S. O. Ogbemudia. He recalled that I had advised him to do so, and was, therefore, happy that I was present on the day he was rendering the apology. That was the last day I saw this great man, my friend and mentor, who had so much trust and confidence in me as Governor of the State and I as his Commissioner, that people called me the “Deputy Governor.”

Many people have said so many adorable things about Brig-Gen Ogbemudia. He deserves that and more. I recall with nostalgia the efforts made by this great man as a young Major to reconcile the various ethnic groups in the State. He summoned the Elders and Leaders of the then Midwest State to Uromi on 2nd November, 1967, where the Leaders spoke frankly on the accusations and counter accusations, during the Civil War when the Midwest was over ran by the rebel troops who declared it the Republic of Benin. Peace was restored that day as a result of that meeting. At the end of the meeting, we proceeded in buses to Asaba to see the damages that were caused as a result of the war.He defused the tension which was almost culminating to the building of a Berlin kind of wall across Agbor in order to separate the Midwestern Ibos from the rest of the Midwest.After the restoration of peace, he embarked on physical development of the State such that no Governor thus far, has been able to meet up with his records, not to talk of surpassing it. There were no tarred roads in the State when he assumed office, except red soil routes. He built new roads including the dualisation of some major roads, such as IhamaRoad,Eguobasini Road, Airport Road, Forestry Road, Akpakpava Street, Mission Road, Benin-Warri Road, Warri-Ughelli Road,Ughelli-Asaba Road, Warri-Agbor Road,Ughelli – Patani Road, Owhoro – Bomadi Road,  etc.

In education, he established the famous University of Benin, the Head Maters’ Institute, upgraded the Auchi Technical College to Auchi Polytechnic. He built a number of Modern Primary and Secondary Schools, etc.
He developed water transportation for the riverine communities by establishing the Delta Boat Yard. He provided land transportation by taking over the famous Armel Transport which he named Midwest line.
He established a number of industries including the Midwest Brewery.
He established the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City and several Health Hospitals in every Local area.

He built the Ogbe Stadium, developed the Afuze Sports Institute as a result of which Midwest State always charted away all laurels during sporting competitions in the country. As a matter of fact, even as a Governor, he was one of the Teachers at the Institute. He was the father of Sports.
He built the Oba market.
He sent students, desks, chairs and other equipment to Schools in the East, such as Queens School, Enugu, Union Secondary School, Okwunonu, Enugu and University of Nigeria, Nsukka, which were all ravaged during the Civil War.
He sent Primary School Teachers and Science Teachers to both Primary and Secondary Schools in the North to assist them with science subjects. He promoted exchange of students between Midwest State and other States in the country, particularly in the North

Brig-Gen Samuel OsaigbovoOgemudia was a nationalist in all ramifications.
Time and space will not permit me to record here what this great man has done for humanity. 

This great man should be immortalized. I hope my proposal since 2009, that a statute of him be erected at the popular Ring Road, which he built, will be carried out now.

Memories will never be forgotten.

Goodnight my Boss!
Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark OFR, CON

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