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Friday, March 17, 2017

Ogbemudia: I've lost a friend, says Obasanjo


 

...Edo declares Friday public holiday

Samuel Awoyinfa and Alexander Okere

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the late governor of the old Mid-Western State, Brig.-Gen. Samuel Ogbemudia (retd.), as a friend and a patriot, who committed his life to the service of the nation.

Also, a former Federal Commissioner of Information, Chief Edwin Clark, described the late Ogbemudia as a unifying factor that brought peace to the defunct Mid-Western region after the Civil War.

In a letter of condolence dated March 11, 2017, which he wrote to the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, the former President recalled that Ogbemudia's versatility was first evident in his primary constituency, the Army, where he led a brilliant career and occupied important positions.

The letter read in part, "I have lost a friend and close associate. Brig.-Gen. Ogbemudia will be sorely missed by all of us. The finality of Brig.-Gen. Ogbemudia's passage is painful, especially as he still had a lot to contribute to community and national life, but we can draw some solace from knowing that he left his mark indelibly in whatever he was called upon to do.

"I recall, Brig.-Gen. Ogbemudia and I served in the Field Battalion before Nigeria's independence. During the Civil War, he was able to make his way out of the rebel-held area to report to the federal side.

"This, indeed, was a mark of loyalty to his fatherland. He was a true soldier, who fought with commitment and distinction during the Civil War on the federal side.

"He was a great nationalist. He fought for the unity of this country with complete dedication to the ideal of a great Nigeria in which fairness and justice will reign.

"Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the history of our struggle for national unity, democracy and good governance cannot be written without ample references being made to the patriotic, visionary and heroic role played by Brig.-Gen. Ogbemudia."

Clark, who spoke on Thursday evening at the service of songs held for the in honour of Ogbemudia, in Benin, said he the former soldier lived an exemplary life.

The elder statesman died in Lagos last Thursday at the age of 84.

Present at the event were the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, Philip Shaibu; a former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; members of the National Assembly and the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

Meanwhile, the Edo State Government has declared Friday (today) as public holiday in honour of the late Ogbemudia.

Mr. John Mayaki, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Godwin Obaseki, said this in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Benin.