The entire Edo State, over the weekend, was thrown into mourning when former Military Governor of old Bendel State, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia’s death was announced by his family.
The news of his death filtered into town that the amiable former military governor died on Thursday night in Lagos at the age of 84 while undergoing Diabetic treatment.
Tributes and condolences have greeted the residence of the gallant soldier at Iheya Quarters in Benin City. He was said to have prepared himself for death years ago. He wished to be buried immediately and beside his mother, reason many are yet to find out.
Former Minority Whip of the 7th House of Representatives, Rt Hon Samson Osagie in paying respect to the former governor, urged member of the National Assembly to name the University of Benin, after Ogbemudia.
Hon Osagie described Ogbemudia as a man who raised many men and women and commanded respect because of his brilliancy and excellence.
The All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain, commended the former governors, Adams Oshiomhole and Lucky Igbinedion, for supporting Ogbemudia by renaming the New Era College and stadium after him.
He urged the Ogbemudia family to accept his condolence and sustain the legacies left behind by their father.
He said, “He admired brilliance and excellence and never hid his passion for lofty ideas. He raised so many young men and women into politics one of whom is yours truly. He was a father to all and commanded respect from across the nation”.
Also, the Igbo Community in Edo state has described the former governor of the state Dr Samuel Ogbemudia who died on Thursday night as a leader who stood for the oppressed.
Mr Nnamdi Duru, the publicity secretary of Ndigbo in the state, expressed shock over the sudden demise of the former Military administrator and former Governor of the old Bendel state saying his legacies remains visible.
Mr Duru said the elder statesman lived a live worthy of emulation by standing for the victimized in the society.
He promised that the Igbo community will take part in the burial ceremony when announced by the family as a mark of respect for him as a friend of the Igbo.
The Publicity Secretary of the People Democratic Party ( PDP) Mr Chris Nehikhare, described Ogbemudia as an icon with super idea that led to the development of the state and its people.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to his family as well as the good people of Edo and Delta States on his passing to the world beyond”. He stated.
As a mark of honour for the departed elder statesman, the Edo state Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki declared a 7-days mourning for the demise of the retired General who will be remembered for the strong foundation he laid to consolidate the infrastructural, social and economic development of Edo and Delta states.
He 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.
Also Obaseki who met with the Ogbemudia family on Saturday to pay condolence to the family as well as to discuss plans for the former governor’s state burial said the state would not hesitate to give the warlord a befitting burial.
The decision of the state government to bury the former governor was according to his wish to be buried immediately.
Meanwhile, the governor advised the family to respect the wishes of the late Ogbemudia and urged them to begin preparations immediately.
He also informed the family that their father would be given a state burial, while hinting that Delta State has already indicated interest to participate.
The AUTHORITY gathered that Ogbemudia was military administrator from October 1968 to July 1975 and he was described as the pioneer of development in Edo and Delta states as former Civilian Governor.
He was born on 17 September 1932 in Benin City, and attended the Benin Baptist School 1941 to 1945 before proceeding to Government School Victoria in Cameroon in 1945 to 1947.
In 1949 he obtained his secondary education from the Western Boy’s High School in Benin before joining the Nigerian Army in 1957 training at Teshie, Ghana and at Netheravon and Salisbury Plain in England.
After attending the cadet school at Aldershot, England in 1960, he was commissioned as second lieutenant in 1961 and then attended the United States Army Special Welfare School at Fort Bragg South Carolina in 1962.
Ogbemudia was among the Soldiers who served with the United Nations Peacekeeping force in Congo for 16 months and served in Tanzanian in 1964 before he was then appointed as an instructor to the Nigerian Military School in Zaria in 1964.
In 1967 Ogbemudia was appointed Military administrator of Mid-West state in September, following the war between the Nigeria government and Biafran forces which ended in 1970.
During a brief return to civil rule, Samuel Ogbemudia was elected governor of Bendel State in Oct 1983 as candidate for the National Party of Nigeria, replacing Ambrose Alli of the Unity Party of Nigeria.
He is known to have The Agbede Mechanized Farm, the Warrake farms, the Rural Electrification Board, The Bendel Steel Structures, the Bendel Brewery, Bendel Pharmaceuticals, Bendel Boatyard, Bendel Library, Ethiope Publishing Corporation, the University of Benin,The Institute of Continuing Education, NTA Benin, the Bendel Line, etc.