It was gathered that the Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has again immortalized the two-time Governor of the defunct Mid-West State and Bendel States, Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia, by naming the rebuilt and remodeled New Era College in Benin City after the elder statesman.
This is the second time the state government under Oshiomhole would be immortalizing Ogbemudia as the governemnt had, in 2014, built a statue in honour of the former Governor at the state-owned Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
Speaking at a birthday party organized by the State Government to celebrate Ogbemudia on his 84th birthday on Saturday, Governor Oshiomhole said: “You came, you saw and you conquered and Edo people are proud. Therefore, with your permission and in exercise of my privileges as the governor of the greatest state in Nigeria, the only state that is up-to-date in the payment of salaries in the entire South-South, the only state that increased the minimum wage when others cannot pay it, on behalf of the government and the people of Edo State, this college, New Era College that you built, that they destroyed after you left, that I came to rebuild will hereafter be named Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia College. It is my hope this will inspire other people to give their best to our state, to our country so that role models shall be formed within us. God bless you. God bless your family, and if you ask me, may God give you another eighty-four years.
“I just want to say, we are very proud of you and we thank God for your life. We are celebrating an example of how just one man can lay such a solid foundation for generations upon generations to build on. So, our leader, Dr. Ogbemudia, I am proud of you. Edo people are proud of you. Nigerians who know you are proud of you, and even children yet unborn will be proud of you when they read the history of your contributions to the growth and development of Midwest Region, Bendel State, and Edo State.
“Fashola, former governor of Lagos State, now Minister of Works, Housing and Power, said to me, ‘do you know if any one government under any one governor can complete the process of governance, Ogbemudia would have done so’?
“So, you have people in the North, in the East, in the West, across all the divides in Nigeria that respect you for your patriotism, your doggedness, your commitment, your honesty of purpose, your leadership by example, and your unwavering commitment to building and supporting one indivisible Nigeria. May God continue to give you long life, good health that more and more of your effort is required even in times like this to remind us that nations are built by citizens, citizens that are inspired, citizens that believe in the future.”
Responding, the celebrant, who was elated by the honour done him, said: “My mission here today is not to come and praise you, but to catalogue your achievements so that the verdict of history will be in your favour. You have done wonderfully well. Nowhere in this state, nowhere in this region, in all the six political regions can you find a building like this (new Era College Hall) meant for a College. So, you have done wonderfully well. It is said that it is better to make history than to write it. You have made history today and you will always be remembered and your memory will never fail.”
Dr. Ogbemudia, who used the occasion to canvass votes for Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, said: “I want to appeal to the people of Edo State through those who are here that 28th September, is a day of decision, a day on which we will decide our future. We have two options, either to remain as we are and nothing happens and two years hence, we will be looking for boats to travel on the roads because it would have been flooded or we work hard, get the right person to carry on from where Comrade will leave it. So, that option is staring us in the face.
“For me, I choose the option to get somebody who understands good governance to carry on from where Comrade Oshiomhole will leave it. He has done enough. He has left sufficient evidence for historians to appreciate, and many years hence they will be falling on each other to determine what made you do this or that. And I think you have wonderful wisdom and that wisdom will live with you forever.
“Well, for the young ladies here, I have always appreciated the need to work with women because at the political field, they are very useful. Once they tell you they are with you, they are with you. So, I want them to go back home to make sure that every one of them here today has a hundred persons queuing behind them to vote for Obaseki. And for the men, of course, the number is limitless. What we want to do is to see that the votes the man acquires are such that it leaves no doubt as to his popularity.
“Two days ago, when the Governor told me that there would be a banquet, I thought it was a joke and I never knew that he will be able to bring together so many people as we have seen here today. So, I do believe that if he can get these people together like this to vote for Obaseki, the victory is already assured.”
Obaseki, who had earlier given his tributes to Dr. Ogbemudia, said: “We are so happy to still have you around with us. I am aspiring to fill your shoes. You have been twice governor in the state and I am aspiring to be governor for the first time. And my inspiration is largely you. My assurance comes from the fact that you are one leader who I met after I decided to run for governor. You would recall that I have met you about three times, and each of those times, you have meticulously guided me and told me about what to do and what to emphasize as governor of Edo State.
“I want to assure you, sir, that I owe it to you and our Comrade Governor not to fail Edo people. The fact that we are here today, this school, New Era was your idea. We want to thank our Comrade Governor for taking that idea forward, and by the grace of God, I will take it even further.
“So, the assurance is that you laid a foundation for us as a people and as a state. The last development plan for Midwest and Edo was under your term. The last master plan was designed by you. My responsibility is to now continue from where Adams Oshiomhole has stopped to create that new design and place our people where they should be in the next century.”