By Mike Ebonugwo, Victor Ahiuma-Young, Simon Ebegbulem,& Gabriel Enogholase
LATE former military governor of defunct Midwest and Bendel states, Dr Samuel Ogbemudia, will be given state burial by Edo and Delta states, even as the burial arrangements will be announced today
This came as more condolences messages continued to pour in, with former Military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, (rted), describing the late Dr Ogbemudia as a great patriot that would be missed by Nigerians for a long time, saying Ogbemudia was his leader.
It was gathered, yesterday, that Edo and Delta states are collaborating to give the two-time governor of the defunct Midwest and Bendel states a state burial.
According reports, the corpse of the deceased will arrive Benin Airport from Lagos tomorrow and will be received by Governors Godwin Obaseki and Ifeanyi Okowa of Edo and Delta states respectively.
Meanwhile, Governor Godwin Obaseki has set up a 13-member committee for Dr Ogbemudia’s burial headed by the Secretary to State Government, Mr Osarodion Ogie.
The committee is to liaise with the Ogbemudia family to give the elder statesman a befitting burial slated for Friday to meet his instruction that his body should not stay too long in the mortuary.
The Chief of Staff to the governor, Mr Taiwo Akerele will deputise for Ogie while other members include the Secretary, Edo State All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Osaro Idah, Gen. Charles Airhiavbere (rted), two permanent secretaries, six persons from the Ogbemudia family and a representative of Delta State Government.
Vanguard gathered that Edo State government has met with the deceased’s family on the burial arrangement.
It will be recalled that Governor Obaseki had advised the family of the deceased to respect his wishes that he should be buried without delay, urging the family to begin preparations immediately.
Speaking, Governor Obaseki described Dr Ogbemudia as a hero of Edo and Delta states, saying: “He was a father of modern Edo. He represented everything we have today. The infrastructures we have today in Edo and Delta are attributed to him.”
Ogbemudia was my leader in the military—IBB
IBB in a statement personally signed by the ex-president and made available to journalists, by his spokesman, Prince Kassim Afegbua, Babangida said: “The sudden death of General Samuel Ogbemudia struck me with helpless awe. I have not finished swallowing the bitter pill of General Adebayo Adeyinka’s passing on, when I got the news of General Ogbemudia’s exit. It truly hurts.
“Here was a leader whom I enjoyed very cordial relationship with for over 50 years. When I was 2nd Lieutenant, he was already one of the senior officers we looked up to in the sixties.”