Ogbemudia, a true nationalist – Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lamented the demise of ex – military Governor the defunct Mid- Western State, Brig-Gen. Samuel Ogbemudia(rtd), saying he was a nationalist who would be “sorely missed.”

Obasanjo who described the late Ogbemudia as a friend and patriot, said he committed his life to the service and unity of the nation.

In a letter of condolence dated March 11, 2017, and addressed to the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and which was made available to journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital,  Obasanjo said  Ogbemudia was a versatile soldier and had a brilliant career in the army.

Obasanjo said: “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 reference being made to the patriotic, visionary and heroic role played by Ogbemudia.

“As a Military Administrator of the defunct Mid-Western State between 1967 and 1975 and later as an elected Civilian Governor of the old Bendel State briefly in 1983, he made tremendous mark and he was the creator of what today is called “University of Benin”.  It is a testimony to Brig-Gen. Ogbemudia’s versatility that on retiring from the military, he rapidly transformed into a successful businessman.

“But it was in the sphere of politics that he made his most enduring contribution to national development. His position in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the early days of the present democratic dispensation gave the Party the strength in Edo State and indeed in the South.”

According to Obasanjo, Ogbemudia was also well known for his contributions to sports development and chaired the National Sports Commission creditably.

He commiserated  with the people of Edo state and members of Ogbemudia’s immediate and extended family on the demise.

“I, myself, 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,” Obasanjo stated.

 

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