Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has described the late governor of the old Mid-Western State, Brig-Gen. Dr Samuel Ogbemudia(retd) as a friend and patriot, who committed his life to the service of the nation.
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 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 Brig-Gen. Ogbemudia.”
Obasanjo further said in the letter, “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, in the early days of the present democratic dispensation, gave the party the strength in Edo State and indeed in the South.”
Obasanjo also noted that the late Ogbemudia also contributed to sports development, and he was at a point the Chairman of the National Sports Commission.
He said the exit of the late Ogbemudia was painful, as he still had a lot to contribute to the development of the country.
He said further, “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.”