Tribute as Cairo Ojougboh Goes Home in Glory

Michael Olugbode

Cairo Godson Ojougboh was born on September 8, 1959, in Agbor, Delta. He was a sportsman in his young years and at a time played basketball for the University of Benin.

Though the need to meet his needs made him to follow other passions, he never stayed away from sports as he was a lover of football and passionate support his national team, the Super Eagles. It was during such support that he exchanged the earth for heavenly glory. He died supporting the Super Eagles during the last African Nations Cup against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa. He was a seasoned politician as he was at a time a member of the House of Representatives, and grew to serve in various capacities including as the Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Born into the legendary Akporoho Ojougboh family of Alihame, Agbor, Delta State, Nigeria, Ojougboh earned his medical degree from the University of Benin.

He attended the Pilgrim’s Baptist Primary School, Agbor between 1966 and 1971. He had his Secondary Education at St. Columba’s Grammar School (Now Gbenoba Grammar School Agbor), from 1972 to 1976. After a brief teaching experience from 1976 to 1978, his strong desire for higher education took him to Auchi Polytechnic in the old Bendel, now Edo State, where he enrolled to study Mechanical Engineering. In 1979, he left Auchi Polytechnic for the University of Benin to study medicine which he completed with Honours in 1985.

He ventured into politics to contribute to the development of his nation. He was active in politics from the inception of the current democratic dispensation until his passing. He was a prominent, fearless and outspoken politician, playing active roles in the quest for good governance and consolidation of democracy at State, and National levels.

Cairo Ojougboh, until his death on February 7, 2024 was the Akinuwa of Agbor.

The personality of the late Ojougboh was laid bare in Abuja, during the celebration of his life as Nigerian politicians and close associates gathered to honour him.

He was described by many as a loyal politician who cuts across all political divide.

Leading the roll call of those who paid tribute to the deceased were the ex-governor of Edo State and former Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole; former Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Seriake Dickson; former Borno State Governor, Ali Modu Sheriff; Senator Abubakar Gada, and former member of House of Representatives, Dora Uboh

Sheriff, the Chairman of the Organising Committee said he was still finding it difficult to get over the news over the demise of the deceased.

Sheriff said: “He called me, my Chairman and told me that he was going to watch the football match and I told him that I am already in my sitting room.

But one hour later, I got a call that he was dead.

“If there was a gentleman I met in the course of my political journey, it was Cairo. He was trusted and loyal. There was never anybody that had ever made me free like Dr. Cairo.”

He added, “I’m still shocked that Ojougboh is no more. If there was a perfect gentleman I met in the course of my life is Ojougboh. “He was one person you could trust and rely on. This was a gentleman I met in the course of my political career and he gave me an insight of Nigeria. “Ojougboh was a dependable ally. He was someone you will never regret having as a friend. “To the family, I want to assure all of you that I will be there for you anytime you call upon me.

“He was one person I will not forget; he was one person I will remember all the time. He lived a good life worth emulating.”

Sheriff noted that for the mere fact that Ojougboh died watching Nigeria match showed that he was a true Nigerian, a nationalist, calling on leaders to be more patriotic. According to him, patriotism is what would keep the country together. He admonished that: “We have to believe in and be proud of our country.” The Chairman of the Occasion, a former Governor of Akwa-Ibom, Victor Attah, in his tribute, prayed for the family of the deceased that God will provide and comfort them.

He said: “God that provided you this husband, father and uncle, will continue to provide for you. God will comfort you; God will give you the strength to bear the loss.”

For his part, Oshiomhole said the deceased was a friend of all across party divide, a man for all and a very sociable and amiable person. Oshiomhole, said they met in the days of his labour struggle.

He added, “He was a man for everyone I met him when I was the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“When I met him as Chairman of the NLC, one of those days when we put the country and the leaders on notice.

“He paid several visits to my village to show his respect for elders. Whether you invite him or not, if he considers you valuable, he will come “There was a day he visited my mum in my small village without telling me and i was saying to myself my mum cannot influence anything so why did he go there.

“After that, he visited several times. That is the man Dr. Cairo Ojougboh.

“Today we are lucky to sit here and celebrate him; who knows when it our time who will celebrate us.

“He has made impact and good impressions to lives and we pray that God forgive him all his sins and grant him eternal rest.

“To the family of our departed brother, you have every reason to be proud because he made good impact in the lives of many people.” Elder statesman and leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark, who spoke virtually, said the deceased was like a son to him.

Besides, he said the late politician who played a big role in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was the only one that used to call him father.

“He was very dedicated and faithful. Ojuogboh was very dear to me. We have lost a fantastic young man. We pray God to accept him and pray God to take care of the family he left behind,” he added. Also speaking, Senator Dino Melaye, described the deceased as detribalised, civil, principled and sociable.

“His relationship cut across political divide because Ojougboh was one of the very few APC people that will have something to do and I will attend.

“The truth of the matter is we can’t question God. Death is a garment that everyone right here wears you can’t deny it. That day and time cannot be determined by you except you decide to commit suicide “And today Cairo is having a unique night and we should ask ourselves when you leave what will you be remembered.”  On his part, Dickson said Ojuogboh was a very loyal man who was faithful to friendship.  “He did his best within his short sojourn on earth. May God grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”  Justice Mabel Segun-Bello, a Judge of the Federal High Court, said the late Ojougboh was an accomplished person.

 She said his legacy was a footprint that an individual leaves on earth after he or she is gone. “At a point, he was involved in reconciliation and harmonisation activities. That is one of the legacies he left behind.

“Let his legacy be a prompter unto us to leave better legacy, legacies that will impact people of now and years to come.”

One of Ojougboh’s wives, Ruth said she was still finding it difficult to process the death of her husband who she described as a confidant and a good husband and father.

She said: “I’m still in disbelief this is even happening and I struggle to find the words for the depth of loss that I feel.

“I find solace in the words of Ecclesiastes chapter three verses one and two…it reminds us that there is a time for everything. A time to be born and a time to die.

“My beloved husband lived a life marked by love, strength and unwavering faith. He was indeed a warrior who faced life challenges with courage and resilience.

“Though we mourn his loss, we rejoice in the assurance that he now rests in eternal peace.”

Ojougboh would be remembered not only for his massive stature but for his giant political achievements.

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