Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Former Edo State Governor, Senator Adam Oshiomhole yesterday described Esogban of Benin, Chief David Edebiri as a courageous leader who cared about the welfare of the people.
The Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI) also showered encomiums on the Benin high chief who passed on recently at 94, describing him as one who stood forthright as an elder statesman and spoke truth to power.
Edebiri, who died on Thursday in Benin City after a brief illness, was among those who contributed immensely to the struggle for the creation of the defunct Midwest Region in 1963 and Edo State in 1991.
In a statement by his media aide yesterday, Victor Oshioke, Oshiomhole, currently representing Edo North in the Senate, said the deceased was a father figure to Edo people and an advisor who stood for the truth at all times.
“It is with sadness and deep sense of loss that I received the news of the death of my friend, the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David Edebiri.
“Chief Edebiri was a courageous leader whose ideology revolved around enhancing the welfare of our people. He preached unity at all times, fought for what he believed in and was always willing to offer valuable advice, drawing from his wealth of experience.”
Oshiomhole also described the late Esogban as a man of truth whose tenacity of principle was well demonstrated by his independent disposition, saying this made it impossible for anyone to intimidate him over his political choices.
He said the deceased was a stabilising force and a source of inspiration for all Edo people who looked up to him for guidance.
In a condolence letter by its President, Mr. Mathew Egbadon and General Secretary, Dr. Celey Okogun, EOI saluted the sterling contributions of the late high chief, noting his commitment to harmonious relationship
Recalling his firm position on the agitation for the next Governor of Edo State to be of Esan extraction, EOI said: “We have lost a visionary elder statesman who was committed to a harmonious relationship amongst all groups in Edo State.”
The organisation said: “We commiserate with His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, Ogidigan, the Oba of Benin, Benin Traditional Council and the entire family of the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief David U. Edebiri on his recent transition to glory at the age of 94.
“Though saddened, we however feel privileged to have interacted with Esogban on June 9 in what is, arguably, one of his last official public engagements during our consultation visit to his palace on Esan’s quest to produce the next elected governor of Edo State in 2024.
“He was full of life, hearty and joked with the delegation. The Esogban of Benin Kingdom will be remembered as the only Nigerian, who worked assiduously for the creation of two states – Midwest Region and Edo State within a generation.
“Until his transition, he remained passionate about good governance in Edo State and our dear country Nigeria,” the organisation said in its letter of condolence.