Former governor of Edo and respected elder statesman Samuel Ogbemudia on Sunday endorsed Mr Godwin Obaseki, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Sept. 28 governorship election.
Ogbemudia, whose voice is regarded like that of the Oracle, gave the endorsement at a banquet organised by Gov. Adams Oshiomhole in Benin to celebrate his 84th birthday.
During the occasion, Oshiomhole announced the renaming of New Era College, built by Ogbemudia decades ago, as Dr Samuel Ogbemudia College.
The college fell into ruins before Oshiomhole decided to rebuild it.
It was the second time Oshiomhole honoured Ogbemudia, who was a former member of the Peoples Democratic Party, until a few years ago when he quit.
In 2014, Oshiomhole’s government built an Ogbemudia Statue at the state-owned Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.
Oshiomhole told Ogbemudia at the birthday party “you came, you saw and you conquered and Edo people are proud.
“Therefore, with your permission and in exercise of my privileges as governor of the greatest state in Nigeria, the only state that is up-to-date in payment of salaries in the entire South-South, the only state that increased minimum wage when others cannot pay, on behalf of government and people of Edo, New Era College will hereafter be named Dr Samuel Ogbemudia College.
“It is my hope that this will inspire other people to give their best to our state, to our country so that role models shall be formed within us. God bless you. God bless your family, and if you ask me, may God give you another 84 years.
“I just want to say, we are very proud of you and we thank God for your life. Dr Ogbemudia, I am proud of you. Edo people are proud of you.
Nigerians who know you are proud of you, and even children yet unborn will be proud of you when they read the history of your contributions to the growth and development of Midwest Region, Bendel State, and Edo State.”
Responding, Ogbemudia was also full of encomiums for Oshiomhole.
He said “my mission is not to come and praise you, but to catalogue your achievements so that the verdict of history will be in your favour.“You have done wonderfully well. Nowhere in this state, nowhere in this region, in all the six political regions can you find a building like this (the New Era College Hall) meant for a College.“You have done wonderfully well. It is said that it is better to make history than to write it. You have made history today and you will always be remembered and your memory will never fail.”
Ogbemudia also canvassed votes for Mr Godwin Obaseki, the APC guber candidate in Edo.
The elder statesman said “I want to appeal to the people of Edo, through those who are here that Sept. 28 is a day of decision, a day on which we will decide our future.
“We have two options, either to remain as we are and nothing happens and two years hence, we will be looking for boats to travel on the roads because it would have been flooded or we work hard, get the right person to carry on from where Comrade will leave it.
“That option is staring at us in the face.
“For me, I choose the option to get somebody who understands good governance to carry on from where Comrade Oshiomhole will leave it.
He has done enough. He has left sufficient evidence for historians to appreciate, and many years hence they will be falling on each other to determine what made you do this or that. I think you have wonderful wisdom that will live with you forever.”
“For the young ladies, I have always appreciated the need to work with women because at the political field, they are very useful.
Once they tell you they are with you, they are with you. So, I want them to go back home to make sure that everyone of them has a hundred persons queuing behind them to vote for Obaseki.
“And for the men, of course, the number is limitless. What we want to do is to see that the votes the man acquires are such that it leaves no doubt as to his popularity.”
Obaseki, who had earlier given his tributes to Dr Ogbemudia, said “we are happy to still have you around with us. I am aspiring to fill your shoes.
“You have been twice governor in the state and I am aspiring to be governor for the first time. And my inspiration is largely you. My assurance comes from the fact that you are one leader who I met after I decided to run for governor.
“I want to assure you, sir, that I owe it to you and our Comrade Governor not to fail Edo people. The fact that we are here today, this school, New Era was your idea. We want to thank our Comrade Governor for taking that idea forward, and by the grace of God, I will take it even further.”
“My responsibility is to now continue from where Gov. Adams Oshiomhole stopped so as to create that new design and place our people where they should be in the next century,” Obaseki added.