By Simeon OSAJIE
Former Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly and a frontline Edo 2024 governorship aspirant, Rt. Hon. Frank Okiye has joined well-meaning Nigerians to celebrate a great son of Edo State, Sir Chief (Dr.) Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, the Esama of Kingdom, the Honourary Romanian Consul to Edo and Delta States and Chairman of Okada Group of Companies, on the auspicious occasion of his 89th birthday celebration.
In a congratulatory message which emanated from Frank Okiye Campaign Office, personally signed by the former Edo Speaker and made available to newsmen stated that Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion’s accompaniments in the world of business have greatly impacted Edo State, Nigeria and the world at large, transforming the lives of many in the process.
According to Okiye, “At 89, the great Esama of Benin Kingdom has continued to lead an illustrious life, distinguishing himself as an elder statesman, business tycoon and philanthropist extraordinaire.
“A well-accomplished and remarkable Edo son, his achievements over the years have greatly impacted on our dear State and Nigeria, as well as the African continent, transforming the lives of many.”
Okiye noted that Sir Chief Igbinedion remains an icon of Nigeria’s business, social and cultural world and a shining example of the entrepreneurial excellence of the Edo people.
“Esama of Benin Kingdom, you has a long list of enterprises spanning different sectors of the economy including, education, aviation, radio and television broadcasting, banking, hospitality, transport, manufacturing, crude oil exploration and shipping, among others.
“You have reached a very significant milestone in life. I’m happy to celebrate this magnificent chapter of the life of a phenomenal human being.
“For ages, you have been one of the most outstanding statesmen. A guiding light to Nigerians of all backgrounds.
“You’re a strong leader, an example of determination and courage for everyone. Always be healthy and cheerful. Happy birthday, sir.”
Born in the year 1934 in the farming community of Okada, now a university town and headquarters of Ovia North-East Local Government, Edo State of Nigeria.
The founder of Okada Group of Companies, a self-made billionaire, has established numerous companies at different times in his life. Amazingly, most of them are pioneering adventures.
Esama has contributed immensely to human capital development in Edo in particular and Nigeria at large.
In the course of his illustrious journey through life, he has garnered over 60 titles, awards and honours from various bodies and authorities. His title, Esama of Benin Kingdom, positions him as a prominent chief among the Eghavbo N’Ore Palace Society and 5th in rank in the Benin Chieftaincy hierarchy. He was honoured and invested a Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) by the federal government on the historic occasion of his 70th birthday in 2004.
Igbinedion is a Grand Commander of the Knights of the Order of St. Benedict (GCKB). He is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Romania for Edo and Delta States of Nigeria. In December 2010, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in African Chieftaincy Institutions from Ghana and also bagged an honorary Doctorate Degree in law from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology, Kumasi, Ghana in November, 2011. Between 1988 and 1991, he bagged honorary Doctorate Degrees in Philosophy from Rust College, Holy Springs, Mississippi, Jackson State University, Mississippi and Oral Roberts University, Tulsa Oklahoma, all in the U.S.A., among other honours.