Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has described late Dr. Benjamin Aigbobasimi Oni-Okpaku, Founder of Benoni Hospital, as a record-breaker who played a key role in saving lives during the Nigerian Civil War as the Chief Medical Director of Benin Specialist Hospital.
Obaseki said this on Friday while speaking to journalists at the funeral service in honour of late Dr. Oni-Okpaku held at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Eme-Ora, Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State.
According to the governor, “He was first in many things and we will remember him the most in the role he played particularly as the Chief Medical Director of Benin Specialist Hospital (now Central Hospital) during the difficult days of the Nigerian Civil War, when as capital of the defunct Mid-Western State, Benin City was one of the frontier territories in wartime.
“When casualties were evacuated from the war front to Benin, it was his responsibility as Chief Medical Director and a surgeon to treat them and he did it well.”
Obaseki said late Dr. Oni-Okpaku will be remembered for his entrepreneurial strides in building Benoni Hospital, Benin City, adding “This was a man who contributed so much to the medical history of our state and we are proud of him. He will be remembered for his entrepreneurial efforts in building Benoni Hospital. He was a great golfer also and we thank God for his life”.
A member of the National Executive of Kings College Old Boys Association, Olu Akpata, said late Dr. Oni-Okpaku was a worthy old boy of the College, adding that he was a great sportsman and a leader who contributed in no little way to the development of the state.
He retired as Chief Medical Director, Benoni Hospital, Benin City and survived by wife, Justice Abigail Oni-Okpaku, children and other relatives including the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Dame Omua Alonge Oni-Okpaku. He died at age 87.
Other guests that graced the occasion included the Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen; Chairman, Owan West Local Government Area, Hon. Frank Ilaboya, amongst others.