The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has praised the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion for his contributions to the development of the state.
Obaseki gave the commendation during the dedication/handing over ceremony of the new Catholic Church at Okada, built by Chief Igbinedion for the Archdiocese of Benin.
The church was blessed by Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Obiora Akubeze and named Archangel Gabriel Catholic Church, Okada, after the Esama of Benin.
Other dignitaries present at the occasion include former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; former governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion; the Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief Edibiri and the Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Chief Sam Igbe.
Also present were the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu; his wife, Maryann; Chief Judge of Edo State,Hon. Justice Joe Acha and senior palace chiefs representing the Oba of Benin Kingdom, amongst others.
The governor who commended the philanthropic nature of Chief Igbinedion, said his government will ensure the completion of the Okada Road dualisation project.
He said, “We all know that the role of government is to enable all-round development of the society and when you find a person like Chief Igbinedion who, in the last 40 years, decided to bring development into this axis of the state, I believe that the government has a responsibility to support and enable what he is doing in Okada.
“As part of what we are doing as a government, we are putting together a 30-year development plan for Edo State so that future governments that come will not say they don't know what to do.
“Part of this plan involves the master planning of several towns and cities in Edo because we need to move the population out of the main cities of Benin, Ekpoma and Auchi. One of the areas we will be focusing on since the Chief has done so much here in the last 40 years is Okada in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.”
The governor continued, “To achieve this, we need to build the population and traffic to Okada. We need to build the necessary infrastructure. To celebrate you, I am going to instruct our town planning team to come here to complete the master plan at Okada and its environs.
“From the master plan, I want to assure you that in next year's budget, we will be completing the dualisation of the road from Okada to the junction. The master plan will come up with other infrastructure that we need to build.”
“Igbinedion has done so much to bring development to this part of the country. As a government, we will do our own bit to complement your efforts to bring development to this area,” Obaseki reassured.
In his homily, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Obiora Akubeze commended the Esama of Benin Kingdom for his contributions to the growth of society and the Church.
He said, “It’s difficult to find a man as charitable and generous like Igbinedion. He has brought honour and respect to the Benin Kingdom and its people. He is a great man and an employer of labour and continues to invest in the lives of the people through his various businesses in and outside the state.”