Edo State deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu has described the Esama of Benin Kingdom, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, as a living legend who has touched many lives across the state and beyond, through his philanthropic gestures.
The deputy governor made the statement on Sunday September 10, 2023, at a special thanksgiving mass to celebrate the 89th birthday of Chief Igbinedion, the founder of Nigeria’s first private university, the Igbinedion University, Okada, and the Independent Television/Radio (ITV/Radio) Benin City, held at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church in Benin City.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the thanksgiving service, the deputy governor, said the Benin high chief whom he described as a giver, deserved the encomiums and celebration as he has succeeded in touching countless lives through his philanthropic gestures.
“Chief Esama at 89 years old is a legend. We are celebrating a legend and the grace of God in a man’s life. It is not common to have humans celebrated like this when they are alive. Most times, it is when they are gone that we hear a lot of encomiums.
“For a long time, up to 89, we are still pouring encomiums on him (Esama). He is alive, seeing and hearing us as he is being celebrated and it is not sycophancy.
“Everybody has attested to the fact that he (Esama) is a philanthropist who has impacted the lives of many to earn this celebration.
“It is not about the amount of wealth or titles he (Esama) has received that is important, but the philanthropic life he has lived. And for us, Catholics, charity is one of those things God has asked us to continually do. For me, Esama is a legend being celebrated while alive and he remains a legend in our lifetime.” The deputy governor added.