About The Celebrant
The Oak and Legendary Octogenarian @ 81
There is doubtless, a legion of befitting sobriquets to describe the man GABRIEL OSAWARU IGBINEDION and some of them will appear in this write-up as it progress to its inevitable end. We begin the essay on Chief Igbinedion’s 81st birthday or OAK Anniversary (as literary authorities would call it) by briefly presenting to the reader a poem about the famous Oak Tree by Johnny Ray Ryder Jnr.
“A mighty wind blew night and day. It stole the Oak Tree’s leaves away. Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark until the Oak was tired and stark. But still the Oak Tree held its ground while other threes fell all around. The weary wind gave up and spoke “How can you still be standing OAK?” The Oak Tree said, “I know that you can break each branches of mine in two, carry every leaf away, shake my limbs and me sway. But I have roots stretched in the earth growing stronger since my birth. You will never touch them, for you see they are the deepest part of me. Until today, I wasn’t sure of just how much I could endure. But now I’ve found with thanks to you. I’m stronger than I ever knew.”
Just as the Oak Tree is unlike any other tree in its habitat so is Chief Igbinedion different fron any other person around him (humility, wealth, pedigree and power not withstanding).
The Oak Tree is universally acknowledged as a symbol of strength, endurance and longevity.
Igbinedion the Lion of Okada at 81
Eminent and erudite Professor of English Literature, Niyi Osundae in his unforgettable tribute to the late famour American poet and playwright Maya Angeolu etched the following immortal observation on marble.
“Drawbacks and adversities are sometimes the building blocks of glory; for life without its vicissitudes is like Christianity without the cross”.
Niyi Osundare’s observation is very relevant in embarking on a historical excursion on the life of the living legend and icon of entrepreneurial endeavours His Excellency, Sir Dr. Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, JP, PHF, GCKB, LLD, D.LITT, CON, CFR, Esama of Benin Kingdom; aka Lion of Okada: Esama of the Universe (Long may he live).
Born in the year 1934 in the obscure farming community of Okada (now the University-town and headquarters of Ovia North-East Local Government, Edo State of Nigeria) to the late Road Overseer and iconic Community Leader Josiah Agharagbon Igbinedion (who founded Okada Town) and his amiable wife the late Madam Okunozee Igbinedion (of the famous Ihaza Chieftancy Family of Usen, Ovia South West Local Government Area of Benin State), the little boy who was named Gabriel Osawaru at birth lost his enterprising father to death one afternoon in the year 1942 only two years after his life when Gabriel was only eight (8) years old. From the time onward, Madam Okunozee was saddled like all single-mothers in the world with the weighty responsibility of Gabriel’s education and upbringing.
81st Birthday Programme
His Excellency Sir Chief Dr. Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, CON, CFR
The Esama of Benin Kingdom
Friday, 11th September 2015
Time: 6.00 a.m prompt
MORNING DEW INTERDENOMINATIONAL SERVICE
God’s Historic Chapel
1-13, Okada Avenue, G.R.A., Benin City, Edo State.