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Celebrating My Birthday Is An Expression Of Gratitude To God - Esama


Sir, as a leading forerunner in Edo State, how do you assess Edo at 19?

Well, I want to begin by thanking God for sparing my life to see today.
I had always said that in Nigeria, we make history, we do not write history. But I hope that one day, someone somewhere will be able to say the truth on how Edo State was created.
Starting from the creation of Midwest region, I have always played a central role. I was in Ogbomoso in 1963 when Midwest region was created.
I drove in my Opel car, conveying people for most of the time the issue for the creation of Midwest region came up. When problem arose, they looked for those who knew Chief Awolowo.
I volunteered to go to him. The late Afe, the late Prince Ella Eweka the late Walter Anukpe were asked to follow me to Lagos.

When we arrived Lagos, they were lodged at Mainland Hotel, and I was booked into Room 216. But I decided to stay at Chief Awolowo’s residence at Park Lane, because the traffic in Lagos at that time was very hectic. We all played our part, and Midwest region was created.
When it was named Bendel State, I also contributed in the stability and progress of the state.
Then when the need for the creation of Edo State came ,I know the role His Royal Majesty, Omo’N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Erediauwa, Oba of Benin and I played.
The Senate President then, Joseph Wayas was once my Sales Supervisor at Mid Motors, and he also stayed in my house at 8, Raymond Njoku Street, Lagos.
The Senate President bent over and ensured that Edo State was created for us.
The then national chairman of the NPN, Chief A.M. Akinloye was also once my staff at Mid Motors. He too contributed in helping us have Edo State created.
And so when Edo State was created in August 1991, ninety per cent of the souvenirs that were used – the pen, T-Shirts and all that were brought in from London by me.

Today, apart from the Oba of Benin, I am yet to see anyone who can raise his head to say he worked or was connected to the creation of Edo State, other than what I had done at the time.
Having said that, I am happy that we are all beneficiaries of the creation of Edo State.

And so, Edo at 19 has come a long way and there are better days ahead for all Edo people.


At 76, how do you feel?

I feel very great, highly elated and satisfied. But I owe all the gratitude to my creator because God Almighty is awesome and has been very kind to me and my household. I am immensely grateful to His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpplo, Oba Erediauwa for the peaceful reign, and the unity and progress in the Benin Kingdom in particular and Edo State in general.
We thank God Almighty. I truly feel great, and I feel like I am 50 or 60 years old. You see, age is a matter of number. You can determine how old you are by your look and actions.
I still work 18 hours every day. I have done my morning exercise. I have done three kilometers and came back.

At 76, you still you look young and healthy. What is the secret?

Well, as I said earlier, I owe everything to God. Otherwise doctors would not be sick. In fact, sickness is not my portion and I pray that it is also not your portion.
The truth is that physical exercise alone cannot help one to remain healthy all the time. you need to have a good wife who knows the importance of balanced diet.
I have often said that good health is a combination of factors. You need to free your mind from worries which ultimately lead to stress. You need to eat balanced diets and exercise your body regularly.
Besides, I don’t subscribe to the idea of refrigerating your food. I don’t believe that it is good for a healthy living. In my own house, everything must be fresh. I relish eating fresh food, not one that had been refrigerated. More importantly too, you must control your eating habit.


Every year, you mark your birthday with pomp and ceremony. How is your 76th birthday going to look like?

Things will unfold themselves as we approach the D-day. I am always amazed how things turn out on each of my birthday anniversary.
The truth is that whether I make effort or not, the celebration is always improving every year. I pray that God Almighty will let us excel also this year.



Sir, some of your critics are of the opinion that the Esama indulges in yearly birthday celebration because he has plenty of money to throw around. Can that be true?

I don’t agree with those people. There is nobody who does not have money. There are people who have as much money as I have but it all depends on your principle, belief and perception to life. It is a matter of how you value your life and what you want to do


with it.
But that apart, I am an ardent follower of Jesus Christ. Christ is our example. Please don’t misconstrue me because I cannot equate myself with the Lord Jesus Christ, but we have to emulate Him. We celebrate the birth of Christ every year. If that is so, then it means that one’s birthday is also worth celebrating.

Besides, my bible tells me that the Israelites after achieving an outstanding victory at Shushan, declared a day of celebration, feasting and sending of portions to one another.

However, is it not more noble to celebrate than to mourn? Learn to thank God for what he has done for you.

That is why I celebrate. It is a time for family re-union, bringing friends of the household of Igbinedion to jointly express our gratitude to God Almighty.
My friend, every life is worth celebrating.

At a time, like this what is your message to your teeming supporters and well wishers?

First, I am immensely grateful to His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Erediauwa, Oba of Benin, for the peaceful reign in his kingdom. As the Esama of Benin Kingdom, my heart and loyalty goes to the Oba.

I am also grateful to members and friends of the household of Igbinedion. I pray that God will reciprocate to them, the love and respect they have shown to me all these years.
For 46 years, I have celebrated my birthday anniversary. Without their presence, their support and prayers, we wouldn’t have been where we are today. God richly reward them all.