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The Great Life of A Pioneer

Igbinedion as a Benin family name is now a household word. It has become synonymous with Aviation, Industry, Education, Finance, Medical Care and Rural Development at local, national and international levels. The man who has made this possible in Africa is Sir (Dr.) Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin Kingdom.

Chief Igbinedion has attained great heights in life reminiscent of great achievers. He is a philanthropist and and a humanist of national dimensions and an industrialist of international fame...read on




Some years ago, the Lord spoke to me in a dream, that I should build two (2) churches (one in my residential premises to be known as God's Historic Chapel) which I should personally supervise and another one along Sapele Road, Benin City which He did not give a name and which He said I must not be involved in its management. All he required of me was to build the Church and donate it to one of the Christian denominations.

In obedience to God's directive, I built God's Historic Chapel on my residential premises in 1997.

Some time later, news reached me that a dear friend and prominent Benin man and his son had problems with a Bank and the man wanted to sell one of his landed property on Sapele Road, Benin City for the sum of N1.8m (one million eight hundred thousand naira). At the same time, the man's son sold his two houses in Kaduna to me to enable him sort out himself with his creditors.

Before I could finish with the man's son, the man had sold his piece of land on Sapele Road to another person. When I asked why he did not wait for me to buy the property he replied thus: "When fire is in pursuit of father and child, each of them bids for his own safety, forgetting the other."

A few years later, I got news that the person who bought the piece of land on Sapele Road had a financial problem and was willing to sell the said piece of land. I approached him and requested him to sell the land to me but he told me that he was willing to sell the land for the sum of N50m (fifty million naira). I was flabbergasted and asked him why he wanted
to sell a piece of land he bought for only N1.8m a few years back for a whopping sum of N50m (fifty million naira). He told me he would not budge.

While I was still in search for a piece of land on Sapele Road, a family friend informed me that the new owner of the piece of land was about selling the said land to another person for the sum ofN40m (forty million naira) and that she could influence the man to sell the land to me if I agreed to pay the sum of N45m (forty five million naira).

In consideration of God's immense love for me and my family over the years and His bountiful blessings upon my life, I realized that no amount of money was too much for me to spend to glorify His name. Consequently, I immediately issued a cheque for the sum of N45m to the new owner of the land. I gave another sum of N5m to the woman who intervened on my behalf and a sum of N1 m to another person who was part of the negotiation.

After commencing the construction of the Church which I intended to donate to one of the Christian denominations in commemoration of my 70th birthday in the year 2004, I was in a quandary about which Christian denomination would become the beneficiary of the Church on completion.

As I was struggling with the thought of which denomination to donate the new Church, God asked me in a dream: "which Church did you start your early life?" It was then I remembered that I commenced my Primary Education at the Roman Catholic Primary School, Okada. I was now convinced which Christian denomination would become the beneficiary of the new Church.

A few days after my interaction with God, the Rev. Theophilus Uwaifo of the Catholic Church, Ugbowo, Benin City visited me and we drove together to the site of the new Church at Sapele Road where I informed him that I wanted to donate the Church to the Catholic Mission. The priest was so elated by the news that he immediately proceeded to inform His Grace Archbishop Patrick Ebosele Ekpu of my gesture.

When His Grace Archbishop Ekpu visited the Church to see the place for himself, he was visibly overwhelmed with joy. It was there and then that His Grace Archbishop Ekpu christened the new Church: ST. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL CATHOLIC CHURCH.

Thereafter, arrangement was made for the legal transfer of the entire land and church to become the sole property of the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin.

On the occasion of the commissioning of the new Church by Archbishop Ekpu, I pledged to contribute the sum of N50,000,000.00 (fifty million naira) to the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin to enable it build a larger Church on the same parcel of land.

Although I honourably fulfilled my pledge, I later observed after some time that no appreciable progress was being made on the building of the new Church. As a result I decided to collaborate with the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin to have the Church ready for commissioning on the occasion of my 74th Birthday. The result of our collaboration is what we are all here to witness today.

It must be mentioned with a profound sense of gratitude to God the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, that over the years, He has strengthened my arm and provided me resources to build an interdenominational chapel and a mosque on the premises of Igbinedion University Okada in 1994. He made it possible for me to build a 4000 capacity Church for the Baptist Mission at Okada where my kith and kin and the generality of people in neighbouring towns and villages worship.

I also built an interdenominational school chapel at Igbinedion Education Centre for students, staff and parents to worship. Presently I am building a mosque which is near completion for the use of our Muslim students, staff and parents of our school community along with our PTA.

Apart from building God's Historic Chapel on my residential premises, I have found immeasurable pleasure in committing part of my resources by way of donations to churches of diverse denominations in Nigeria over the years.

I would like on this auspicious and historic occasion to appreciate the invaluable contribution of Rev. Father Ehigie with whom I started the project and Rev. Father Agbonlahor who succeeded him and continued the execution of the project with such an unbelievable enthusiasm.

I must not fail to place on record, my deep sense of gratitude to Rev. Father Theophilus Uwaifo for his passionate interest, immeasurable encouragement and constant prayers for the realization of my dream. It behoves me also to pay tributes to His Grace Archbishop Ebosele Ekpu a worthy servant in the house of the Lord who upon beholding the place instantaneously named it "ST. GABRIEL THE ARCHANGEL CATHOLIC CHURCH" without any hesitation.

I should say here that I am totally overwhelmed by the fatherly and friendly disposition of the new Catholic Archbishop of Benin Diocese, His Grace, Archbishop Burke, the successor to Archbishop Ekpu who has been doing everything within his power to ensure the completion and official commissioning of St. Gabriel The Archangel Catholic Cathedral.

Above all, I must say that I have been greatly inspired by the thousands of Catholic faithfuls who attend the St. Gabriel The Archangel Catholic Church every Sunday. This is an incontrovertible evidence of the fact that God indeed has commissioned and blessed this project.

My appreciation goes to the rib of my rib Lady Cherry Igbinedion my beloved wife, whom only the Lord will reward for sharing my dreams, I have had her encouragement, steadfastness and prayers throughout this project and our life's journey.

History is replete with the names of men who had the ambition to build a house for the Lord but could not accomplish it. I must say at this junction that I now feel a great sense of fulfilment that I have done the Lord's will and I am grateful to God for the privilege He granted me to glorify His name. May all those who walk through these doors be blessed!

Glory be to God.

His Excellency
Sir Chief Dr. G.O. Igbinedion, JP, GCKB, LLD, D.LITT, CON
Esama of Benin Kingdom.














A great son of Africa who has become a towering international success. This is the powerful moving biography of one man's determination to win- H. R. H. Oba Lamidi Adeyemi lll, The Alaafin of Oyo
This remarkable biography weaves the story of an endlessly fascinating man, his family and business empire- Dr. Brian Aghedo PhD
Do you have what it takes to be an industrialist, businessman and philanthropist? Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion's life story tell how, withouth mortaginng your soul- Chief Pearnel Charles, Jamaica
Sir Igbinedion is a great man of trmemendous and unqualified resources. His humility and great service to humanity coupled with his willingness to help the less-privileged has earned him respect and admiration the world over- Prince Abubakar Audu, former executive governor of Kogi State, Nigeria.
Igbinedion does not believe in failure, he says, "don't be afraid, everyone has them and sometimes they can be resurrected with resounding success- Alfred Eghobamien Esq.SAN

A few Acknowledgements of Chief Igbinedion's Sense of Philanthropy

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