Adieu Godwin Ovhiagele.
In July 1974 we were doing a holiday job at the University of Benin farm having been employed by the then Bendel State Military Government. Our job was to learn to use the tractor to weed, till and plough the farm land.
We were all enthusiastic, about thirty of us in total. Within a week of working together, we formed ourselves into small groups of about six to ten of us based on our own choosing and personal likeness. Mr Akangbo (Microbiology), Mr Ikpomwonsa Ikuero(Economics), Student G (pharmacy), Wilfred Obakpolor(Geology) Stephen Ogbonmwan(Medicine) Osawe Osawaru (Chemistry), Augustine Omorogbe( Microbiology) etc
We were from various backgrounds and from different Universities but mainly from Uniben but we had a strong bond then and that was our knowledge of contemporary issues both local and international. We all had regular supply of Time magazine and Newsweek which we invested in from our meagre pocket money. And some had the red book; the thoughts of Mao Tsetung. We voraciously read every news item including the Nigerian Observer newspaper.
We knew of every event in Cambodia, the Middle East Crisis, the Vietnam War, to the number of war heads the then Soviet Union and the Americans had targeted at each other’s city. I can recall we used to quote Henry Kissinger the then US Secretary of State word for word. One could say we were very current with world and Nigerian affairs.
One of us was reading pharmacy at Ife then. He was tall, very friendly and handsome. He had a welcoming smile always and sounded very intelligent and obviously intelligent and hard working. The wittiest of us from Uniben, Fon Doubry could make anyone of us laugh. This pharmacy student could hold us spell bound for hours with his humour and wittiness.
At the end of the three months holiday job we had exchanged university addresses and some of us including myself had even visited his home at Akpakpava Street before going back to Uni (campus) as we called it then.
That Pharmacy student from University of Ife was Mr. Godwin Oviaghele.
We continued to see and communicate with one another sometimes as responsibilities permitted, until he began to court his wife while I was an intern at the UBTH. He held all of us doctors and midwives under his spell whenever he visited. You cannot help liking him. He was just too refined with amazing deportment and dapper.
I recall some of our friends used to tell him he was stealing ‘our show’ and the usual response would always be a broad smile. Two weeks after his wedding, something happened and when we accosted him, his reasons satisfied everyone and above all one cannot help liking him. We accepted as we could not fault him.
We were again both in the State Hospital Management Board at about the same time and then he was getting fed up with pharmacy and commenced his law studies which he finished in no time.
Mr Godwin Ovaigele could fit into any group and feel at home. No wonder he was made a Commissioner so soon during his short time in politics. He was very energetic and he must have employed that in his desire to complete the Women and Children’s Hospital in Benin. With his smiles and good humour he could obtain two days job from a worker for one day’s pay.
As I was informed or learnt later he chose his time of passing soon after his completion of a task which to others seemed impossible at the beginning and after a well received presentation during the last Edo State Exco meeting
Yesterday, his body was committed to mother earth.
May his soul rest in the bosom of the Lord Almighty;
May his wives, children and all members of his family have the courage to bear this irreparable.
Edo State has definitely lost a good, hardworking and productive human being.
Adieu Godwin Ovhiagele.