The pastoral town of Iyamho, hometown of the immediate National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, and two-term Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshimhole, witnessed a carnivalesque gathering of political heavyweights on Monday as the former labour leader clocked 69 years.
The 69th birthday festivities peaked with the donation of a multi-million naira modern church edifice to the St Joseph Catholic Church, Iyamho, by the celebrant.
Political friends and foes alike from all the nation’s political divides, gathered at the Country home of the former APC National Chairman to honour him at the landmark event.
The creme de la creme was led by the Edo State Deputy Governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu, who put political differences aside as he honoured his estranged political godfather and leader on the auspicious occasion.
Speaking at the dedication of the church and its Canonical Erection to a Parish, an elated Oshiomhole said that he got the inspiration for the design of the church while he was looking for sponsors for the state-owned Edo University whose academic activities would not be truncated by strikes and unstable academic calendar.
“I wanted a faith-based organisation particularly the Catholic Church to manage the University. I had the opportunity of visiting the Loyola College in Abuja and some Loyola Universities in the US so we visited their headquarters in New York that is Jesuit Headquarters and we had a conversation and I realised the amount of time it will take to be able to start would be long, we didn’t have that much time and I wanted the University to take off before the end of my tenure,” Oshiomhole went down the memory lane.
“After the conversation, my daughter Winifred took me to the Jesuit Church within the premises of that University. From outside, just like what we have here it looked this way but when you get inside the church, it was a fine design of plank and the administrator explained to us they used a plank to ensure that you don’t have to paint it every six months.
"So that was where I got the idea of this design and in the panelling of the wall, this time we used bamboo panelling because it is far stronger than wood and our hope and prayer is that it will last for a long time. So I am extremely humbled that I did not drop this idea at the airport as many of us do,” the former governor added.
Delivering his homily, the Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Most Rev. Dr Gabriel Dunia, praised Oshiomhole and his late wife, Clara Oshiomhiole, for their support for the Catholic Church.
” We were thinking of building a parish in their compound but Oshiomhole’s wife died and we thought that was the end but I was surprised that he said the building will commence and no longer inside their compound,” Bishop Dunia said.
Besides the donation of the church, a Clara Oshiomhole Multi-Purpose Hall was launched as part of the activities marking the 69th birthday anniversary.
The Chairman of the APC National Caretaker Committee, Mai Mala Buni, who was represented by former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Professor Stephen Ocheni, made a donation of N10m towards the hall, just as Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, represented by the Commissioner for Commerce, Simon Ebegbulem, also donated N10m.
Ogun State governor also sent a donation of N5m while Oshiomhole announced that the Lagos governor also promised to make donations later.
Among the dignitaries that graced the colourful ceremony were the Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba in attendance.
Senator Francis Alimikhena, Hon Dennis Idahosa, Hon Johnson Oghuma and many others were also in attendance. (Nigerian Tribune)