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Margaret Obaigbena
•Oba of Benin, Olu of Warri, Obi of Agbor, Shonekan, Irabor, Clark, others also mourn matriarch

Ejiofor Alike, Gboyega Akinsanmi in Lagos and Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

More eminent Nigerians have continued to send condolence messages to the Chairman of THISDAY/ARISE Media Group, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, commiserating with him over the passage of his mother, Princess Margaret Obaigbena.

Among the personalities are former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd); former President Goodluck Jonathan; a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd); former running mate to the winner of the 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; and the Deputy President of the Senate, Senate Ovie Omo-Agege.

Others include the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Dr Benedict Okey Oramah; Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele; his wife, Margaret; and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Jim Ovia.

Among those who condoled with the Obaigbena Royal Family include The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II; Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse III; Dein of Agbor, Benjamin Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi 1; Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor; Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain, Ambassador Demola Seriki; his counterpart in Germany, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar; wife of the former Head of Interim National Government, Mrs Margaret Shonekan; former Director of Military Intelligence, Brig. Gen Halilu Akilu (rtd); elder statesman, Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark; former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mohammed Uwais, his wife, Mariam; former governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi; former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; and a former Governor of Edo State, Mr Lucky Igbinedion.

Others are the Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Muhammad Nami; Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello Koko; Chairman of Globacom, Chief Mike Adenuga; Group Managing Director of Oando Plc, Mr Wale Tinubu; Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo; and founder of Arik Air, Chief Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide.

A former Inspector General (IG) of Police, Mr Solomon Arase; former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Michael Aondoakaa (SAN); former Minister of Special Duties, Mr Yomi Edu; former Minister of State for Defence, Mr Musliu Obanikoro; and former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus have also expressed their condolences to the Obaigbena family.

Other eminent personalities and captains of industry who have equally expressed their condolences over the demise of the matriarch of the Obaigbena family include the founding Managing Director of Agusto & Co, Mr Bode Agusto; founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Anap Business Jets Limited, Mr Atedo Peterside; former Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; Chair of Metis Partners Capital, Mr Hakeem Belo-Osagie; founder and Chairman of Aluko & Oyebode, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode; the Erelu of Lagos, HRH Abiola Dosunmu; and former governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos State, Mr Jimi Agbaje.

Media gurus such as former Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr Chike Ogeah; the Publisher of The Guardian, Mrs Maiden Ibru; Chairman of Media Trust Limited, Publishers of Daily Trust Newspapers, Kabiru Yusuf; veteran journalist, Mr Ray Ekpu; former Chairman of Punch Newspapers, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola; and the former Chairman of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, have also sent their condolence messages to the Obaigbena family.

Renowned English model, actress and businesswoman, Naomi Campbell; and renowned British fashioner designer, Ozwald Boateng, also condoled with the family of Obaigbena.

In their separate condolence messages, the eminent personalities also sympathised with the Royal Family of Owa Kingdom led by the Obi of Owa Kingdom, HRM Emmanuel Efeizomor, describing the passage of Princess Obaigbena as the celebration of life and times of the matriarch of Obaigbena Royal Family.

Princess Obaigbena, who passed away at the age of 87 after a brief illness Friday, left her footprints as the Chief Nursing Officer in old Bendel State and later, Delta State, where she served meritoriously.

Besides, the matriarch also served three successive governments in Delta State as Special Adviser, deploying her robust wealth of experience in health sector management to serve her people, community and the state.

The late princess was born in Enugu on August 16, 1934, to Pa Paul Owakwe and Mrs Grace Osinole Usifoh of Owa Kingdom, Ika North East Local Government Area, Delta State.

In his condolence message yesterday, Jonathan described Princess Obaigbena as an outstanding matriarch and a celebrated leader, who dedicated her life in service to God and humanity.

He said the late matriarch left enduring legacies in works of charity and worthy contributions to the growth of the society, praying that God would grant her soul eternal rest.

“On behalf of my family, I convey our deepest condolences on the passing of your dear father, Princess Margaret Obaigbena, to eternal glory.

“It is always a painful experience to lose a loved one. The death of a mother makes it even more agonizing, considering the priceless roles mothers play in moulding the lives of individuals and in shaping and safeguarding our societal values.

“Your mother was an outstanding matriarch and celebrated leader who dedicated her life in service to God and humanity. She distinguished herself as an accomplished health worker in her works of charity and community service.

“Mrs Obaigbena’s exit would have left a deep void in your hearts and in the hearts of all those she dearly loved because of her exemplary care, sociability and high moral standards. May you all be comforted by the fact that your mother’s legacies and contributions to societal growth will continue to endure?”

On his part, the Deputy President of the Senate, Omo-Agege, also sympathised with Prince Obaigbena over the death of his mum.

Omo-Agege, in a statement by his media aide, Yomi Odunuga, in Abuja, said the late matriarch of the Obaigbena’s family, knew God, contributed to the cause of humanity, lived a fulfilled life and left behind, successful children.

In a letter he signed on behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of Zenith Bank Pic, Ovia also conveyed his deepest sympathies to Prince Obaigbena over his mother’s death.

The letter said the late matriarch “blazed the trail in the field of nursing, carving out a path for many women to follow. Her achievements were reflected in her role as the Chief Nursing Officer of Bendel State and later Delta State.

“Her public service contributions also span her role as Special Adviser to three Executive Governors of Delta State. The Obaigbena family and the Royal Family of Owa Kingdom have lost an illustrious daughter and a beloved princess.

“She devoted her life not only to her children ‘s prosperity but to the advancement of the community. She lived life to the full and left a legacy and her memory will live on. May God grant you, the Obaigbena family and the entire Owa Kingdom the fortitude to bear this loss,” Ovia said.

“I recall with nostalgia the love and warmth I received personally from mama over the years whenever we stop by her home in Agbor on my way from my home in Asaba. How can I ever forget mama’s homemade cooking and lots of stories of her time in the 1960s with my dad, who was then the Principal Medical Officer of the General Hospital, Benin?

“Mama left lasting legacies in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I hereby express my deepest condolences to the entire family of Obaigbena, especially my dear friend and brother, Prince Nduka Obaigbena.”