Edo is an inland state in the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria. It is bounded in the north and east by Kogi state, in the south by Delta state and the west by Ondo state. It was created on the 27th of August 1991 from the old Bendel state, with its capital in Benin City. Its current governor is Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomole. This article is about ten prominent Edo indigenes.
Osaze Odewingie was born in Russia on the 15th of July 1981 to a Nigerian father and a Russian mother. He currently plays as a forward for Stoke City FC in the English premier league.
He started his professional football career in 2000 with Bendel Insurance of Benin, before moving to France in 2002 where he played for La Louviere and Lille. In 2007, he moved to play for Locomotiv Moscow in Russia before moving to England in 2010 where he played for West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff City and Stoke City.
Odemwingie made his international debut in 2002 in a 3-0 victory over Kenya. He went on to win the Olympic silver medal in 2008 and captain the Super Eagles to reach the semi-finals of the 2010 Africa nations cup.
John Momoh was born in the 1st of July 1957. He is the chairman and CEO of Channels TV, an award winning 24 hour news and current affairs television station in Nigeria. He is regarded as one of the egg heads in news television broadcasting in Nigeria.
He founded channels TV in 1995. Prior to that, he worked as news anchor, senior reporter and producer at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
He received the national honour of Officer of the order of the Niger in 2005, Lifetime Achievement Award by Nigeria Information Society amongst others.
Apart from running Channels TV, he has served as juror for the Emmy Awards and currently serves as a juror for the Association of International Broadcasters awards.
John Odigie Oyegun was born on the 12th of August 1939. He attended the Sacred Heart School Warri, and Holy Cross Catholic School Benin for his primary school education. He went to St Patricks College Asaba, from where he proceeded to the University of Benin where he graduated with a degree in Economics.
Chief Oyegun joined the federal civil service where he rose to become a permanent secretary from where he retired voluntarily and ventured into private business.
In 1991, he ran for the office of governor of Edo State and won but was later remove from office when General Abacha seized power
Chief Oyegun is still very active in politics. He is currently the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Raymond Dokpesi is a media mogul, the founder of Africa Independent Television (AIT). He was born in 1957 at Ibadan. His parents are from Agenebode in Edo state. He started his schooling at the Loyola College Ibadan, from where he proceeded to the Immaculate Conception College, Benin City. After his secondary education, he proceeded to the University of Benin. He earned a Doctorate degree in Marine Engineering from the University of Gdansk, Poland.
He flirted briefly with the civil service in the ministry of transport, and the shipping business with the Africa Ocean Lines.
In 1994, he launched Raypower, the first private FM station in Nigeria, proceeding to start Africa Independent Television (AIT).
He is a trailblazer in the broadcasting industry in Nigeria and has such firsts such as the first satellite TV from Nigeria and the first 24 hours TV station in Nigeria.
Chief Dokpesi is a vibrant politician and philanthropist.
Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen was born in Benin City on the 21st of July 1971. He is a renowned movie director, producer and screenwriter
He has been active in the industry since 1991 and is regarded as one of the founding fathers of Nollywood cinema.
He has produced and directed over 160 movies, working with the very best of Nollywood actors and winning several awards.
Dr. Samuel Osaigbovo Ogbemudia was born in Benin City on the 17th of September 1932. He attended the Benin Baptist School, the government school, Victoria, Cameroon, and Western Boys High School, Benin City.
He joined the Nigerian army in 1957 where he rose through the ranks and was appointed Military administrator of the then Mid-West state in September 1967 after the civil war where he played a key role in the liberation of the state from the Biafran forces. It was in this position that he made his name as an astute administrator and leader, leading reconstruction efforts, improvement in sports, urban development, education, public transportation and commerce. Notably, he built the Ogbe Sports Stadium now renamed Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
He was retired from the Nigerian army as a Brigadier General
In October 1983, he was elected civilian governor of the then Bendel state, but his tenure was cut short after General Buhari became ruler following a coup d’état.
He also served as minister of Labour and Productivity in the administration of General Sani Abacha.
Dr Ogbemudia has continued to serve the good people of Edo state in various capacities.
Sir Victor Uwaifo is a multi-talented musician, writer, sculptor and musical instrument inventor. He was born in Benin City on the 1st of March, 1941.
He attended the prestigious Western Boys High School Benin, and St Gregory’s College, Lagos. He then went to study graphics at the College of Technology Yaba, obtained a bachelor’s degree (First Class) and master’s degree from the University of Benin, Benin City in fine and applied arts.
The Ekassa crooner started his musical career in the 1960s, churning out smash hits such as “Joromi”, “IGiodo Giodo” and “Guitar Boy”, a song he claims was inspired by an encounter with a mermaid in Bar Beach, Lagos.
He was awarded with the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON); the first professional musician to receive such award, Honorary Member of the Biographical Advisory Council, Cambridge, England, member of the Performing Right Society and Advisory Board of American Heritage University, California
He has performed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Ghana, and other countries. He was the first African to win the Philips’ Golden record.
Pastor Chris as he is popularly called is easily one of the most recognizable faces from Edo State. He is a pastor, television minister / host, philanthropist and author. He was born on the 7th of December, 1961.
He is the founder and president of the Believers LoveWorld Incorporated, also known as “Christ Embassy”. He started his ministry while he was a student at the Edo state University Ekpoma, now Ambrose Alli University. His ministry has come a long way from the humble beginnings at Ekpoma, growing to several arms which include the Healing School, Rhapsody of Realities which is the most translated devotional in the world (600 translations), Innercity missions (an NGO), and three television channels (LoveWorld TV, LoveWorld SAT and LoveWorld Plus)
Forbes evaluated him in 2011 as having a net worth of between 30 to 50 million dollars comprising of newspapers, magazines, television, hotels and extensive real estate.
Archbishop Margaret Idahosa was born into the royal family of Benin on 29th of July 1943. She is the wife of the great televangelist, the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa. She was ordained as a pastor in 1983 and made bishop on the 24th of May, 1998. She is the Archbishop of the Church of God Mission International which has hundreds of thousands of worshipers worldwide, Chancellor of Benson Idahosa University and Vice President of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches.
She currently pastors the Faith Miracle Centre, the 5,000 seating capacity headquarters of the Church Of God Mission Worldwide and also runs the Word of Faith Group of Schools as well as the Faith Medical Centre.
She together with her husband have preached the gospel in over 140 countries, covering all the continents of the world.
She is also a renowned philanthropist.
Chief Igbinedion is a billionaire business man and investor and also one of the most illustrious sons of Edo state. He was born on the 11th of September 1934 in Okada, Edo State. He started his education at the Catholic Primary School Okada, attended the Benin Baptist Primary School, from where he proceeded to the Eko Boys High School Lagos. The young Igbinedion returned to Okada to teach briefly before taking up appointment as a Messenger in the Benin Divisional Council where he served until he joined the Police Force (PC No. 12647) in 1959. In 1963, he resigned from the Police Force to join Leventis Motors, before going ahead to form Mid Motors in 1968. In 1972, the Mid Motors truck assembly plant was commissioned in Nigeria, gulping the colossal sum of two million pounds.
At the age of 30, the great chief bought his first house in London for five thousand pounds. He established Okada Airline in 1983, which grew to have a fleet of forty (40) aircraft amongst which were the iconic Boeing 747 (then largest aircraft in the world before the introduction of the Airbus A-380) and the BAC 1-11 aircraft.
In 1974, he was conferred with the prestigious title of Esama of Benin Kingdom by Oba Akenzua II.
He has established well over fifteen companies and institutions, spanning various sectors of the economy such as Igbinedion Education Centre, Igbinedion University Okada, Independent Television and Radio, Crown Estate Limited, Nigeria Salt Factory, Cable and Rods (Nigeria) Limited, amongst others.
Chief Igbinedion is also a renowned philanthropist.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Honorary mention goes out to Comrade Adams Oshiomole, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Mike Ozekhome SAN, Austin Eguavoen, Ifueko Omoigui Okauru and Sir J.I.A. Arumemi – Ikhide.