timeline

BEFORE 2019 - AFTER 2019

EARLY LIFE AT OKADA Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion was born on the 11th of September 1934, to the humble family of Chief Josiah Oviawe Igbinedion and Madam Okunozee Igbinedion at Okada Village, in the present Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State. He is the only surviving child of both parents. His mother Okunozee Igbinedion was the daughter of the Ihaza of Usen, a descendant of the Usen Royal family with a proud history. The young Igbinedion had some philosophical interpretations for his name leaving positive impressions of what life had in store for him right from the beginning. He likened his name Gabriel to Angel Gabriel of the Holy Bible fame and interpreted Osawaru, as the messenger of God. The relevance of these philosophical interpretations is not as much in the meaning of his names, as it is in the positive impact they had on the thinking of the young Igbinedion. Indeed, the name Gabriel was given to him by T.J. Akagbosu, his former school teacher, who likened the young Osawaru to Angel Gabriel. Osawaru's family, humble as it was, exhibited rare leadership qualities which comprised the foundation stone upon which Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion eventually developed. Osawaru's father, Chief Josiah Agharagbon Oviawe Igbinedion was the founder of the present Okada when he initiated the movement from the old Okada with his friends and relatives to establish the new settlement in 1929. The shifting of base from the old to the new Okada some five kilometers away was motivated by the desire to settle near the new road being constructed at that time. Chief Josiah Igbinedion seemed to have bestowed upon the young Osawaru the qualities of leadership that had driven him to begin the establishment of the new Okada Village before he died. The young Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion took after his father making the development of the new Okada community his primary objective. His love for his people and the desire to actualise his dreams were paramount in his decision to move to Benin City, to continue his education which was cut short as a result of his father's death. Moreover, his movement to Benin was necessitated by the fact that at that time Okada Primary School offered tuition up to class three only. Thus most pupils who began school at Okada eventually ended up in Benin. He was one of them. He had began his primary education at the Roman Catholic School, Okada, now known as St. Gabriel's Primary School Okada, and when he moved to Benin, he enrolled finally at the Benin Baptist School, now known as Emokpae Primary School on Mission Road in Benin City, after short periods at Ezomo Baptist School and Ore Oghene Primary School all located in Benin City. His movement to Benin was motivated by a number of factors, fundamental amongst which was the death of his father. Being of a humble home he was not in the position to continue his education without his father and had to seek the support of others. This was why he came to live in Benin City as a househelp to among others, Mr. Samson Aiwekhoe Idahosa, a Forest Guard at Okada who enrolled him at the Benin Baptist School. In an interview, Mr. Idahosa disclosed that he brought the young Osawaru to settle in Benin City and that all he brought along with him were a few clothes purchased partly with the reclaimed bride price of twelve pounds which his father had paid on a young wife who was yet to join him before he died.

Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion is the Esama of the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria

Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion is the Esama of the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria