Clara Oshiomhole: The 'general' at home

VANGUARD Newspaper

BENIN—IT was shocking and sad for the people of Edo State, as they woke up yesterday, to hear about the death of the First Lady of the state, Mrs Clara Oshiomhole (nee Akharagbon), who has been busy preparing for the traditional wedding ceremony of her daughter, Jane, scheduled for this weekend.

Late Mrs Clara Oshiomhole

She passed on at exactly 10:53pm on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at the Abuja Clinic, Maitama, after a protracted battle with breast cancer. She was 54 years old. The news of her death was received with shock by the Governor who was still busy with political meetings at his office when the news came to him.

Bereaved Oshiomhole strolled out of his office in deep thought and wept uncontrollably. He could not hold it as expected and immediately left for Abuja by road at about 1am. The Edo State Government House suddenly became calm like a graveyard. The shocking death of the First lady affected the entire congresses of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the state.

It was also confusion and disbelief for the people of Okhangbe, in Ewohimi, Esan South East Local Government Area of Edo State, where she hailed from. The people were yet to digest the sad story when Vanguard visited. One Mrs Grace Akhabue, who described herself as a sister to the deceased, told newsmen that “we only heard it as a rumour but we have not heard from our in-law, the governor.

We don’t believe it yet until we hear from our in-law,” she said.

A Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, governorship aspirant, Mr Ken Imasuagbon, who also is from Ewohimi, as the deceased First Lady, expressed shock when he spoke to Vanguard yesterday. He asserted: “Ewohimi has lost a great daughter.”

However a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Pally Iriase, said: “The Government of Edo State announces the untimely death of Her Excellency, Mrs Clara Oshiomhole, wife of the Governor of the State, Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole. She was 54 years old.

“Until her death, the Edo State First lady was a solid pillar behind her husband, the governor, through his days as a frontline labour activist and through the struggle to reclaim his mandate freely given to him by the good people of Edo State.She was the initiator of the Health Foundation for Maternal and Child Care, a pet project which is aimed at providing quality healthcare for pregnant women and the girl-child.

“Condolence registers have been opened at the Government House, Osadebey Avenue, Benin City; the State Secretariat, Sapele road, Benin City; the Ministry of Information, Ezoti Street, Benin City; Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre, Airport Road, Benin City; the family’s residence, 21, Niger Street, off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja, the family’s residence, Iyamho, Etsako West Local Government Area, Edo State; Edo House, 75, Ralph Shodeinde Street, Central Area, Abuja and Edo State Liaison office, Plot 1225, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos and Akharagbon family residence, Okaigben, Ewohimi, Esan South-East Local Government Area, Edo State.

“She is survived by five children – Cyril, Winnie, Jane, Steve and Adams Jnr. She will be deeply missed by her husband, the Governor; her children, the people and government of Edo State.May her soul rest in peace, Amen” it stated.


First Civilian Governor of Edo state, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, former Deputy Governor of the state, Rev. Peter Obadan, former Chief of General Staff, Admiral Mike Akhigbe and the former Senate Chief Whip, Senator Rowland Owie, Chairman of the PDP in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, Esogban of Benin Kingdom,and others, described her death as shocking sad for the people of the state.

Chief Oyegun- Clara Oshiomhole’s death was a great tragedy personally to the husband and to the state in general.Mrs Oshiomhole was very supportive, very quiet, very unassuming and very courageous. We are sad at what has happened. We all pray that God will give her husband, her children and family.

Admiral Akhigbe- We are saddened by the news of the transition to eternal glory of her Excellency Mrs Clara Oshiomhole. Clara was the trusted wife, caring companion and the most loyal Comrade in all the life’s struggle of Comrade Oshiomhole. She was a bridge builde and a community mobilize among our people. We shall surely miss he, but consoled that she fulfilled her promise and God’s purpose in her life. May the Lord grant her eternal peace and Heaven, Amen”.

Peter Obadan-The death is a big loss to the entire state. We had a pious humble and well cultured woman as first lady for the first time. She was not corky or bossy. She practiced what she believed in. it’s a big blow to the entire state and I feel particularly touched because this is the first time we are having a woman that is not carried away by the issue of being a first lady. She is down to earth and humble and I feel very very sorry for the husband because I am certain that she would have been a big pillar of support to such a man. For the children, my hearth goes out to them. The state has lost a woman. She is a woman you cannot stop loving.

Owie-It is a great loos to Edo state and a great loss to all but above all a great loss to the earthly kingdom of the blessed Virgin Mary. The family and all of us are consoled that she lived a worthy life of humility true devotion to our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ and was consistent in her devotion our Lady of the Rosary. Above all she died on the Feast Day of Immaculate Conception”.

Chief Dan Orbih, “It is a big loss to the state and the nation, especially at this critical time that her motherly love and support for the husband and the state is most required. On behalf of the entire members of the PDP, Edo state, I hereby wish to express our heartfelt condolence to the governor, his family and the good people of Edo state. We pray God almighty to give her gentle soul eternal rest. We also pray God to grant the governor, Adams Oshiomhole, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

Esogban of Benin Kingdom, Chief Edebiri- It is sad and still unbelievable. It pleased God to call her home when her services to the state are most needed. She has been a very strong backbone to the governor of the state all through his trials and travails. Now that the governor is set to reposition and transform the state his better half is no longer there. We pray that God almighty will give her a resting place in his heavenly kingdom. I wish the Comrade Governor and the entire family the courage and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”


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