June 17, 2009

Edo PDP chairman dies in auto crash

By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—TRAGEDY has struck Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as its state chairman, Chief Samson Ekhabafe, has lost his life in a ghastly multiple accident which occurred at the entrance to the Benedictine Monastery, Ewu, along the Benin-Auchi highway on Sunday.

Ekhabafe, who was until his death, the chairman of the National Executive Committee-harmonized state executive council of the party in Edo State, died along with his first son (Ighodaro) said to be a lawyer, his police orderly and driver simply identified as Alhassan.

They were said to be on their way to Benin from his village in Akoko-Edo local government area of the state when a tanker loaded with petroleum products lost control and ram into his vehicle.

Eye witness account said that following the explosion of the tanker which has already spewed out its contents on the other vehicles involved in the accident, five persons were burnt beyond recognition, including Ekhabafe and others in his vehicle.

Vanguard reported on Tuesday that five persons were burnt beyond recognition at the Monastery gate at Ewu, along the ever busy Benin – Auchi- Abuja highway following a ghastly road accident..

Top leaders of the party in the state, including deputy state vice chairman of the party, Mr. Clement Edo-Osagie, confirmed the death of the party stalwart.

Vanguard further learnt that on hearing the sad news, chieftains of the party rushed to the scene of the accident, with a view to exhuming the remains of the victims for a proper burial as they were said to have been buried in a shallow grave at the scene of the accident.

The State House of Assembly, it was learnt, hurriedly adjourned its sitting yesterday when the news of Ekhabafe’s death was broken to them.

Ekhabafe’s foray into the murky waters of politics began during the Second Republic and was one of the youngest commissioners appointed into the government of Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia in 1983 before that government was sent packing by the military.

In 1999, he joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and held the portfolio of the Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice during the tenure of Chief Lucky Igbinedion’s administration.

He was also in the cabinet of ex-governor Oserhieme Osunbor as Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources before resigning for higher positions in the party.

A team player and grass roots politician, the late Ekhabafe was very straight forward and vocal and held tenaciously to what he believed in.