BORN in 1918 at Okobia to the the Gbinije Royal Family of Okobia in Okpe Local Government Area(Paternal) and the Agbarha/Akpeta Family of Evwreyin-Ugolo in Okpe Local Government Area all of Delta State, Nigeria and consistent with the Achebian dictum that “the chick that will grow old will be known the day it is born”, Chief Patrick A. Gbinije started displaying infantile vibrancy and unusual finesse at very early age.
Being a precocious child prodigy, he got admitted into the Native Authority School, Sapele, where he excelled in academics and sports. He then proceeded by dint of intellectual brilliance and the support of his maternal Uncle, Mr Stephen Ogbogbo, to St. Gregory’s College, Lagos (1944-1947) and became a London matriculant in 1949.
Due to pecuniary doldrums, he branched-off his academic boulevard and joined BEWAC LTD as a Manager in 1949 and displayed his managerial wizardry till 1956.
In his quest for greater laurels in the business field he resigned honorably and became a dealer under Total Oil Products (Nig) Limited and had his filling station at Mission Road, Benin-City.
As a man with juvenescent valour, business acuity and a gregarious disposition, he gained dealership under Niger Motors Ltd (UAC Conglomerate) and specialized in the sales, repairs and distribution of Bedford lorries, Lucas Batteries, spare parts and all their accessories. He was voted 23 times as the Niger Motors (UAC) all-round dealer.
He went on to gain dealership with Walparmur Paints and Nido Gas. His name became synonymous with efficiency and prudence in business. He was a transporter and dealer for Agip (Nig.) Ltd.
He changed from dealership logos and insignia to his own limited liability company (Pagson Motors Ltd) and proceeded to expand and made more forays into the petroleum marketing area and became a licensed independent marketer of petroleum product with stations at the Airport Road and Udu Road.
He was an investment guru and had investments in properties, stocks and bonds. He is the owner of De Mustard Hotel, a three-star standard hotel located at Effurun.
Chief P.A Gbinije was an astute lincolnian and consummate politician and one of the rare politicians who never lost in any election all through his political career from 1953 to 1983. He was the Midwest Democratic Front, MDF, member representing Urhobo West IV (1955).
He became the Action Group, AG, Councilor, Chairman Western Urhobo Disrtict Council(1955-1962); Chairman Committee of Management, Sapele Urban District Council(1961-1962); Chairman, Western Urhobo Divisional Council; Secretary, Okpe Land Trust and Chairman Okpe/Sapele Land Trust.
He contested and won election under the banner of NPN to represent Ethiope South at the National Assembly (1979-1983).He was re-elected again in 1983, but the tenure ship was botched by the Buhari/Idiagbon coup of 1983. He then withdrew from active politics but played the role of political godfather and adviser to many politicians. It must be recorded for posterity that Chief P.A Gbinije was in the vanguard of those that fought for the creation of Mid West Region/state from the old Western Region and he stood and worked assiduously to ensure that Bendel State and later Delta State were created. Indeed, he paid his political dues and championed state and national courses to ensure a progressive political template and ambience. We state with unequivocal clarity and pertinacious exactitude that Chief Patrick Agoghi Gbinije was one of the veritable fathers of modern Delta State.
Chief P.A Gbinije was an uncompromising traditionalist and an arrow head of customs and tradition, especially of Urhobo Nation. He became a gazetted Chief in 1955 and stands until his death as one of the most senior chiefs not only in Okpe land, but also in the totality of the Urhobo land. He was made the Okpagha of Okpe Kingdom by the late Esezi II Orodje of Okpe Kingdom in 1955 and worked under three Orodjes with honour. He worked with Spartan verve during the period of interregnum in Okpe kingdom following the passing-on of Ororho 1 Orodje of Okpe Kingdom and fought with Trogan elan to ensure the peaceful transition of power to (HRM) Orhue 1 Orodje of Okpe Kingdom.
Orime festival which is a cultural melting pot of the Mereje people of Okpe Kingdom considered him to be the hallmark and arrow head of the festival as songs and dance steps are taken in his name.
He has a lineage of consanguinity of blood with the four ruling houses of Orhue, Ebvreke Ororho and Esezi.
There is no way the history of Okpe nationalism and its traditional institutions are written without the name of Chief P.A Gbinije being marked in the sands of time, etched in the hearts of men, chiseled in the rocks of history and written in letters of gold and sapphire. The Okpe Kingdom, Delta State and Nigeria will surely miss such a gargantuan Nestor and Solon.
O’, Whenst cometh such another. We remain inconsolable in our grief over such an insupportable loss. We take solace in the fact that he lived a fulfilled, honest and exemplary life, from which we like a man standing on the apex of the rhomboidal sign, Chief P.A Gbinije made religious adventures in life searching for the best way to worship and serve the Almighty God.
He made his mistakes, but at last became Born Again. He pitched his religious tent with the Catholic Church where he grew to become a great a soldier of the cross, and patron of many groups at the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Mr. BOBSON GBINIJE, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Warri, Delta State.