By Ozioruva Aliu
It was a gathering of political heavyweights across the three senatorial districts of Edo state and country particularly of the All Progressives Congress (APC) stock including the deputy governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shiabu when the former governor of Edo state and former National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole donated a multi-million naira church edifice for St Joseph Catholic Church in his Iyamho home town.
At the dedication of the church and its Canonical Erection to a Parish, Oshiomhole said he got the inspiration for the design of the church while he was looking for sponsors for the state-owned Edo University whose academic activities would not be truncated by strikes and unstable academic calendar.
He said “I wanted a faith-based organisation particularly the Catholic Church to manage the University. I had the opportunity of visiting the Loyola College in Abuja and some Loyola Universities in the US so we visited their headquarters in New York that is Jesuit Headquarters and we had a conversation and I realised the amount of time it will take to be able to start would be long, we didn’t have that much time and I wanted the University to take off before the end of my tenure.
“After conversation, my daughter Winifred took me to the Jesuit Church within the premises of that University. From outside, just like what we have here it looked this way but when you get inside the church, it was a fine design of plank and the administrator explained to us they used plank to ensure that you don’t have to paint it every six months. So that was where I got the idea of this design and in the panelling of the wall, this time we used bamboo panelling because it is far stronger than wood and our hope and prayer is that it will last for a long time. So I am extremely humbled that I did not drop this idea at the airport like many of us do”
In his homily, Catholic Bishop of Auchi Diocese, Most Rev. Dr Gabriel Dunia commended Oshiomhole and his late wife, Clara Oshiomhiole for their support for the Catholic Church.
He said “we were thinking of building a parish in their compound but Oshiomhole’s wife died and we thought that was the end but I was surprised that he said the building will commence and no longer inside their compound”
Also a Clara Oshiomhole Multi-Purpose Hall was launched where the National Chairman of the APC, Mai Mala Buni who was represented by former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Professor Stephen Ocheni made a donation of N10m.
Governor of Imo state, Hope Uzodinma who was represented by the Commissioner for Commerce, Simon Ebegbulem also donated N10m. Governor of Ogun state also sent a donation of N5m while his counterpart in Lagos Oshiomole said has promised to make donations later.
The colourful ceremony also had Minister of Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba in attendance.
Others included Senator Francis Alimikhena Hon Dennis Idahosa, Hon Johnson Oghuma, APC state house of assembly members-elect, former commissioners and other dignitaries.