BENIN CITY — the state Commissioner for Health, Pharm. Godwin Ovbiagele yesterday 11th May, 2007, slumped and died during a meeting of the state executive council. He was 54.
It was learnt that. Obviagele slumped after making his contribution at the meeting, which was described by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Kingsley Osadolor as the “most robust exco we have had since 2005 after the re-constitution of the cabinet”.
Governor Igbinedion hurriedly rushed to his residential building after his emotions betrayed him and later asked Mr Osadolor to brief the press on the incident. Osadolor said the governor was still in shock and devasted because he saw the commissioner slump and all efforts to revive him failed.
“He is devastated right now and cannot even speak”
According to him, “on behalf of His Excellency and members of the state Executive Council, it is with a big sense of grief that we announce the passing on of one of our best commissioners. The incident happened at about 1:30 p.m. The meeting had progressed this morning for about two hours when he slumped .
“Immediately it happened, the Head of Service who also is a doctor and other medical personnel tried to revive him before he was taken to the Central Hospital Annex which shares the same boundary with the Government House. When he was rushed to the hospital, different doctors did their best but he gave up.
“He contributed seriously at the exco meeting and even presented a memo. His contributions in today’s exco was very valid. His contributions to the health sector were also indelible. This is a very sad moment for all of us because since the reconstitution of the exco in 2005, we have never had cause to mourn,” he narrated. Asked if the family members had been informed , Osadolor explained that “some of them were at the hospital with us but we have not informed the family officially. We are still trying to get in touch with the elders of the family before informing the immediate family. We will take steps to officially inform the family.
“We appreciate the agony the family will go through now. In fact, by all accounts, today’s session was the liveliest exco session we had. The debates were very robust because we discussed several issues and he made his contributions very well.”
He described Ovbiagele as “workaholic, brilliant and tireless. We grieve with the family, it was a big blow for us, very sad as you can see,” (he paused and wept). The deceased who joined the state Executive Council in 2001 was also a lawyer. He was chairman of the state Hospital Management Board before he became a commissioner in 2001. He was married with two wives and children.