By Ovie Okpare
Immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has sent a strongly worded emotional birthday message to a two-time former President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Solomon Ogba aka Igwe, who clocked 60 years on Friday.
Uduaghan, in a statement personally signed by him, recalled her the former Delta State Commissioner for sports once asked him if he (Ogba) would live to see a 60th year birthday ceremony when he was struck with challenges of life.
The former governor, who described the celebrant as a dependable and trusted politician who could take bullets for his friends while fighting for equity and justice, salute the courage and resilience of the Isoko-born sports tactician to humanity.
Recalling some of the heart broken moment, Uduaghan said, “’Excellency, will I get to 60years sooo?’. It was a tough question for me and heart breaking. You had just had a very traumatic family experience.
“We had to sit down and discuss. At the end you told me you had made a vow to “face God” because that was where your hope and confidence was assured. This was some years back, while still in the office.
“Since then, you have walked very, very closely with Him, not looking back.”
Uduaghan, who served together with Chief Ogba as commissioners under the administration of former Governor James Ibori, praised the former AFN President for huge contribution to the development of sports in Delta, Nigeria and the African.
He said under Ogba’s reign, Nigerian athletics won a lot of laurels which brought pride and glory to the country and sports lovers.
“Today you are 60years old, and your belief and faith in God is a testimony worth emulating.
“Igwe, most of your life, you have been in the trenches watching people’s backs, and fearlessly exposing your own back in while doing so, demonstrating a selflessness that is envied. You stand up, unwaivering for your people, fighting for equity and justice.
“Igweee, at 60 years you have attained a milestone and you are worth celebrating for the large heart you have always opened to others without a care in the world.
“Your experience and vast knowledge of sports, has brought a lot of fame and laurels, not only for our dear state, but also to Nigeria in general.
“You hold dearly to your convictions, which most of the time have been positive and engaging. Your virtues are worth emulating, for they are always tailored for the good of humanity”, the statement added.
Uduaghan, however, prayed for long life, sound health and divine provision for the celebrant even as he continues to serve humanity.
It added that, “My dear brother, as you mark this day, my prayer as always, is that the Almighty God in whose vineyard you serve as Evangelist continue to guide and protect you, providing you with very good and sound health and that He may straighten your path, strengthen His grace upon you and right your wrongs for you.”