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‘He was our gentle giant’ — UNIBEN classmates hail murdered ex-commissioner

‘He was our gentle giant’ — UNIBEN classmates hail murdered ex-commissioner
June 02
16:09 2020

Former classmates of Presley Ediagbonya, a former commissioner for youths and sports in Edo state, have paid tribute to him.

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Ediagbonya was abducted while on his farm in Utese village, Ovia north-east local government area of Edo on May 16, 2020, and his corpse was found two weeks later.

In a collection of tributes, his former classmates (1984 – 1988 set) of theatre arts department of the University of Benin, described him as an amiable person, who was not easily offended.

Andrew Okungbowa, said when news of the former commissioner’s kidnap was posted on the WhatsApp platform of his ex-classmates, it was “greeted with shock, sadness and sorrow”.

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“Closure came on Saturday, May 30, and it was indeed more shattering and devastating for all us when the news of the discovery of his remains in Okada forest, his ancestral home and fortress, was broken,” he said.

“That put a lid to the about two weeks drama and unscripted death of Ediagbonya; the one we all fondly referred to as ‘Pa Egbe Ediagbonya,’ ‘Chief Priest Egbe,’ ‘Edo Rambo’ or ‘Oba Palace,’ among other names during our school days.”

Benedict Umezurike, another former classmate of the deceased, described him as a “sweet, amiable and brotherly figure”.

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“To read of the tragedy that befell my friend, roommate, classmate and adviser, Egbe, was at the least shocking. Over the years we have not had opportunity to interact but the impression the man left on me is a life-long one. That one might look very stern on the facade but in depth a sweet, amiable and brotherly figure is my take away from Egbe,” he said.

For Kelue Okoye, another former classmate of  Ediagbonya, the deceased was very jovial in his lifetime.

“I know I was close to him and we used to gist once in a while any time he had free time to spend. It’s really unfortunate that his life was wasted in such a way. It is so sad indeed. A refined gentleman in his rustic own nature. Always jovial, with comic threats. He was easy to get along with if you understood him,” he said.

Benedict Ebuehi, who described the deceased as “our gentle giant”, said: “I was shocked when I read on the forum that Ediagbonya P. Egbe has passed on. This is very sad news for us all. I personally feel very distraught because he wasn’t just only my university classmate, we were also classmates in primary school, St. Joseph’s Primary School Benin City.

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Hilton Idahosa, Norbert Young,  Sam Dede, and Ufuoma Umuokoro, all former classmates of the late commissioner, also hailed him.

Others who showered encomiums on Ediagbonya Funmi Chukwuka, Chijioke Nwogu, Fred Taiwo, Babatunde Aina, Uche James Okidegbe, and Bridget Russel.

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