Today, I pay tribute to my brother and good friend, Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion, the esteemed former Governor of Edo State. His contributions to society have no doubt left an indelible mark on the landscape of governance and community development in Edo State. Lucky celebrated his special day on May 13, 2024, when he turned 57. It is only fit to reflect on the incredible person he has been and the impact he has had on those around him and others who came across his wonderful personality.Surely Lucky's name is a testament to the fortune and blessings he brings into the lives of others. 

Lucky has indeed been lucky. His presence radiates positivity and his unwavering optimism is a beacon of light for everyone who knows him. His kindness and philanthropy know no bounds. His generosity to the less privileged is as deep as a valley. Whether it is lending a helping hand, offering a listening ear, or simply sharing his accustomed legendary warm smile, he consistently demonstrates genuine care and compassion for others in a manner that is truly amazing, inspiring and energising.

Lucky's journey in the service to the people of Edo State is not merely a chapter in history, but a testament to the transformative power of leadership fueled by sheer integrity and compassion which he exhibited. Born on the 13th day of May, 1957, into the influential Igbinedion dynasty which is renowned for its uncommon commitment to service to humanity, Lucky Igbinedion embraced this legacy early in life with fervour and eclat, embarking on a path guided by a profound sense of duty and responsibility. 

Though he was born into a wealthy home, Lucky, unlike his peers, created a niche for himself early in life. Surely, a fruit does not fall far away from the mother tree. Upon graduating in marketing from the University of Wyoming, USA (1982), with a bachelors degree in Business, Lucky knew he needed more training to effectively compete in the unorthodox Nigerian political setting. He proceeded to Jackson State University in Mississippi, USA, where he earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) before returning to Nigeria in 1984, to manage Okada Air, his father’s pet first Nigerian privately owned airline project.Not satisfied with this, he ventured into politics, when he was appointed Mayor (Chairman) of the Oredo Municipality between 1987 and 1989. His outstanding performance not only led to his being voted the Best Mayor in Nigeria for his developmental efforts, his sterling performance resonated with Edo people.

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 Though his first shot at Governorship under the National Republican Convention (NRC), was unsuccessful against Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who won on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Lucky bounced back and won the Governorship under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 1999.As the Governor of Edo State (29th May, 1999 - 29th May, 2007), Lucky demonstrated a rare blend of visionary thinking and pragmatic action, steering Edo State towards a future of prosperity and progress. His administration was characterized by bold initiatives aimed at uplifting the lives of the citizens, fostering economic growth, and promoting social harmony. He it was who established the Edo State Polytechnic at Usen and became the Chairman of the Governors Forum. 

His lovely wife, Eki Igbinedion, was very active in her pet project which was aimed at wiping out widespread sex trafficking of Edo State women to Europe. She did this through her NGO, Idia Renaissance. In one of the Vanguard newspaper reports in 2016, titled “Edo 2016: Igbinedion and the non-performance fables”, it was stated that human capital development was one of the greatest achievements of Igbinedion’s administration and that Igbinedion provided an enabling environment for a new crop of younger politicians who later formed over 80% of Governor Oshiomhole’s cabinet and leaders of his party. 

“Some of them include the APC state chairman, Anselm Ojezua and several civil commissioners as well as APC state Secretary, Osaro Idah and several others. Therefore, Chief Igbinedion is the superstructure on which Oshiomhole’s ambition and administration relied on …” the report added.Under Lucky’s leadership, Edo State witnessed unprecedented infrastructural development, with key sectors such as education, healthcare and transportation receiving much-needed attention and investment.

 Through strategic policies and partnerships, Lucky Igbinedion laid the groundwork for sustainable development, laying the foundation for generations to come. In 2023, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in recognition of the leadership qualities of Chief Lucky Igbinedion, invited Chief Igbinedion to chair a committee saddled with the responsibility of reconciling aggrieved members of the PDP in Edo State, a responsibility he executed perfectly.Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion no doubt faced numerous challenges during his tenure. However, he navigated them with resilience and determination.

 He implemented various developmental projects, fostered partnerships, and engaged with stakeholders to address pressing issues such as infrastructure, education, and healthcare. Through strategic decision-making and effective governance, he surmounted these challenges, leaving a positive impact on the state's progress and development.Beyond the realm of governance, Lucky Igbinedion's impact in the business world, especially in the fields of hospitality, construction and realty resonates deeply with the people he served. His unwavering commitment to inclusivity and empathy have endeared him to communities across Edo State, and beyond, building bridges of understanding and partnership and fostering a sense of unity and solidarity that transcend local boundaries. 

Though he has left public office, his convictions and yearnings for Nigeria have never changed. Sometime in January, 2024, he urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to provide much needed infrastructure, especially roads, electricity and water, for private businesses to thrive. He submitted further that with these, “people can start creating their employment capabilities, not only for themselves but also employing others, I think that is what the federal government needs to encourage by making sure that the environment is conducive for business.”Nosakhare has remained quiet in the murky political streams, choosing instead to play the noble role of an Elderstatesman. Not for him, the looming image of obnoxious godfatherism.Generously endowed with a massive frame, Lucky Igbinedion’s intimidating presence is accentuated by his well tended riotous moustache, which has become his signature and trademark. Over shared moments of joy, I would always tease him with cultivating his moustache with $5,000 per month. 

When I spoke to him last week, he laughed raucously with a guffaw, and replied, “Akpakpa Vighi Vighi, you are behind times. Due to change in market forces, I now manicure and pedicure my moustache with $7,500 monthly”. Such is the luminous personage of Lucky, a simple and humble man that possesses a large dose of humour and wise cracks.This is wishing Chief Lucky Igbinedion happy birthday. His legacy shines as a beacon of hope and inspiration, guiding us towards a tomorrow filled with promise and boundless possibilities. His achievements stand as a testament to his hard work and dedication. Whether it is in his professional endeavors, his personal business pursuits, or his contributions to his community, Lucky has always approached every enterprise with an uncommon commitment to excellence. His resilience in the face of challenges is truly admirable, serving as a source of motivation for all who witness his perseverance.


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