Family, friends and political associates mourn the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu
When Dr. Olusegun Kokumo Agagu was alive, not many people loved him. He was just as hated as he was loved, by the people, in equal measure. Since his passing about one week ago, all kinds of people have been eulogizing him. TOPE OKE, Ondo State Correspondent, who visited Iju-Odo, the home town of the Agagus captures the mood of the town and the state.
While he was alive, he was loved by many and hated with passion by others, but now that he is dead, both his friends and enemies agree that Dr Olusegun Kokumo Agagu was a good man who lived his life for his people. Agagu who ruled Ondo State between 2003 and 2009 was loved by many people who, he directly or indirectly touched their lives positively. He was also hated by those who saw him as a dictatorial leader in the way he handled the affairs of the state. Many people allegedly left the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state for either the Labour Party (LP) or All Progressives Congress (APC) , on account of several factors perceived to have been caused by him. Those who chose to remain in the party,allegedly worked against the interest of the party in order to spite him.
Nevertheless, the people of the state , in spite of their political leanings have agreed that the man was the best person to have governed the state. Since his death last Friday, tributes both within and outside the state have been pouring in torrents. Agagu, once chose to represent Ondo South senatorial district after he was sacked as governor of the state, but he was denied the ticket by the people who are now eulogizing him as a very good person.
The impact of Dr. Agagu sudden death resonates sadly in his hometown of Iju-Odo in Okitipupa local government area of the state. When Hallmark Correspondent got to the sleepy community, it wore a mournful outlook as most people have abandoned their fishing and farming activities to mourn the passage of the fourth executive governor of the state. Virtually all the inhabitants were in black in compliance with the seven-day mourning period declared by the state government. Business activities have been shut down in respect of their loved son and leader.
The Regent of the town, who is also an uncle to the deceased, Chief Sehinde Oguntoye said Agagu’s death came as a rude shock to the community and that the deceased had helped a good number of sons and daughters of the town. Oguntoye said: “We are going to miss him badly, he had tried for this community, and has given no fewer than 25 of our children scholarships on a yearly basis. Go round the town, all the developments you are seeing were brought here by Segun, it is very unfortunate that we lost him at this period.”
Agagu’s step sister, Mrs Olayinka Ogunsusi lamented that the extended family of the deceased has lost a rare gem. Ogunsusi, who was shedding tears profusely as she was speaking about the incident, said the late Agagu would be sorely missed, for his financial assistance to the extended family and the people of the Iju Odo, where he hailed from.
Ogunusi said: “He was good to us, he took adequate care of us, he used to give me and other family members a sum N10, 000 monthly each, he had been doing this for a very long time, I was expecting him to send another one for the month of September, when they told me he was dead.”
“He gave our children scholarship, he has tarred all the roads in our town and local government, you too can see it when you were coming here, indeed we have lost a very important son in our family”
Although the state governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko belongs to a different political party, he has however, extolled the qualities of the late governor as a great achiever who had scaled dizzying heights in the academic, political and social circles in the country. Speaking during a condolence visit to the Ikoyi home of the Agagus, Mimiko said the late Dr Agagu “was a very brilliant man who possessed a remarkable ability for hard work which was evident as he gave his best to the state first, as Deputy Governor (in the old Ondo State) and later, as Governor.”
Mimiko, who expressed shock on the death of the late Agagu, said the departed’s recent physical and political vigor “belied the possibility of this occurrence,” and counseled all to take solace in the fact that the late Dr. Agagu,” was a worthy son of Ondo State, whose achievements would remain an indelible legacy in the state.” While praying for the repose of the soul of the departed, Mimiko assured the family of the love and prayers of the people and government of Ondo State at this period. He announced the readiness of the government to work with the family towards giving the former Ondo governor a befitting burial. Hence, an eleven –man committed has been set up to work with the family of the deceased.
However, eminent people have been reacting to the news of the death of the former Ondo State governor. Most of Dr Agagu’s close associates, political leaders across the state and followers have described the death as shocking and an irreparable loss not only to the state, but to the country. According to Senator Bode Olajumoke, “the news of the death of Dr Segun Agagu came as a rude shock.”
Olajumoke who is one of the political leaders who have allegedly disagreed with Agagu said “Initially it was very hard to believe until it appeared on the internet, and only then it dawned on me that Segun Agagu has indeed truly gone to the great beyond! His death has come too soon at the age of 65, and the PDP political family of Ondo state and Nigeria have lost a formidable member, an intellectual and a great tactician and organizer.”
His words “During his tenure as Governor, he left indelible marks in every local government and ward of Ondo State. May the good Lord accept Him in His bosom and give all of us, but in particular his dear wife, Funke and the children the fortitude to bear this loss. May his soul rest in peace.”
Agagu’s deputy while in office, Otunba Omolade Oluwateru who is currently Nigeria’s ambassador to Uganda said “I received the news of the death of a great leader, Dr Olusegun Agagu with great shock. His demise has left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill. The legacy that he left behind will speak volumes for generations yet unborn. Dr Olusegun Agagu was a leader of leaders and a teacher of teachers.”
“Those of us that passed through his political school of thoughts will forever remember him for his intelligence, hard work and leadership by example. I sincerely send my condolences to the immediate family and the entire political class. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.”
Similarly, the Director-General of National Sports Commission, Mr. Gbenga Elegbeleye joined numerous Nigerians expressing shock and grief over the death of former minister and Governor Olusegun Agagu.
Elegbeleye did not agree politically with Agagu, he however, described Dr Agagu as an egg head who contributed immensely to the development of his state, Ondo and the nation. He said “It is sad that Dr Agagu, a scrupulous and brilliant politician would pass on at a time the nation required his service most. I pray that the Almighty shall give his family and close associates the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
Former Minister of Defence, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode SAN said “The death of Dr Olusegun Agagu is shocking and a colossal loss not only to his family but to his political family, people of Ondo state and Nigeria. “As a Governor, Agagu developed both the land and the people. Agagu, who was crowned at the Atunluse of Ondo State was perhaps the best governor Ondo State has produced since its creation. There is no doubt that we will surely miss his fatherly role in bringing everybody together in the development of the Sunshine state. Rest in Peace”