By Sola Olatunji
Exactly 10 years ago, he bade the world final Goodbye at a relatively tender age of 65. Dr Olusegun Kokumo Agagu may have gone to the world beyond but his legacies remain evergreen in the mind of his Ikale people of Ondo State and many Nigerians who saw him as a leading light.
A long programme has been set up to celebrate our own prophet who had honour in his town, among his people and humanity. That explains why the tears are still flowing, cascading like the waters of the ocean, 10 years after his interment.
Dr Olusegun Agagu, former governor of Ondo State lives on as his demise reminds us of this yet to be disputed, saying, especially in Yorubaland, that good people don’t really stay long. They come and quickly make evergreen impacts on the sand of time and disappear into the thin air like a flash.
The late Dr, Olusegun Kokumo Agagu, born on February 16, 1948, in Iju-Odo, Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo, a geologist ,turned politician, departed this world ,unceremoniously on the 13th ,September, 2013, leaving his families and political associates grieving that he left too early.
Yes, we all agreed that he left too soon, but the consolation is that he left behind strong families, dependable political associates and above all, incredible impacts on humanity which can’t be erased from the social and political landscape of Ondo State, and Nigeria at large.
It was like yesterday that this erudite scholar, a one-time Minister of Aviation, and Power, respectively, under President Olusegun Obasanjo slumped and died at his house in Lagos. Nobody saw his death coming. He wasn’t sick. He was as fit as fiddle unto his last minutes on earth.
One time deputy governor of Ondo State and later governor between 2003-7, Agagu contested in 2007 and his second term re-election was annulled by the tribunal in questionable circumstances which is yet to be unraveled till date.
My first encounter with this Ikale-born visionary leader was in 2005 when he invited me to his office in Akure. He was angry with me that as his brother from the same political ward, Erekiti/Iju-Odo and iju Oke ward, I had failed to support his government in the state. He was miffed that I couldn’t support him or come up with innovative ideas of how to make the place better. It was a high dose of bashing from the shrewd and spartan politician. There was no hiding space for me than to keep saying, I’m sorry Your Excellency.
Then his final shot was touchy when he said ‘We couldn’t be reading about your exploits in shipping and marine economy in Lagos back home, you are standing aloof as if the development of Ondo State is our own funeral. Look, we need your contributions’.
Right there in his office, he handed me a bunch of brochures about the Olokola dry sea projects, which has to do with my area of specialisation as a marine entrepreneur, asking me to go through them and report back in two weeks.
I did not return to him in two weeks. Neither did I even open any of the brochures he handed over to me. By the time I saw him in 2011, he was already out of government, and he accused me of deliberate attempt to ignore him.
I quickly apologised and promised to see him at home in Lagos. And he nodded his head, a sign that he accepted my apologies and was expecting my visit. Very sad, it never happened. I was determined to see him this time around but the cold hand of death took him away. Agagu did not only die, so also my dream of helping a brother.
I know that a lot of people have written several pieces of literature and books about this man of history, whose life and time can’t be forgotten. As families and friends gather in Akure, Okitipupa, Iju-Odo, and Lagos to celebrate this visionary leader, a political colossus with an electrifying brain, the man continues to live in our minds.
Agagu knew the entire villages and communities in Ondo State without going to the map. His ability and knowledge of the geography of Ondo State helped him to turn the state into unimaginable infrastructure hubs. He made his marks on roads, bridges, schools, rural electrification projects, health centres and others.
He established the first higher institution of learning in the South Senatorial zone, which was named after him by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu SAN as Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa. I also know that Dr. Deji Adeleke has been running a scholarship programme at Adeleke University Ede, Osun State, to indigent students who are from Ikaleland. This wouldn’t have been possible if the man had not kept his honour and virtues to the people.
So, we can say that physically, this true son of Ikaleland is not with us, but the magnificent University he established in Ikaleland, where leaders of tomorrow are being trained is evergreen.
The scholarship programme instituted in his honour by Dr. Deji Adeleke to train indigent students of Ikaleland free of charge in different disciplines, (first of its kind in Ikaleland) can’t be forgotten in a long time to come. We can now talk of Agagu Boys in Ikaleland and Ondo State. And the infrastructure he built across the state to improve trade and commerce, the schools, hospitals, bridges, have never been matched. His milestone in national politics, the families he left behind who are making waves in high places, his love for the traditional music especially his place of birth will forever be talk of the town.
A peep into the life and time of Dr Segun Agagu could be a tortured and emotional trip yet our love for this enigmatic leader can never quench. Like a candle light it will continue to burn and shine in our memory.
My big brother, Dr Olusegun Kokumo Agagu, you live on, in my mind, forever.