“Although, the giant strides of development and the legacies that he’s bequeathing to posterity may not be discernable to some people, we however take full consolation in the fact that History, mother History, will be the ultimate judge of the Agagu administration.” – Adeyemi Adedipe
Today, Thursday, September, 13, 2018, marks the fifth year remembrance of one of Nigeria’s finest citizens, Olusegun Kokumo Agagu, who, at 65, died in September 13, 2013. During his time above the soil, he was a sterling example of success. This was evident, not only in his meteoric personal achievements, but also in the finesse of his public service deeds as a teacher, deputy governor, minister and governor, all of which remain evocative.
While he was here, he was identified differently by folks. He had a style many would readily describe as fastidious, a style which could be explained by strict parental handlings and spartan formative. Splendid personality that Agagu was, he was also quite misunderstood by peers and followers alike. A number of things about him were considered ambiguous. His was in a distinct class. In his lifetime, Agagu did what real me do, yet, his approach to subjects, viz: family, political or social transactions was a detour. He was in a class of his own, so that even in death, the issues which appeared nebulous or controversial about him during lifetime are today’s subjects of worries.
We are not to grieve. Not today. We are not to repeat the burial that has since been done with glamour. Here is but a graphic invitation to definition or redefinition of Dr. Agagu’s terrestrial trades, his aftermath, and to find the strength to fetch lessons from the manner of man that he was. It is about the lessons that loosing him teach us as Nigerians and citizens, particularly members of Ondo State, his state of origin and marked beneficiary of his intellectual contributions.
Ondo State, as we have it today, is a successive work of great minds. Since its creation in 1976, few, fine citizens have been privileged to contribute different bricks to the building of the state in the various capacities, but what may not be known to many, however, is that as early as within the first decade of the state’s creation, Dr. Agagu, albeit then unsung, was already in the work of building a state which he would, in latter years, be privileged to administer as deputy governor and governor. Even during the first civilian governorship, Agagu was one of the academic think-tanks of the equally illustrious Adekunle Ajasin administration between 1978 and 1983, which underscores the much he did contribute to the making of the new Ondo State on many fronts.
Agagu was not a perfect man.There were sides, either to his personality or politics that are assailable. Niyi Akinnaso, in his piece entitled “The sudden exit of Agagu” (Punch, September 17, 2013) gave examples of regrets he (Agagu) acknowledged and said after his governorship. He’s human, after all! Yet in discussing personal success, Ondo State and the quality of citizens who have been privileged to govern her, the name Olusegun Agagu, at any time, comes up for distinction.
Agagu administration wrought unmatched feats in road construction and rehabilitation, poverty alleviation and economic empowerment; his time brought positive changes and left fine legacies in the education and health sector of the state. The fiscal standing of the state was upped by the resolution of the protracted controversy over the ownership of certain oil wells along the states border with Delta in favour of Ondo State, which gave Ondo about 169 oil wells and increased her purse considerably. The multi-billion naira Omotoso Power Plant and the gigantic Olokola project, his brainchild, that was meant to bring unprecedented physical and human development to Ondo State.
Only a brilliant leader could have achieved so much within a brief space as Agagu did. It was to his credit that, despite sterling achievements in office as governor, especially in infrastructure, he saved for the rainy day. He fetched and kept huge monies in the coffers of the state, a feat which is considered quite a tall one to achieve by governments after him. Though he has since transited to the celestial side, but the echoes of his politics and policies stay with us as burdens that we must bear as faithful citizens so that we can achieve that ‘Eldorado’ that he wished and strove to see Ondo State become.
He is, fondly, being remembered for quality rendition of services to the government and people of Nigeria, his lustrous contributions to knowledge, his clement political leadership and even distribution of social amenities; he is being remembered for his penchant for prudence, probity and best practices, for his commitment to a more prosperous Ondo State.