Some of the country’s leading personalities in the professions and politics led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday eulogised the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, former governor of Ondo State as a man of courage and vision who worked tirelessly for Nigeria and Ondo State.
Yesterday’s third anniversary lecture of late Agagu was also graced by former Tanzanian president, Williams Mkapa, All Progressives Congress, APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, and friends, family and political associates mostly from APC.
There was, however, a notable absence of chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the party on whose platform he became a minister and subsequently governor of Ondo State.
The speakers at the event with the theme, “The Imperative of Regional Cooperation and Integration in Africa” held at the Civic Centre in Lagos described Agagu as an enigma and politician of repute who will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Obasanjo, under who Agagu served as minister of aviation praised the late Agagu as a good man who took his job with the greatest sense of responsibility. While describing Agagu as an intelligent man who worked diligently for the success of his administration, he said: “Agagu was my minister during my first term, and he was damn good. Give him any job to do, he will do it diligently, and he will do it very well. When I was asking him to join me during my second term as president, he replied that he was contesting to be governor of Ondo State. I can say with all honesty that Agagu believed in what he believes is the best”.
Speaking on the theme of the lecture, the former president said: “Africa has not completely failed, but we have to be watchful. For me, it is shameful that after 50 years of independence, we are still divided along Francophone, Anglophone, Hausa phone, Yoruba phone, that is what has caused our disintegration in Africa. Divide and rule is the reason why Africa has refused to develop. If Nigeria is swimming well, all of us in Africa will swim well. We need common security and shared intelligence; that is when Africa will be better”.
Agagu was a great Nigerian— Tinubu
In his welcome address, National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Tinubu who was represented by Mr. Femi Pedro, who served as his deputy as governor of Lagos State described Agagu as a great leader who will not be forgotten in a hurry.
“Agagu was a great Nigerian. He has not been forgotten, and he will never be forgotten. Africa has been saddled with leaders who lack intellectual capacity to drive development, but Agagu was an exceptional leader.
“Every African leader must copy the exemplary leadership of Agagu because he lived for his people. I commend the family of Agagu and the organisers, The Agagu Foundation, and I hope our leaders will learn from this great man,” he said.
His legacy lives on — Kingibe
Kingibe who was the guest speaker at the event described Agagu as a man of vision who was not deterred by obstacles.
He said, “I first met and knew Agagu 26 years ago as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State on the platform of the Social Democratic Party of which I was the Chairman. His fiscal discipline, principles and diligence were in no small measure.”
It is time for Africa to unite— Mkapa
Delivering his keynote address, a former President of Tanzania, Mr. Mkapa, said for Africa to achieve its desired goals, Africa must unite.
He said: “Obasanjo did Africa proud, especially his stance on apartheid in South Africa.
“The challenge to African politicians is to raise awareness of their citizens, and my challenge to African scholars is to impact that knowledge on their citizens and the challenge to civil liberty leaders is that they should fight for the freedom of their citizens. There are several ways we can get to our destination but African leaders must nurture their people, their political parties with the vision of one people and one purpose.”
Among those at the event were Agagu’s widow, Mrs. Olufunke Agagu; Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Niyi Adebayo; another former Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Segun Oni, APC governorship candidate in Ondo State, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu; Chief Olusola Oke; Publisher of Vanguard newspapers, Mr Sam Amuka; Chief Kenny Martins; Senator Ike Nwachukwu and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe.
Others are Senator Yinka Omilani, Mr Bayo Banjo, Prof Jide Desalu, Chief Wole Oyelese, Retired AIG Tunji Olakpe, APC national vice chairman, Southwest, Chief Pius Akinyelure; Chief Martins Okunfolami, Chairman of the Agagu Foundation, Dr Deji Adeleke, former Minister of Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada; Otunba Oluwole Fasawe and Bisi Olatilo.