October 4, 2013

Agagu: The bumpy rides of his life

Agagu: The bumpy rides of his life

The ill-fated plane: The Embraer 120RT Brasilia, registration number 5N-BJY, before it crashed yesterday.

By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Dr. Olusegun Agagu, who died at 65 on September 13, 2013, and was to be buried today, lived a remarkable life that was characterised with notable bumps.

His passage from earth was not the least extraordinary as reflected in the crash of the Associated Airlines plane conveying his remains for burial in OndoState, yesterday.


The first major jolt in Agagu’s life were recorded during his primary education, which was achieved through three major Nigerian towns— Okitipupa, Ibadan and Kano between 1954 and 1960.

While his secondary education was a straight stretch at IbadanGrammar School, Ibadan, his university education was bumpy.

The ill-fated plane: The Embraer 120RT Brasilia, registration number 5N-BJY, before it crashed yesterday.

The ill-fated plane: The Embraer 120RT Brasilia, registration number 5N-BJY, before it crashed yesterday.

He had entered the University of Ibadan to read Botany, but along the way he diverted and ended up studying Geology, qualifying as a geologist in 1971. He subsequently obtained higher degrees in geology and became a lecturer at the University of Ibadan.

Agagu was to leave the settled world of academics into the murky terrain of politics and served as deputy governor of OndoState between January 1992 and November 1993, when the military derailed the country’s fledgling democracy.

At the return of democracy in 1999, he was appointed the Minister of Aviation and then Minister of Power, following which he contested and won the governorship of OndoState in 2003.

His aspiration for a second term led to the most remarkable bump of his political career, when he was tackled by his one-time political associate and commissioner, Dr. Segun Mimiko.

Mimiko tackled Agagu from the polling centres to the courts and eventually prevailed after a cantankerous legal battle that ended Agagu’s gubernatorial stint in February 2009.

A last ditch battle to regain the political space with a bid for the Senate in 2011 was also jolted.

The last, but perhaps most controversial, bump Agagu encountered was yesterday’s crash, which led to the death of several of his associates.

However, unlike the preceding bumps, he was totally ignorant of the last bump and it was significant that his casket was picked up intact.

 Deji Falae, young, vibrant commissioner

DEJI Falae, who died yesterday in the Associated Airline plane crash conveying the body of Dr. Agagu, was Ondo State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism.

News of his death was, however, made more prominent by the fact that he was the son of the leader of Afenifere and erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation and presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy in the 1999 election, Chief Olu Falae.

Deji Falae

Deji Falae

A lawyer, Deji came into reckoning in 2011 when Governor Olusegun Mimiko appointed him a commissioner following his failure in the struggle to win the Labour Party ticket to contest for the Akure North/South Federal Constituency to the House of Representatives.

He was reappointed at the reconstitution of the state cabinet earlier this year, following the inauguration of Mimiko for a second term.

Deji was in his early 40s

Some civil servants in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism rolled on the floor, yesterday, shedding tears as news of his death broke.

With the death of Deji, the state Executive Council has lost one of its most youthful and energetic members.

Deji’s father, Chief Falae, is a traditional ruler. The Olu of Ilu-Abo in Akure North of the state.

Leaders of Akure, mostly traditional title holders were seen with his father, yesterday.

Chief Falae was largely speechless.