The mood in Iju-Odo, Ondo State was sober yesterday as the remains of former Governor Olusegun Kokumo Agagu were buried. The ceremony, planned to be elaborate by the state government, was downgraded and the mood fouled up by Thursday’s crash of the plane carrying the body of the governor from Lagos.
Thirteen people including the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Deji Falae, died in the Associated Airlines’ plane crash. There were seven survivors including Agagu’s son Feyi and son- in- law Femi Akinsanya. Governor Olusegun Mimiko who learnt of the crashed plane at the Akure Airport, while waiting to receive the body, was absent at the burial yesterday. But the state government was represented by a three-man delegation which included Senator Boluwaji Kunlere (leader of delegation) and Hon Jumoke Akindele.
The state government is still mourning having lost three other officials apart from the commissioner in the crash. The dead were deputy chief of protocol, a protocol officer and the Lagos Liaison officer, according to officials.
President Goodluck Jonathan sent Police Affairs Minister Caleb Olubolade to stand in for him. Governors of Southwest states during the time Agagu was Ondo State governor were among the mourners at Iju-Odo. They were Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun) Segun Oni (Ekiti) and Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun). Some of them came with their wives.
Minister of Information Communication and Technology, Mrs Mobolaji Johnson, who hails from Ondo State, Agagu’s former deputy Omolade Oluwateru, Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly during Agagu’s tenure, Taofeek Abdulsalam and businessman Jimoh Ibrahim, were among the other dignitaries in attendance.
Agagu’s widow and other children were at the event though the late ex-governor’s eldest child, Feyi, is still hospitalised in Lagos as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash. The church service preceding the burial billed to start at 10.am did not commence until 1.50pm. The body of the ex-governor, who was also a minister in the power and Aviation ministries, rescued from the wrecked plane intact, did not arrive the church on time. From as early as 9.00am, dignitaries were waiting at the residence of the deceased for the arrival of the body.
The Saint Paul’s Anglican Church was filed up with guests who came to honour the man who died on September 13. His corpse however remained intact, his son and four others survived the crash while others including the commissioner for Culture and Tourism Mr. Deji Falae, died. However, scores of party members , supporters and other members of the community were at the residence of the late former governor waiting for his remains to arrive as early as 9: am.
The issue of the crashed plane dominated discussions at the burial The body was laid to rest in a purple casket substituted for the casket that was partly damaged in the crash. In his sermon, Bishop on the Coast, (Anglican communion) Joshua Ebunoluwa Ogunele, said the gathering was not only meant to commit Agagu to the mother earth but also to praise God. Bishop Ogunele said the late governor’s widow’s decision to travel from Ibadan to Akure by road “changed many things.”
He said her decision not to join the aircraft that was conveying the remains of the body of the late former governor was praise worthy and commendable. The cleric described the late Agagu as a father, a brother and a friend. Taking his message from the book of Genesis Chapter 42 verse 36, Bishop Ogunele said looking at it from the human angle, the death of Agagu and subsequent burial was against the wishes of the people. He noted that only God’s will could be done always.
The cleric said God’s way is not the way of human beings, stressing that people blame God when things happen because they are short sightedness. “Our short sightedness has blocked our views from seeing things of heaven and focus on earthly things “Today we are committing Agagu to the mother earth, I want to assure you that none of his property will be buried with him” The cleric said “the day Agagu died, his certificate expired” He said he had been buried with nothing adding that if he had millions or billions in the bank, it could not be buried with him.
The cleric charged the people to think of what to leave behind when death comes, saying nobody could be richer than the biblical King Solomon. The Bishop said Agagu did not know that he was going to die , saying he was working on some projects for the Ikale community.
President Jonathan described the late Agagu as an intellectual, a man of great achievements and diligence. The President said he received the sad news of the air crash yesterday. He offered his condolence on the death of the late Agagu and the crash victims. Other dignitaries at the service were: Governorship candidate of the PDP in the last election, Chief Olusola Oke, his running mate Mr. Saka Lawal, Mr. Mr. Akin Aduwo, Hon. Akintoye Herbert and Hon. Jumoke Akindele.
Read more: Nation Newspapers