Olusegun Agagu’s Widow Recalls Moments With Late Hubby With Fond Memories As She Turns 70

Wife of the late former Governor of Ondo state, Olufunke Ibidunni Agagu makes it to seventy years old. As the former first lady of Oyo state ages gracefully, she takes a walk down the memory lane recalling fond times with her late husband, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, who slumped and died on 13, September 2013 at 65 years old.

In this interview with PUNCH, the matriach of her family also recounts her early days of motherhood, and what she still hopes to achieve at 70.

Excerpts:

Your husband’s death came as a shock to most people. What happened exactly?

I was sitting in the living room when one of my daughters came around to spend time with us. As the day went by, I was expecting him to come home but he did not come. At about 8pm I noticed that some of our children and in-laws began to troop into the house and their eyes were teary.

When they were coming in, I was smiling and even asked jokingly how they timed their movement. The next person that came in was Chief (Paul) Akintelure, followed by Deji Adeleke. I asked what happened and my son broke the news to me.

I asked if he was involved in an accident but all he said was that he was gone. In ignorance, I asked where he went and everyone began to cry. I asked what happened but no one answered, so I told them to take me to where he was. Of course, no one answered me.

I asked Chief Akintelure what happened because they went for the meeting together, he then informed me that my husband slumped. I must have repeated the sentence, ‘he slumped and died’ a thousand times due to the shock. I would cry and then continue chanting, ‘he slumped and died.’

In a short while, people began to troop into our house and that was when it dawned on me that it was true.

Since he didn’t show any sign of ill health, do you think that there was something suspicious about his death?

I am a deeply religious person and I know that nothing happens without God’s consent. It does not matter whether there is more to my husband’s death or not. I am still confused about his death but I would never complain because God has been kind to me.

God forbid, what would have happened if I lost those two boys as well? I just do not think of it, I believe that it was time and God took him away. That is what I believe. When he was alive, my husband was so protective of me that when my father was on his deathbed and the doctor called him aside to inform him that my dad would die soon because he had a terminal illness, my husband never told me.

He told everybody not to tell me because I am a very fragile person and that pained me when my father eventually died, but he did that to protect me. I just believe that if God does not say it is time, nobody can kill a man. I believe my husband has gone to rest and he is doing that in the bosom of the Lord.

How did both of you meet?

We were in the same set at the University of Ibadan. He was in the Faculty of Science while I was in the Arts. I saw him mostly at social activities because we both loved to dance. My grandmother used to say that one day someone would lure me away with music and dance (laughs).

I love dancing so much that if you hit two sticks together continuously, I would begin to move. I just love dancing and singing. The only type of music I do not like is fuji. So, at first, whenever we met, we just greeted casually, but there was a day I fell ill with malaria, so I went to the school’s clinic which was behind the female hostel at the time.

After the doctor attended to me and I was returning to my hostel, I noticed this guy sitting on the stairs leading to the clinic and he was in his pyjamas. I asked if he was ill and he said, yes. I told him sorry and I left for my hostel.

Two days later, I went back to see my doctor but I noticed he was now on admission in the clinic. So, I stopped by to ask what was wrong with him and he told me he always had chronic malaria. I told him sorry once again and I left (laughs). Since that day, we started talking and gradually we became friends. We then moved on from there.

Is it right to assume that since the demise of your husband, your children have been your major source of joy?

Yes, they have been, and I have amazing friends as well. Many times, when I kneel down to pray, I’m always asking God what I have done to deserve so much love and kindness from people. I’m a very shy person and I love my privacy very much.

Normally, I didn’t mean to celebrate my 70th birthday because my husband and I are just weeks apart when it comes to our birth dates. When we celebrated his birthday, I always refused to have an elaborate birthday. What we did was to travel.

I told my friends that I would prefer we travel regardless of the destination, just to avoid the celebration. I suggested that we could go to Obudu Cattle Ranch or go to Benin Republic, but they refused. They said that I always avoid celebrating my birthday but I would not escape this one.

During my birthday celebration, people came from all over the world and I kept asking what I had done to deserve that goodwill from my friends.

Now that you are a grandmother, how would you describe your first time in the labour room?

It was quite dramatic. I had an easy labour. I was labouring and when a friend’s sister who was a nurse came to see me, she had to ask me if I was truly in labour because I was reading a magazine. That was in the morning at about 8:30 am.

She predicted that the labour would take time, but at about 12 noon, I had started pushing but I didn’t know. I was in bed with my husband. I would run to the toilet thinking I wanted to defecate not knowing that I had already started pushing.

At a point, my husband said he did not understand what was wrong with me, so he insisted that we went to the hospital. If there was any traffic that day, the baby would have been born inside the car. When we got to the hospital, they asked me to sit down.

The nurse on duty was behaving nonchalant so I went to meet her that I felt like defecating. It was at that point she brought a stretcher and told me to lie on it. Then she examined me and it was at that point she informed me that I was pushing out the baby.

She rushed me into the elevator of UCH and my husband followed, including two nurses that witnessed what was happening. I was delivered of that child inside the elevator, and that was my first child, a boy. My husband was there and he saw everything.

We always laughed about the situation. Before nightfall, the news had spread around town that I was lucky the child was not born on the road.

At 70, is there anything you still hope to achieve?

I just wish I could do more than I am doing now because there are too many poor people in the country. Like my husband always said, we have no business being poor, especially in Ondo State. I wish that I was a very rich person so that I could start a business that would empower people.

Like I said, I always cry when I see people suffering and that was why I was almost nicknamed ‘Cry Baby First Lady’ in Ondo State because I’m very emotional. Each time I went into a hospice for the blind, deaf and dumb or other people living with disabilities, I always cried.

The day I went to the school for the deaf and dumb, I was moved to tears because the situation I met there was very appalling. They had just two toilets and there were about 300 of them there including the staff. The toilet was a makeshift and it was made with raffia and palm leaves.

At the school for the visually impaired, after school hours, the children were left on their own and there was no one to look after them in their hostels. There were no teachers with sight to stay with the children living with visual impairment. They could wander anywhere and no one would know.

The only person with sight present after school hours was the gateman who could do whatever he wanted with them because there were girls among the children. I felt that was very wicked. I am glad that the situation was rectified a few weeks after I reported what I saw when I got home.

 

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