John Agudah: The Exit of a Rising Star

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I got a call from our bosom friend on the day Sir John Agudah died. He asked, Sylve, as he fondly calls me, “do I shock you”? Thus; he dropped the bombshell. ” John Agudah is dead”. This happened on Thursday, 14th march, 2019.

What you believe about life after death determines how you will live life before death. Eight days earlier, he had penned some beautiful words to me on my birthday, wishing me all the good things of life and desiring he was going to be part of my golden jubilee celebrations. In the course of the day, he had reminded me of how care free I am when it comes to marking or celebrating birthdays. He  took my memories back to the elaborate birthday of mine which he participated actively with Julius Ogu of blessed memory. And we both shared the memories of sir Jay (late Julius Ogu) as he was fondly called. Now, it is my turn to write about John Agudah in past tense, what a world.

John was birthed to this earth on the 5th of January, 1974 to the family of Mr and Mrs Agudah. He went to St Peters College, Idah. His love for education took him further to college of education, Ankpa where he studied agricultural science. He taught for a while and decided to proceed to college of Agriculture, Yandev for his Higher National Diploma (HND). Sir John Agudah was mobilized to Awka, Anambra state for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

I will not forget in a hurry when Mike his younger brother and I had to travel to Awka to see him during his service year. We were held back for more days by corp members who are his mates who wanted to interact and network more with us based on what he had told them about us. He wasn’t into alcohol while we were very much loyal to our brand then (Crystal beer). He was very popular among his peers more so, that he was the Corper Liaison Officer (CLO). So we had so much fun and didn’t disappoint us.

John was usually committed, faithful and loyal to a group cause. That was why I never hesitated to appoint him as chairman, Project Committee when I was elected president Frontliners Club. I enjoyed seamless working relationship that within 12 months of our administration we constructed two beautiful roundabout in Idah Local Government Area of Kogi State – Bishop road directly in front of M.S.A Odoma house and Abu Abaji junction.

Eighteen years on, they are still better than the most recent ones built by the government of the day. That was not all, as  chairman of project committee, every last Saturday of the month, he usually mobilized all club members to embark on environmental sanitation on major roads and cleaning of drains. Not done, he superintended over the naming and renaming of all major streets and roads which was inaugurated by the then Chairman of Idah Local Government Council, Hon. Emmanuel Kadiri Edimeh.

I wish to recall too that the Abu Abaji round about inauguration had the highest creme de  la creme of the then political office holders with the likes of late Hon Augustine Isah Idakwo, Alh Sani Ogu (Gbokeke), Hon E.K Edimeh and several others. I stand to be corrected, no local club or association have been able to surpass that feat. Traditional rulers were not left out with Chief John Egwemi leading the pack. All these assignments he did with joy.

Our paths crossed again when late Rev Fr Fidelis Egbunu insisted myself, Mike Agudah, John Agudah, Basil Edicha, Samson Musa, Jackson Omonu must join a pious society. We felt we couldn’t fit into the existing ones, once again, John Agudah was available to take the lead for the formation of St Maxmillan Mary Kolbe with our non Catholic friend Agison Ogwumu. He became our pioneer president. He was a team player. His commitment to community work led to pressure by the people of his immediate constituency to represent them at the legislative level of Idah local government council. He became the candidate of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2004 local government council elections to represent sabongari ward. He was coasting home to victory when ballot box snatchers moved round the seven polling units in his ward, snatching and beating up his agents, loyalists and party supporters. That disappointment took him to Lagos for a greener pasture. The rest became a testimony.

Late Sir John Agudah, as you embark on your journey to the eternal home of rest, one thing I asked of you to do is to please tell Late Julius Ogu which I am sure you would easily locate him for two obvious reasons. First, both of you left at your utmost prime. Second, both of you left with so much unfulfilled projects and unaccomplished missions. Tell him how we couldn’t continue with his ideas and fulfill his dreams. Tell him how sure your departure will further weaken The Family Council International which  both of you belong. Tell him how wicked the world has become. Tell him your unfulfilled dreams. After telling him how you became a Knight on December 16th, 2018, then you can reassure him never will we lose a young man to the cold hands of death again.

Then you can sleep.

For one thing I am so sure of. It  is the fact that you came not only to live your life. But to live for humanity. In that consolation, I am convinced in my conviction that you will be resting in the Lord.

Sleep on Sir John Agudah.

A tribute by Sylvester Ojogbane, from Abuja, Nigeria

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