Despite plane crash, Agagu’s family, associates to proceed with burial Friday

Fuselage of the crashed aircraft Embraer 120RT Brasilia, registration number 5N-BJY

The plane conveying Mr. Agagu’s corpse crashed on Thursday in Lagos.

The family and associates of the late Olusegun Agagu, former Ondo State Governor, have stated their intention to proceed with his burial on Friday as scheduled.

In fact, as a demonstration of the family’s resolve to proceed with the burial of their late patriarch, a wake-keep for the late governor held Thursday night in his ancestral home even as aviation authorities are yet to release the names of the passengers and crew who died in Thursday’s ill-fated crash.

Mr. Agagu, who died on September 13, was scheduled for burial at his Iju-Odo home on Friday at 11:00 a.m. while his corpse was scheduled to arrive Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Thursday.

However, the Associated Airlines aircraft that was conveying his remains to Ondo crashed on Thursday morning at the Lagos Airport few minutes after take-off.

The spokesman of the aviation minister, Joel Obi, confirmed the death of 13 of the 20 passengers and crew on the plane.

Although the casket carrying Mr. Agagu’s corpse was dented, his remains were intact and taken to the Nigerian Airforce Hospital in Ikeja several minutes after the crash, authorities said.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that his family at Iju-Odo in Okitipupa area of Ondo have now asked that the corpse be brought to Ondo on Friday morning for burial.

The widow of the deceased and some other members of the family were moved to Iju-Odo around 1.30 p.m. on Thursday.

When a News Agency of Nigeria correspondent visited Iju-Odo on Thursday, residents of the community were in pensive mood, with many of them gathering in front of their houses discussing the incident.

Meanwhile, St. Paul Anglican Church, Iju-Odo, where the interment mass will hold, has been painted and renovated for the service scheduled for Friday while major roads leading into the town have been rehabilitated.

Mr. Agagu’s grave, located in the church cemetery, has also been decorated to give the former governor a befitting burial.

The reception ground located at Manuwa Memorial Grammar School, Iju-Odo, got a facelift too, with a big canopy erected in the compound.

Femi Agagu, younger brother to the late governor, confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria that the burial would proceed as scheduled.

Also, the Chairman of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Ebenezer Alabi, confirmed that the burial would take place on Friday, as scheduled.

Mr. Alabi said since Mr. Agagu’s son, Feyi, survived the crash, and the casket was intact, the burial would proceed. He said the family and the party sympathized with the family of those who died in the crash.

When PREMIUM TIMES visited the Akure residence of ex-Minister Olu Falae, whose son, Deji, died in the crash, sympathisers were seen around him, wailing and praying.

The septuagenarian and former presidential candidate could not utter a word, and was just gazing at the sky. Some choristers from his church were seen singing and mourning Deji.

Meanwhile, the former governorship candidate of the PDP in last year’s election in the state, Olusola Oke, said the disasters that have befallen the state have tasked the souls and broke the hearts of the people of the state.

Mr. Oke, who was flanked by other PDP chieftains, said, “At a time we were thinking of given triumphant entry for a peaceful commitment to mother earth, of our great leader, this disaster struck to shake his biological, political and social families to their very existence.”

“While we commiserate with the families of those who lost their lives, we thank God for saving the life of late Agagu’s only son, [Feyi] for the sake of sustaining the former governor‘s dynasty,” he added.

Mr. Oke called for full investigations of the disaster, which he attributed to carelessness or sabotage. He also thanked God that Mr. Agagu’s remains were intact saying, “our leader will still be given the deserved burial part of which had already started”.

Mr. Agagu’s burial ceremony commenced on Monday at the University of Ibadan, where he taught geology before he ventured into politics.

A lying-in-state was to be held in Akure on Thursday, and another at Iju-Odo on Friday, before the final burial on Friday.

It is not clear if the Ondo State government, which is partnering the family in the burial arrangements, also supported the plan to go ahead with the burial Friday.

The state government gave no inclination of such when it released a statement earlier on Thursday about the crash indicating that one of its commissioners was on board the plane.

Eni Akinsola, the spokesperson to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, could not be reached for comments.

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