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Gen. Agbogun @ 70: Shooting Sharper With Age

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By Williams Eghebi

History reminds me that in the colonial era up to mid seventies, enlistment into the Nigeria Army was not worthy of celebration.

During that time the very strong youths with criminal tendencies were most likely to be ferried to army recruitment camps by their parents or guardians. These potential soldiers were those with seemingly poor academic potentials. 

This wrong perception was not peculiar to the army. In the rural areas, children with frail physique were those granted permission to acquire Western education. Those who were muscular were reserved by their parents to join them till the soil  in their farms.

Nicholas Chukwuka Agbogun, by all standards was born into a comfortable family. His father was the Ozomor of Agbor Kingdom. The hereditary chieftaincy position bestowed on his father, the traditional head of Ihu-Ozomor which comprises Alisimie, Oza-nogogo and Alienor(Alizomor, Alisor, Alileha and Omumu). He was given the rare privilege of secondary education.

With his sterling result, it was natural that he migrate to the university. Nick Agbogun chose otherwise.  And he had his reasons.

“While in secondary school, we had close contacts with young army officers. Sanni Abacha and a few other young soldiers were coming to our sports ground to play football and hockey as there was a robust army base in Agbor.

“These soldiers became our cult heroes and mentors. Despite age differential, they spoke with us freely, telling us the inherent gains from military career. And I agreed”.

He got enlisted into the Nigeria Army in his first attempt, fortunately for him, the recruitment officer forgot to take his height. The jackboots and his clean khaki didn’t submerge his academic ambition. No wonder he returned to school to obtain degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. His obsession for knowledge may have denied him the opportunity of becoming state military administrator at a time his inferiors got the political appointment.

After a meritorious service he didn’t retire to his village to share folktales with his wife in solitary.

As he neared retirement in the army where he rose to the rank of Major General, he began to take more leadership role in community affiliate groups. His love for Agbor Kingdom forced him to return home after retirement and he was chosen to serve as the President-General of Agbor Community Union.

His leadership of the Agbor apex group no doubt, remains the reference point considering the high status the era created.

Maj Gen Nicholas Chukwuka Agbogun (rtd) due to immense pressure joined the All Progressives Congress, APC, thinking he could make meaningful impact. Not long after, he found out that he was in a wrong place.

It was therefore not strange when he swapped the broom for the big umbrella of the PDP. With the presence of his friends in the PDP, the retired soldier became a leader ahead of many he met in the party.  

Many felt his unfettered access to the Delta State Governor  was going to ensure the road leading to his Alizomor country home would receive urgent attention. “The performance of Senator Okowa was the major reason I joined PDP. I am not going to be selfish and inconsiderate. The governor is doing much even in the face of downward revenue earnings. I am very confident that my community will have reason to smile soon,” he said.

The presence of Maj Gen Agbogun in the party literally ruffled a few feathers. Against all odds, he chose not to give his allegiance to any tendency or faction except the mainstream PDP.

This uncommon action, wormed him to the leadership of the party in Asaba. Not many will doubt that in future political matrix, his input won’t be undermined.

The highest impact of Maj Gen Agbogun’s efforts was seen in his steely resolve to be the patron of  Concerned Agbor Citizens, CAC. This group which arose from the spontaneous desire of members to at the risk of personal denial to inspire and defend all Agbor interests.

This group has shown enormous capacity and cerebral sagacity to defend Agbor and her people. In doing this, injuries were sustained.

It is very inspiring that on his 70th birthday, kind messages dotted several national newspapers. He isn’t the first army officer of the rank, yet he has become the fancy of reliable power blocs in Agbor and beyond.

He didn’t attain this status by double-speaking which has become the pastime of his peers in partisan politics.

If there is anything that Maj Gen Agbogun is passing to the conservative senior citizens in politics, it’s the charge for them to up their game, inculcating the interests of the younger folks in their decisions. Again, he has also sent a clear and unambiguous message to his contemporaries in diaspora to relate more with their kith and kin at home.

Agbor Kingdom is graciously blessed with great men and women, doing well in their chosen spheres. In addition, we are proud to have a king with enviable carriage and unmatched social flaunt.

Sadly, we are yet to tap to acceptable measure from these rare blessings. MajGen Agbogun, now the Ozomor Onyia of Akumazi, has additional responsibility to use his immense contacts and pedigree to ensure a coalition of all positive forces in the interest of our great kingdom.

At 70 years old, there is a spiritual promotion that bestows on him the power to serve the community on a higher platform.  Nick is not a small fry. Undermine him at your peril.

I wish you more fruitful years ahead.

Mr. Eghebi wrote from Agbor, Delta State

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