Stories by SIMEON MPAMUGOH
Former Minister of State for Education, Professor Jerry Agada, was the cynosure of all eyes at the recent convocation of the Federal University of Education (Technical Akoka), as his alma mata honoured him by naming the institution’s library after him in recognition of his efforts in promoting reading and writing.
The Provost of the institution, Dr. S.O. Olusanya, in his brief remarks, commended him for being a good ambassador of FGTCE, Akoka, which informed the honour done him.
Professor Adaga, was admitted into the college in September, 1973, graduated in June, 1974. In his acceptance speech, he told the crowd he had, indeed, represented the institution to the best of his ability.
He recalled that during his screening at the Senate when he was about to be confirmed as a minister, he credited the institution for contributing immensely to what he had become in life. Agada said he never knew he was going to be a teacher until he graduated from the school. “This institution launched my career as a minister,” he announced.
“To assure my colleagues here that I didn’t disgrace you, I rose to become a minister, and it was not just ordinary minister but that of education,” he echoed, hinting that during his tenure as a minister, he assisted the institution. Even when he became the Chairman of the Governing Council of the National Commission for Colleges of Education, he said, he gave priority attention to the institution.
As a minister, Professor Agada doubled as the vice president of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and later its president. During that time, he championed The READ Campaign following his realisation that the falling standard of education was created by people’s inability to read. Thus, making him and other high profile Nigerians to read to the nation.
Professor Agada is a firm believer that reading cuts across, no matter the class and age, and canvassed that throughout his stay in office as a minister. He recalled, “Before I left office as a minister, I was known as the reading minister.” He also ensured that he donated many books to his alma mata as a prolific author. At that time, he never knew the institution would name a library after him. “So, you can see that the trajectory of history has brought me here today,” he said.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun Literary Review, Agada admitted that the honour done him was a culmination of his strides as an educationist and a minister. “You can recall that the Provost said that library was the intellectual powerhouse of the institution, and to name is after me has made me feel over the moon. “I am so happy for this honour, for I never expected it,” he said.
Among those honoured by naming landmarks after them included Engineer Numopre Edward Wills, Mrs Marie-Theresa Folake, Mrs Odunaiya Otuyinka, Professor Bappa Aliyu, and Governor Rochas Okorocha.