Wednesday, June 19Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine


Architect Ferdinand Agu was a man of high intellect. I greatly admired him because he combined his prodigious intellect with delicious articulation and impressive gravitas. Beyond these, he had a hands-on approach to his job and set about tasks with commitment and detail.

I distinctly remember his first interaction with the maritime industry after his appointment at a stakeholder interactive session in 2001. He was quiet all through the event, listening intently and taking notes. When eventually he took the podium, it was evident the country’s maritime administration had not beheld such a class act. He flawlessly captured the essence of all interventions, seducing the words to deliver hope in great doses of audial pleasure.

My first full engagement with him was shortly after in Enugu, when the then Minister of Transport, the Late Ojo Maduekwe hosted a Ministerial Retreat to harness ideas for a 25-year Nigeria Transport Masterplan. At the end of proceedings, a number of us were tasked with crafting the retreat resolutions, with Ferdinand Agu as team lead. He ensured each word in each resolution was carefully considered and deliberately included. We worked till 3am!

It was under his leadership at NMA that the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act was enacted. In 2005 he became the first DG of NMA to have his tenure renewed. I visited him to discuss a proposal and waited for hours to see him. When I was ushered into his office at past 7pm, he was still full of energy, disarming me and my anger with his laser-focused interest in the business that brought me. As he let off steam with his Cuban cigar, he thoroughly interrogated the details of my proposal and recommended relevant changes.

On 9 May when Dr. Dayo Mobereola hosted his inaugural stakeholder interaction with the industry as DG of NIMASA, Ferdinand Agu made deliberate effort to reach me after my keynote presentation. He commended my delivery but noted that there are some points we need to further review. His message with his email address for me to send my presentation is the last I have from him.

A great Nigerian, an intellectual heavyweight and an icon in maritime administration is gone. He was still young – I believe about 65 – with a lot to offer the nation. May God in His Infinite Mercy grant Architect Ferdinand Agu eternal rest, and comfort his family at this time.

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