Gbagi’s Exit, Big Blow To Me And Family

By Zik Gbemre,


He was my loyal younger brother and friend. We joked and laughed whenever he visited me in my community home town of Iwhrekan of Ughievwen and whenever I visited him in his country home in Oginibo town of Ughievwen in Ughelli south.

I recollect when he invited me for swearing in of his dear wife, Justice Sybil Gbagi as Appeal Court Justice at the Supreme Court Abuja and I met Alhaji Abdullah Bukar of Shell, the Emir of Lafia who was a former Supreme Court Justice at the cocktail party in his Abuja home.

Immediately after the swearing in of his wife Justice Sybil Nwaka Gbagi, he took me and my wife to introduce to then CJN, Chief Justice Tanko of the Supreme Court and said, “Zik is my elder brother and this is his wife”. Surprisedly Chief Justice Tanko stood up to receive me and remained unseated until Gbagi sat by his side in his office.

Politically, Kenneth Gbagi was misunderstood by many people. People thought Gbagi was a bad man but he was kind to a fault. They didn’t understand him and his lifestyle. He was simple and could eat with the high and low. He didn’t believe in class.

He was a tough character who wouldn’t want to be cheated. More than being politician and lawyer, he was more a business man to the core. He once said he could turn stone to money. He was pregnant with business ideas more than politics.

He was connected to who is who in Nigeria and beyond Nigeria. Precisely in July and August 2022, I was in the UK and I received a call that evening. And Gbagi said that he was told we were in UK hence he called to confirm my visit and I said yes but then I was in Leeds and told him I would be going to London in few days time.

Surprisedly he provided me with accommodation in his luxury London home at 28, Western Avenue, Brent Cross, London. A four bedroom duplex with two sitting rooms and boys quarter gated in the neighbourhood of Jews.

He provided me his personal bedroom and all the rooms,kitchen and sitting rooms except his wife room we stayed. He had sent his friend, Alistair Soyode, owner of Ben TV UK to give the keys to us because I was visiting with my family.

When I told people that I stayed in Gbagi’s home in London they were surprised. Gbagi was misunderstood by many. He was closed to me and family. Gbagi would get angry if you had cheated him with a dime. People didn’t believe Gbagi was a kind man but you couldn’t have forced him to take anything from him.

He was tough and a good man that many people didn’t know him.
He created wealth for people by building business premises for people to trade. People would say how are you closed to Gbagi and I said he was a good person provided you have genuine intentions. You can’t cheat Gbagi and go scot free.

He owns the first business centres in Warri and Delta state and have become the phone and computer community (Robinson Plaza Deco Road Warri) in the entire Delta. He didn’t believe in giving people fish to eat but taught many who cared to know how to fish.

Ughievwen, Urhobo, Delta and Nigeria have lost a great man. Though many may have different opinions on Gbagi but the truth is that he was a great mind. He lived more in his community of Oginibo more than he lived in the cities. He loved Oginibo Town and was proud of his native community.

His dream of becoming the governor of Delta was not accomplished before his death. I pray for unity of his family and wife he left behind.

May God give them the strength to overcome the loss of Kenneth Gbagi.

May his soul rest in peace.

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