Angry supporters of the first civilian Governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, trooped out to show their grief following the sudden death of the politician by barricading the Osogbo-Gbogan Expressway and making bonfires on the every busy road.
Adeleke had attended a senatorial meeting in Kuta Ile-Ogbo in the Ayedire Local Government Area and later attended a wedding in Iwo before returning to his country house in Ede by 10:30pm on Saturday.
It was gathered that Adeleke, who was greatly loved and revered in Osun-West, especially in his Ede hometown, complained of stomachache around 2am and was rushed to Biket Hospital, Osogbo, where he was confirmed dead.
The colourful ex-governor, who was the senator representing the Osun-West senatorial district until his death, was 62 years old when he died.
Adeleke was a staunch member of the Peoples Democratic Party but later defected to the All Progressives Congress when he fell out with some leaders of the party during the countdown to the PDP’s governorship primary in 2014.
The protesting youths claimed that Adeleke, who was their benefactor, was poisoned from one of the social functions he attended on Saturday hence the sudden death.
Armed policemen, however, moved to the scene and cleared the barricade but not until the youths’ actions had caused traffic jam even as some motorists were forced to make a detour as they took much longer routes.
As the youths were showing their grief on the road, hundreds of sympathisers gathered at the country house of the former governor and Asiwaju of Ede.
Many people including the aged, young and old broke down in tears and rained curses on those they claimed poisoned Adeleke.
The atmosphere at the residence was charged as some of the mourners attacked journalists and seized their cameras and threatened to deal with any journalists, who dared to record the mood at the residence.
Some of the youths attacked a journalist working with the Nigerian Television Authority, Tope Alabi, and injured him after attacking his cameraman identified as Alhaji and seizing his camera.
The incident happened as the NTA crew moved to the residence of the late politician in Ede to cover the sad event.
One of the youths, however, used a motorcycle to rescue Alabi while the cameraman ran inside one of the houses nearby as the youths wielding cudgel and sticks pursued him.
At around 1:15pm, his remains were brought back in a wine colour Toyota Sienna. He was brought in seated like a living being but was supported by some of his relatives inside the car.
Sympathisers waiting at the entrance of Adeleke’s residence surged in and rushed inside to catch a glimpse of their political leader and benefactor as they eventually discovered that the corpse of the senator was inside the car.
Some of those who entered into the sitting room said the corpse was being bathed and was being prepared for interment but suddenly the body was taken back inside the same car en route to the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, for autopsy.
One of the aides of the deceased said that the younger brother of the deceased, Deji Adeleke, was the one who called and instructed that an autopsy should be carried out before burial.
The source said, “Chairman (Deji) called and directed them to take him back to the hospital for an autopsy to ascertain the cause of his death.
“He will no longer be buried today because it is past 4pm now and he was a Muslim. His body has been deposited at the mortuary. His brother wanted to see him before he would be buried. He is likely going to be buried tomorrow morning.
“The chairman is already on his way to Ede from Lagos and he may not arrive until around 7:30pm or 8pm, depending on how busy the traffic is.”
His last moments
Another aide, who pleaded anonymity, told journalists that he was together with him during his trip to Kuta for a burial and later to a wedding ceremony in Iwo.
He said he did not sit very close to him during the ceremony but he learnt that he ate a piece of meat at the ceremony in Iwo.
He said, “We went together to Kuta yesterday for a burial and after that we went to Iwo for a wedding. I don’t really know what happened but he ate just one piece of meat in Iwo.
“He received visitors until around 2am this morning (Sunday morning) and went inside to sleep. Whenever he slept, nobody would wake him up. But I was told he complained of pain in one of his legs this morning and his doctor was called.
“The doctor treated him and left. He later came back and he was the one who discovered that he was lifeless. I think he knew that he was already dead but to be sure, he called us and we rushed him to Biket Hospital where he was confirmed dead, Osogbo.
“His death could be as a result of poison but we are still waiting for the report of the autopsy to confirm if he was truly poisoned or he died of natural causes.”
Security beefed up at Adeleke’s residence
In a bid to ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order at his residence, the police have beefed up security at the residence with the deployment of two Armoured Personnel Carriers very close to the residence.
Apart from the APC stationed there, there were three patrol vans and about 20 armed policemen at the place just to ensure that the death was not used to foment trouble by aggrieved youths.
Also, two APCs were stationed at Aisu which is the junction leading to his residence.
About 10 armed policemen were also seen at the junction.
There were traces of bonfires and signposts uprooted by the youths to block the road when our correspondent visited the place. The police, however, cleared the barricade to allow easy flow of traffic.