By Muyiwa Olayinka
It was a rude shock to the people of Ede, Osun state and Nigeria when the news filtered in, on Sunday morning of 23rd of April 2017 that Senator Adeleke is dead. It was hard to believe since the Senator showed no sign of illness a day before.
He attended a political meeting and a wedding ceremony previously. A bonhomie and was his usual bubbly self at the two social events.
The private residence of the Senator in Ede, became a Mecca of sorts, many of his followers and admirers rushed there to confirm his death. Thousands of people trooped to his home, simply because, he was loved by his people. He was a grass root political mobiliser.
The Senator built and maintained the political structure established by his father. He was the only visible and colourful politician among the children of his late father.
His father, Senator Ayoola Adeleke, was also a colourful politician in the second republic of 1979 and 1983. His father was loved by the people of Ede, thus winning his election on the platform of UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria). UPN was a party led by the indefatigable leader of the southwest political titan, Late Pa Obafemi Awolowo.
Ayoola Adeleke was a Nigerian politician and labour activist from Ede who was vice president of the United Labour Congress, an elected Senator from Osun during the Nigerian second republic.
Isiaka Adeleke took over and strengthened the political machinery, culminating to becoming the first executive governor of the newly created Osun state between 1992 to 1993, in the short-lived third republic.
His emergence as the first Civilian State Governor of Osun State in 1992 on the party ticket of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at the age of 37 years earned him the nickname, ‘SERUBAWON’ as he just returned from the US at that time. He was not favoured to win, the front runner was a lawyer, Oladipo Oladosu, but after a close primary, in which Adeleke came second, he was able to win the run off.
During his brief stint as Governor, he established a polytechnic at Iree, a college of technology at Esa-Oke and also completed the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, among other projects.
He was a fearless politician, joined the fray by asking the then military President Ibrahim Babangida, to reverse his annulment of the June 2, 1993 election that saw MKO Abiola as winner.
Unfortunately, the military led by Gen Sanni Abacha in November 1993 struck and ended the third republic. He threw his hat in the ring in the fourth republic. Doing what he knows best in 2007, Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke contested for a seat in the Osun West Senatorial district under the platform People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and won. He lost out in the 2011 elections.
However, in the 2015 elections, he again re-contested for the seat in the Osun West Senatorial District under the Platform of the All Progressives Congress(APC) and won. He was a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria before his demise.
It is worthy to note that he targets to sponsor bills that will improve Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System.
He is also the recipient of the National award of Commander of the Order of the Niger (C.O.N).
The sudden death of the Senator has been shrouded in deep controversy. He attended a political meeting and also a wedding party on Saturday and retired home late in the night.
Unfortunately, the following Sunday morning, he complained of stomach ache and was rushed to a hospital before he finally gave up the ghost.
Some few days before his death, he complained of swollen leg, and his personal doctor administered injection on him.
The late Senator was reportedly diabetic and hypertensive, he might have died as a result of complications. The junior brother to the late Senator, Deji Adeleke ordered for autopsy before he was buried. The family is yet to disclose the outcome of the autopsy.
While I do not want to join the fray, it is rather discomfiture that his followers and supporters believed he was poisoned.
In Africa, we tend to beleive many are being killed using diabolic powers especially when such individual dies young, Africans hardly beleive deaths are natural. Sadly, the late Senator died at the age of 62.
He was a leading contestant in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in 2018 in the state of Osun. Many of his admirers, followers and people of Ede beleive and lay credence to this assertion.
Simply because politics is a do or die affair in Nigeria and it is a case of winner takes all.
Most politicians in Nigeria do not aspire for political positions to serve the people but to take care of their needs and satisfy their unquenchable thirst for power, greed and appurtenances attached to it
The system has been unable to take care of common needs of the people, politicians give and invest all to win.
Politics is the quickest and surest way to riches, they positioned themselves to appropriate and allocate the common patrimony, at their whims and caprices.
His supporters may have suddenly realised the sudden loss of a lifetime opportunity, if the Senator wins the forthcoming election.
With the outpouring of emotion and general mourning in Ede, it is obvious that the town has lost one of its illustrious sons.
While I marvelled at this naked show of love to the family of the Adelekes, by the people of Ede, it is also disappointing that the mourning should have been wide spread in the state.
The late Senator was the first democratically elected executive governor of Osun state. Although his term was short-lived, but his tenure did not lay a solid foundation for the young state.
His stewardship was more of showmanship and cosmetics. I was in the University when he became the governor in 1992. I do not want to delve further because as an African, you are not expected to speak ill of the dead. The second reason is that he’s not in a position to defend himself against any accussation
But one thing is clear, if he had laid solid foundation Osun state, our state, would not been in a sorry state and struggling to the toga of a rural state. The state have been owing workers’ salaries and one of the most indebted state in Nigeria.
My dear late Senator also has a share of the blame.
While I join the rest of the country to commiserate with the family, I pray that God gives the family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
To this great political titan, may his soul rest in perfect peace, Amen