His political nickname –Serubawon– was rooted in the marauding, egoistic bravura with which he came into politics way back in the early part of the 90s. Osun had just been excised from the Old Oyo and the new state, which was under the grip of military administrators was going to have her first civilian governor.
At 37, Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke changed the political calculations of the then rustic Osun to bulldoze his way into the Government House having boxed his rival in the then Social Democratic Party, Oladosu Oladapo, into a political corner that later sent the then Ibadan-based legal practitioner into political oblivion.
Scion of late Senator Raji Ayoola Adeleke, his father was believed to have accessed scholarship opportunities for his children as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; giving them an enviable edge for quality education above their peers at the time.
When he then ‘erupted’ in the politics of Osun, it was with a rippling effect that sent many other candidates moving back to pave the way for this charging bull who ran over every other candidate to clinch the governorship seat. It was this threatening maverick manner in which he entered the politics of the state and clinched his target that earned him the sobriquet that has defined his political journey till he breathed his last.
And how could death have come in such a scary manner? It came at a time the political temperature of the state was about rising ahead of the succession battle of 2018. A politician with towering figure, Adeleke would not accept to be in the ilk of those to be dictated to in political arrangements. When his party said months ago that it was not yet time for anyone to throw their harts into the ring, Adeleke would have none of that as he believed that times was of the essence in his mobilization and consultations and effective solidification of his structures across the state.
When death came calling on Sunday April 23rd, 2017 in his Ede, Osun residence, it came scaring the hell out of everybody given the last moment of the late politician. Serubawon’s death indeed, jolted the entire nation into disbelief taking him away with nothing to prepare anyone for the tragic shock.
After two terms as a Senator, Adeleke appeared to have seen a fresh opportunity to return to the Oke Fia Government House when Aregbesola quits the stage come next year. The interesting political landscape that Osun represents must necessarily bring forth the rumpus that have attended Adeleke’s declaration despite his party’s rule. In the political calculations, alignments and re-alignments of 2014 which brought back Aregbesola for a second term, Adeleke emerged a factor that was required to complete the rank of all former governors of the state to be on one side (that of Aregbesola) as against ambition of the then candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyiola Omisore.
He appeared to have needed the All Progressives Congress the profile of which was rising then just as it appeared that Aregbesola and his party needed Adeleke to further decimate the PDP ahead of Aregbesola’s re-election. Do not forget that Adeleke had been humiliated in his party with the celebrated attacks on him when a serving minister, Jelili Adesiyan indeed, regretted not having the opportunities to have kicked and boxed and wrestled him to the ground if only to show Adeleke that he was not a factor to be celebrated and honored with the governorship ticket
Who recalls how Adesiyan actually worded his threat against Adeleke in the build up to the primaries of the PDP in 2014 in Osun?
“If I had not been a minister, I would have flogged him like a baby. You know Adeleke is sick; may be he would have died that day. One upper or lower cut would have landed him in hospital. Ta lo n je ode aperin niwaju ode apayan?”
Those who remember these words would easily see how the then minister had given a clue into the unstable health of the senator, a tieback to the fact that the politician had indeed nursed an ailment not known to many of his loyalists.
However, the dimension of the news emanating from Osun over the unending feelings of suspicion over the death of Adeleke appears dangerous and a disservice to the memory of the dead. Admitted that the pang of sudden separation could ignite such rash actions as witnessed in the freshness of the news of the death on April 23, 2017 around Ede, Adeleke’s country home, rational thinking by now ought to have taken over as part of solemnity that should attend the departure of man of Adeleke’s political profile.
The attacks on innocent people; the near lynching of a prominent daughter of the city who we were later told was a political disciple of Adeleke, Idiat Babalola, the growing animosity between the family of the senator and the government of Osun look good to rob Adeleke the collective sense of mourning that all the people of Osun should accord him.
On a particular sad note is the reported rejection by the family, of the Coroners Inquest instituted by the government of the state over suspicions that the outcome of the inquest might be doctored. This sounds ill-advised given the fact that one of the reasons that have made an inquest a compelling necessity is the suspicion of foul play over the death in the first instance.
Even if Adeleke had not left the comfort of his residence for weeks before he breathed his last, a coroners inquest would still have been ideal given the status of Adeleke. If the family members suspected he was poisoned, it only sounds logical that an investigation is launched into the death.
Sadly enough, there is a growing distasteful interpretation being inserted into the entire imbroglio now with the insinuation that the siblings of the late senator want to use his unfortunate death for some bargainings. It would stand logic on its head if the same family that feels dissatisfied over suspicions of possible foul play at the same time express its desire to scuttle the only known scientific machinery put in place to ascertain the true cause of death.
May the soul of the departed rest perfectly with his Lord, Amen.
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