The residence of Senator Isiaka Adeleke at his home town, Ede in Osun State, was usually full of people at all times when the senator was alive, always by commoners as well as top personalities from in and around the state.
Even after his sudden death last Sunday, the residence has continued to receive huge crowds, but now the mood of the visitors is different. As they trooped in after his death, mourners wailed in agonising voices and sobbed uncontrollably. They rained curses on the supposed killers of their benefactor, and were even ready to mob any individual perceived to be in dispute with Senator Adeleke as they suspected that he was killed because of his ambition to contest in next year’s governorship election in the state.
Apparently, the late senator’s unfulfilled missions and expectations of constituents justified the grief of mourners. Expectations were high around him. While some top politicians were hoping that Adeleke, who was the first civilian governor in the state, would become the governor again, his horde of supporters at the grassroots were waiting for a date for the distribution of empowerment items he had earlier bought for them, only to suddenly hear of his death.
Inside a hall in the home of the late politician were many motorcycles, grinding machines and hair dryers among other items ready for distribution to the people for empowerment, and those that expected to benefit were waiting anxiously for the d-day. But the good news never came, and they found the rather unbelievable news of his death too sad to bear.
Our correspondent gathered that hundreds of people depended on the late Adeleke for survival, while many politicians in the state relied on him for relevance in politics. Unarguably, the sudden death of Senator Isiaka Adeleke is seen as a huge calamity for majority of people of the state.
The death sent tongues wagging because of the suddenness. Some of his political supporters became violent because they believed he was killed. The news of his death triggered protests in Ede, where the Osogbo-Gbongon highway was blocked for several hours before policemen dispersed the protesters.
So shocked and angry were his constituents that his corpse which had been prepared for burial the day he died in accordance with Islamic rites, had to wait till the following day as his family insisted on an autopsy to determine the cause of death. After the post-mortem at the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital in Osogbo, he was finally interred beside the mosque he built in his compound.
Many of his supporters are not pleased with Governor Rauf Aregbesola as they accused him of not supporting his ambition to succeed him next year. The mourners also accused Aregbesola of rather promoting one of his aides who also hails from Ede, Mrs Yidiat Babalola, with a plan to reduce Adeleke’s influence in the town.
Mourners at the burial descended on Yidiat and almost lynched her, but for the intervention of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State who helped to rescue the woman from the scene.
The mourners and attackers said she was greedy and betrayed the late senator. But Yidiat said her attackers picked on her over unfounded rumours that she wanted to be deputy governor.
Adeleke was elected the first civilian governor of the state in 1992 on the platform of the Social Democratic Party after the creation of Osun State which from the old Oyo State. The late legislator was representing Osun West Senatorial district before he passed on at the age of 62.
He was a two-time senator. First elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he represented Osun West between 2007 and 2011. He was re-elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015.
We bear no grudge against anyone-Family
The younger brother of the late senator, Dr Deji Adeleke, has said that the family had not accused anyone over the death of Senator Adeleke.
“We are in serious pain over the sudden death of our brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke and we are not happy with the way people are speculating about his death on the social media. We couldn’t bury him the day he died despite that he was a Muslim and it was because we needed to determine the cause of his death. That was why we conducted the autopsy before he was eventually buried the following day but the result of the autopsy is not ready yet.”
Dr Adeleke also appealed to the youths in Ede not to harass innocent people on the pretext of mourning Senator Adeleke. He added that his brother was a peaceful man and should not be mourned in a violent manner.
“Doctors said it would take a couple of weeks for the result to come out because it is a comprehensive analysis. We therefore appeal to those speculating on the social media about the cause of the death to desist. Let us mourn Senator Isiaka Adeleke peacefully because he was a very peaceful man who never encouraged violence during his lifetime. We are not accusing anyone and there is no basis for attacking innocent people. We urge his supporters to remain calm and mourn him in a peaceful manner.”