Isiaka Adeleke (Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke), Nigerian Senator, born 15 January 1955. Isiaka, a man during his lifetime gave all he had without discrimination, to make his fellow human beings live a worthy life. Isiaka Adeleke, the undisputable apostle of politics without bitterness will continue to get the fullest honour and respect his memory deserves.
Born into the family of Senator Ayoola Adeleke, it appears that fate had conspired to make him a politician by circumstance, by inclination and by personal conviction. His education spanned Enugu and Ogbomosho in Nigeria, and Jacksonville, Alabama in the United States, and included the acquisition of degrees in Political Science and Public Administration.
His first political contest during the short-lived Third Republic is a testimony to his strengths. Fresh from the US, drawn against an ostensibly stronger opponent, Chief Oladipo Oladosu, he fought his way to a run-off election and won to become the gubernatorial candidate for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Osun State.
Adeleke won the governorship election to become the state’s first civilian governor at the age of 37 and set about accelerating its infrastructural development, the indelible marks of which are still recognisable today. Between January 1992 and November 1993, he established Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, a college of technology at Esa-Oke, and completed the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation.
His ability to bounce back into political reckoning in the Fourth Republic is clear testimony to the durability of the Adeleke political brand. In 2007, he was voted in as senator representing the Osun West Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), a feat he replicated in 2015 as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Adeleke was the quintessential politician. Larger than life, he was loved by many, disliked by some, and respected by all. Although he was by birth and achievement a member of the elite, he was also an authentic grassroots politician, his common touch cemented by his wide-ranging acts of philanthropy which did not discriminate on the basis of religion, class or origin. Although deeply-involved in the often-acrimonious governorship contests in Osun State, it is to his credit that few acts of political brigandage were ever directly ascribed to him.
Indeed, despite the violence and bitterness inherent in Nigerian politics, Adeleke stood out for his consistent determination to separate the personal from the political. Political enmity was virtually unknown to him; his friends and associates spanned the political and ideological spectrum. He operated an open-door policy whereby anyone could have access to him, regardless of social standing, and had an uncanny memory for names and faces. This probably accounts for the genuine love in which he was held by so many in Osun State, and his ability to win elections across different political platforms.
Given his acknowledged political talent, Adeleke arguably could have achieved much more than he did. As governor and two-time senator, he was in a position to create conditions which would have made it less necessary for so many to be so dependent on his goodwill. The insecurity for which Osun State was notorious during his brief tenure as governor might have been better handled.
Adeleke’s legacies in various forms are being built up by his nuclear and political families, who continue to make outstanding contributions to make that sweet name – Isiaka Adeleke appear as if he was still around with us. The Adeleke University, of which he was the First Chancellor, has its imposing and edifying Senate Building named after him. Thanks to the Governing Council of the University for deeming such honour worthy of Isiaka Adeleke, a man of many firsts.
Aside the Senator Isiaka Adeleke Senate Building, an annual lecture in his honour has been instituted. The maiden edition of the lecture came up on April 22, 2018, at the first anniversary of his death, with Professor Agbede as the guest lecturer. Efforts are in top gear by the management of Adeleke University to come up with his biography as a lasting tribute to his memory. The book, no doubt will be a Best Seller, when it is presented to the public. It would be a must for every home in Nigeria and abroad.
This is to bring to the fore, once more, the need to have an Isiaka Adeleke Political Museum, where all the peculiar and special features of his political career will be assembled for generations yet unborn to catch a glimpse. His cone-shaped cap, gold-rimmed glasses, intellectual works, – comprising landmark speeches, lectures and interviews will be under one roof. This is what obtains at Ikenne residence of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory. This is to hope, that the nuclear family will give this noble proposal a thought for the sake of posterity. Because for our today, Adeleke gave all of himself, particularly the development of the downtrodden, to enable them to live a purposeful and meaningful life.
That generosity flows freely in the Adeleke Family was not by accident. The foundation for same was firmly laid by Senator Isiaka Adeleke grandfather, Baba Mohammed Awwal Adeleke, who fondly helped in propagating Islam in the 1930s. An impeccable source has it, that Papa Muhammed Awwal Adeleke, took it upon himself in providing free meals on a daily basis to the Arabic students of late Alfa Zulukananih Gegelose Arabic School, in Ede in the 30s, in order to encourage the students to attend classes regularly. The effort of Baba Muhammed Awwal Adeleke paid off tremendously. Be it recalled, that Alfa Zulukanainah Gegelose, was the first Otun Imam of Ede Central Mosque.
Though Isiaka Adeleke ventured hard to come back and serve the good people of Osun State as their governor, an ambition which his transition put paid to, it is to the glory of God, that one of his own, Senator Ademola Adeleke is trudging on and sustaining the political legacy. Through judicial process and the grace of God, he will soon take his rightful place as the governor of Osun State. Kudos to the good people of Osun State for extending the love they had for Senator Isiaka Adeleke to his nuclear family, which Ademola Adeleke represents. Isiaka Adeleke lived a fulfilled life of service to the common man. They have never abandoned him in death.
The Ede Country Home residence, where Isiaka Adeleke breathed his last, should be preserved for posterity. Because for our today, he gave all of himself. All avenues should be continually employed to immortalise him. To the glory of Almighty Allah, the Senator (Alhaji) Isiaka Adeleke Memorial Mosque, which was commissioned at his 63rd birthday ceremony on January 15, 2018, continues to attract hundreds of worshippers at the weekly Jumat Services. May all invocations offered at the mosque serve as forgiveness of his sins and a place in Aljanat Fridaus .
As his birthday, always coincided with the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Senator Isiaka Adeleke heart in his illuminated grave, goes out to thousands of our gallant soldiers and other Services, that are fighting gallantly to put an end to all forms of insurgency in the land. His soul prays for their safety and repose of the souls of those who died in the patriotic cause of keeping Nigeria united. That is Isiaka Adeleke, a man of peace, who will never hurt a fly, in whose memory, we should continue to practice politics without bitterness, particularly as we approach the 2019 general elections.
siaka Adeleke, A member of the Nigerian Senate, died on 23 April 2017. The death sparked spontaneous riots and the governor set up a coroner’s inquest to probe the cause. The Consultant Pathologist, Dr Taiwo Sholaja, as well as the Chief Medical Director of the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Prof. Akeem Lasisi, told the coroner that Adeleke died of drug overdose.
The family stated at the press conference that they were not behind the prosecution of the suspect and wondered why the governor suddenly realised that Aderibigbe must be prosecuted some months to the governorship poll in the state.
- Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke Biography and Profile (Goodreadbiography / This Day / Tribune Online)