Damilola Oyedele and James Emejo
It was a sombre mood at the National Assembly, following the resumption from the Easter recess yesterday as senators and members of the House of Representatives mourned the demise of Senator Isiaka Adeleke who represented Osun West senatorial district.
As practice, both chambers adjourned plenary as a mark of respect and honour.
Adeleke, the first Governor of Osun State, died last Sunday morning, in circumstances that have generated controversy.
A two time senator, Adeleke was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Capital Market.
The lawmakers eulogised their departed colleague, ahead of a valedictory session of tributes, to be held in the Senate chambers today.
At a brief Senate plenary session, the Majority Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North), moved the motion for the adjournment of plenary till today.
“Tomorrow (today) by the grace of God, our colleagues will have the opportunity to pay tributes to our departed colleague in a valedictory session. I therefore move that we observed a one minute silence and then adjourn thereafter,” he said.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, presided over the minute of silence, and urged the one lawmakers to ensure they dress accordingly for the valedictory session.
The condolence register placed at the lobby of the National Assembly, was signed by several lawmakers.
Some lawmakers spoke with THISDAY on the sad event.
Senator Philip Aduda (FCT) recalled that he and Adeleke had agreed to meet after resumption from recess to discuss issues of interest to the development of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The day we adjourned plenary, on our way out of the chamber, we met in the lift and he had the cause to discuss with me issues that would bring development to the FCT. Knowing that he was a former governor, I listened to him. He said when we resume today (Tuesday) or by Thursday, we would go and see the minister of the FCT to further discuss some issues of common interest to the people in the FCT,” Aduda disclosed.
Similarly, Hon. Wole Oke (Osun APC) described Adeleke’s death as a big loss not just to the people of Ede, his hometown, and Osun State, but to the country.
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, in a condolence message, said Adeleke was an excellent leader, who showed competence in his assignments and possessed the capacity to carry people along.
In a statement, Enang noted that life is transient, and every action taken on earth is transitory.
He added that Adeleke, a complete gentleman who was truly distinguished as a governor and senator, pursued every task with vigour.
The House of Representatives yesterday suspended deliberations at plenary to pay tribute to the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke who passed on Sunday in his hometown in Osun State.
The House described his death as a huge loss to the National Assembly and the country in general.
The legislators, who had resumed after the Easter break, stepped down all items on the order paper to pay their last respect to the late senator.
Reports had it that the deceased may have been poisoned.
However, members took turns to pay tribute to the former governor of the state and two-time senator described as the architect of modern Nigeria.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Yussuf Suleimon Lasun (Osun, APC) noted that the late Adeleke actually visited his father about 48 hours before he passed on.
Lasun, further explained that his family and that of Adeleke were “ very close” to the extent that the deceased considered the deputy speaker’s father as his.
Instructively, both Lasun and Adeleke were aspiring to succeed Governor Rauf Aregbesola in next year’s governorship election in the state.
According to him:”Senator Adeleke was the first known Nigerian whose father was a senator and became a governor at the age of 37 and later became senator himself. He was a fantastic politician and had one of the fantastic relationships with his younger brother, Dr Adesoji.
“He contested for governorship in 2003, and the primary was conducted on three occasions. In 2007, he became a senator, by replacing his own father, who was a senator of Osun West.
“As a good Muslim, when I received the information about his death, I couldn’t talk. It’s on record that about 48 hours to his death, he visited my father, because my father was like a father to him. He came, he saw, but I can’t tell whether he conquered, because I can’t tell if he conquered death.
“We appreciate the concerns from all Nigerians. He has left a family that would be able to carry on from where he stopped.”
Also, Hon. Mojeed Alabi (APC, Osun) extolled the virtues of the late senator, whom he said touched the lives of many Nigerians in different positive ways.
He said:”But the sudden death of a man who was beaming with life some few hours earlier, holding political meetings and felecitating the joyous in his usually free and colourful manner surpassed the imagination of anyone. “
The Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado Doguwa said they shared in the grief of the Osun people, adding that “The best I know of him is that he was a complete gentleman. He was a very proactive and active politician, which was why he could garner the kind of support he had.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of House led by the Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, further paid a condolence visit to the President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the leadership of the Senate over the death of Senator Adeleke.
Dogara, while expressing sadness over the sudden demise of the late senator, said he will be remembered for his legacies, especially for his dedication to the betterment of the common man.
Speaking during the condolence visit at the office of the Senate President, he also offered condolences to President Muhammadu Buhari, the government and people of Osun State and the immediate family of the deceased, praying that God grants them the fortitude to bear the loss.
He said the sudden death came as a rude shock, especially, as he was “someone, who, as described on the floor of the House, whose major preoccupation was the problem of the common man.”
“We were rudely shocked by the sudden, very sudden departure of this great Nigerian who has contributed immensely to his home state Osun, and the development of this country as a whole.
“On behalf of members of the House of Representatives, we have come to offer our sincere condolences and we pray that God condoles the government of this country ably led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate President, the Senate leadership, all the members of the Senate, the entire National Assembly community, the government and people of Osun State, his immediate family, which will of course, miss him most and we pray that God will forgive his sins and grant his soul eternal rest.”