January 15th, marks the post humous 65th birthday of a legend, in person of the First Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke. It is after his death, that we understood, how seriously he struggled at putting valuable time and resources with politicians and high public office holders, who were not as convinced as he was to the public good as they appeared to be. Late Adeleke was at a point disappointed that he was dealing with crass opportunists in politics; people without genuine love of selfless service to the citizenry like he was.
He was literally disturbed by this development, because he had hoped to make Osun State an Eldorado and her people, first among equals, if he had emerged as their governor in 2018, since there was little he could do for them with his limited resources as a distinguished Senator of Nigeria. But the way of God, is not our own way. And that rare virtue of undiluted love for humanity was what put late Asiwaju Adeleke many miles ahead of his political peers.
Even at that, the solid political machinery and goodwill of Senator Adeleke ably backed by well-wishers was at work on September 22, 2018 for Senator Ademola Adeleke, who recorded a big Governorship victory that was truncated. But let us keep hope alive that a glorious dawn shall soon be here, and there will be a shining light at the end of the tunnel.
The Otunba of Ejigbo, traversed life with humility. He gave enough hope to the hopeless and the voiceless, if those of us living will care a bit, to look back and see how he processed and proceeded into making life worth living for the vulnerable. When he transited gloriously on April 26, 2017, he was at peace with God and himself. The sweet smile on his face was evidence about his satisfaction, that he had kept the faith. More profoundly, Senator Isiaka Adeleke was optimistic, that despite the political abracadabra in the land, Nigeria was set for greater height. He went into his grave, with the belief, that Nigeria would navigate her way through as a land flowing with milk and honey, that remains one and indivisible country. What a great patriot he was! Patriotism, humanness, gentleman disposition to all were his trademarks.
He was of the conviction, that if each and every one of us, try hard to do our bits diligently, humanity will be better for it. That was the lesson he passed on to those of us who had the rare privilege of drinking from his fountain of knowledge, without necessarily forcing his way through or bamboozling us into accepting his views-hook, line and sinker. He was a rare personality imbued with traits of kindness and spirit of forgiveness. His likes come round once in a lifetime.
Overtime, clarion calls have been made by this writer to the effect, that there is an absolute need for Isiaka Adeleke Political Museum, right inside his Ede country home, to serve as a “Mecca” of sort for people from far and near, to see at first hand, those things-intellectual and material, that made Serubawon, Erinlomo thick during his life time. A visit to Ikenne home of the late Sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, will serve as a reference point to this clarion call. Efunyela Hall in Ikenne is now a tourist centre. Also those handling the writing of his biography, should hasten action, with a view to affording the reading public, the opportunity of knowing, those hitherto, unknown facts and records, the biography is set to unveil. Though what is worth doing at all is worth doing well.
Our joy is permanent, that the family has put up an everlasting legacy of a Central Mosque in his name. We return all glory to God for this unique landmark in his memory. My interactions with Senator Isiaka Adeleke, for a period spanning twenty-five years, availed me the opportunity that true heroism lived in him. Many of his acquaintances were also beneficiaries of this unique virtue that stood him higher in the social, corporate and political turfs.
We should therefore, as well-wishers of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, pursue his dream and objective of selfless service and do our best to stay on his vision for humanity as encapsulated in his large heart and beautiful soul, which he offered the world through-out his lifetime. Asiwaju Adeleke was a study and role-model for good naturedness, whom his admirers, fondly continue to refer to with deep-seated respect and affection as their friend, brother, boss and benefactor.
He left no one in doubt that it would take the grace of God for his political charisma and well-endowed flamboyance like Obafemi Awolowo, M.K.O Abiola etc to be equaled. He remained an institution; an enigma; an icon; a likeable and loveable personality of all times. A citizen of the world.
It is pertinent to state, that Senator Isiaka Adeleke political empire, should be thoroughly fine-tuned and well-placed, as he would have loved to, to embrace all his loving disciples spread all over Osun State and beyond. There is still a lot of shifting and weighing to achieve this noble goal and sustain his political legacy and make it endure without let or hindrance. Senator Isiaka Adeleke, whilst alive was for all. He managed his political journey refreshingly, without putting some disciples over and above others.
Those who, for one reason or the other have grudgingly left his political base, due to overbearing posture of some people, displaying overzealousness as Lords of the Manon, should be worked upon to return and contribute their quotas to make Asiwaju Isiaka Adeleke political empire, bloom and blossom like four-season flower. He richly deserves this. A populist that he was, Senator Isiaka Adeleke heeded and fulfilled a generational call to give us what we have today as the State of the Living Spring, where acts of omoluabi reign supreme, when he emerged as the Governor of Osun State at 37. He worked diligently to achieve that goal and emerged triumphant. An attribute, that made him loved, dreamt and lived Osun throughout his lifetime.
This brings to mind, the need for vast majority of Senator Isiaka Adeleke associates, friends, of whatever persuasion or class, to come up with a Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke Foundation, all on their own, without the involvement of his nuclear family, who are doing more than enough to make his memory evergreen. That time is now for the foundation to take off and bring succor to Senator Isiaka Adeleke down-trodden followers among other objectives.
Senator Isiaka Adeleke was a ‘human lion’ that ‘roared’ lovingly, without any harm to anybody. He “roared”, so that the less-privileged far away, could hear his voice and come closer to him to partake of the little or much he has to offer them to live meaningfully. He was a political Stallion that marched gingerly and gracefully over the land. A political river, that never stops flowing.
Asiwaju Isiaka Adeleke was a generalissimo of his soul, driven by self-determination that impacted positively on humanity. He demonstrated very deep intellectual grasp of issues, which in turn inspired and mobilized a whole generation of young and old. A politician, that promoted shared values, shared services and shared opportunities in deepening democracy in Osun State. Up till today, Senator Isiaka Adeleke elegance, composure and tolerance of other people’s views without hurting them still dazzles a lot of people.
Him even in his grave. May you continue to rest peacefully in the Senator Isiaka Adeleke as a man of God has departed this world in peace with salvation from the Almighty. Our brother, friend and boss, epitomized all that is good about Osun State, nay Nigeria. You cannot take humanity out of him, while humanity itself is not prepared to go out of bosom of Almighty Allah- your Creator. Happy post humous 65th birthday, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke. You live in our hearts forever.
–––Lawal was Special Adviser (Media Publicity) to late Senator Isiaka Adeleke.