Gov Adeleke, His Dance, Personality and Politics

Sarafa Ibrahim reports about the life of Dancing Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun state and what he has been able to do to change the face of politics in the State of the Living Spring.

Ademola Adeleke is a name that meant different things to different people. And the reason for this is no other than politics. Since Adeleke’s debut in electoral contest in 2017, those who are opposed to him have done almost everything to adorn him a garb that does not in anyway reflect his true personality.

His hobby, which is dancing, was seen as a weakness and not suitable for leadership position. But the mistake in that narrative was ignoring that a happy man will understand what it takes to make another man happy. And this has been the experience with  Adeleke in the leadership positions entrusted him so far.

Although, his time in the Senate was short, but it prefaced an enduring sense of commitment to the good of the people. That proved his doubters wrong, and in turn, endeared him more to the people, which earned him a victory at the 2018 governorship poll at the first ballot before manipulation thwarted the will of the electorate.

And the same thing manifested in the 2022 governorship election, which saw Adeleke edge out the incumbent, GboyegaOyetola, to emerge the 6th Executive Governor of Osun state. How Adeleke got here tells a story of determination and drive for success. He fought through searing, dehumanising political persecution— the mountain of court cases on his qualification for office and media onslaught at his person.

Speaking at the convocation of the Adeleke University in Ede, Osun state in 2023, Adeleke recounted that “I was subjected to the worst personality attacks and assaults in Osun political history,” adding that “After a manipulated judicial process, I went on self–exile for two major reasons. Firstly, to escape the evil plot of enemies who were not satisfied with stealing the People’s mandate. Secondly, to complete my degree programs especially as my educational qualifications dominated the 2018 campaigns.”

It was that rough and draining but  Adeleke was not shaken in his desire to halt the retrogression of the state and ensure a government that have real impact on the people. When those before him have a ready excuse of paucity of fund to dodge certain responsibilities, especially the welfare of workers and pensioners, Adeleke made it a first–line charge for his administration.

Obviously guided by the general understanding that a labourer deserves his or her wage, and in time,  Adeleke prioritize the payment of workers salary and associated benefits. Even when he knows nothing about 30–month half salary untouched by his predecessor, Adeleke set out a template to defray the debt and bring reprieve to those affected.

One spectacular thing about Adeleke is his simplicity and him not given to the temptation of politics of bitterness. Despite all he went through in the hand of his opponents to get to where he is now,  Adeleke made it clear he would only be guided by public interest and not the bitter politics of the past. For that reason, he is continuing projects, programmes and initiatives inherited as long as it will benefit the people.

In fact, Adelekeeffected the cashbacking of promotion for workers by his predecessor. Knowing how his predecessor treated some of the projects and initiates inherited, the attitude of Adeleke to inherited projects and initiatives showed he is not driven by hate or needless political strife. Adeleke’s interest is public benefit and whoever started a project or initiative does not matter to him.

Adeleke has been exceptional in implementing the desire to address the mountainous infrastructural deficit inherited without burdening the future.

The dire strait of Osun finances as a consequences of past debt binge is a reality well know to all. And Adeleke is not willing to add to the debt burden even though he is making effort to improve the state’s infrastructural landscape and derive economic and social benefits for Osun and its people.

In October last year, Adeleke unveiled a multi–billion naira infrastructure plan for the state. Through the infra plan, road projects and overhead bridges across the state will be constructed while a total of 345 primary healthcare centres and 31 public schools will be renovated and equipped. Boreholes will also be sunk in the 332 political wards in the state as well as installation of streetlights among other infrastructural needs will be taken care of.

The first phase of the infra plan projects had started and will be delivered before the year runs out. Parts of the second phase had been flagged off and work ongoing. Mind you, no kobo is taken as loan on this ambitious multi-billion naira projects, which must have confounded the opposition and responsible for the series of erroneous insinuations it is peddling about them. And you can’t really blame them when you look at the past, and how they were able to execute some of the projects that can be ascribed to them while in power. If they are not taking loan to execute a project, they will enter into a contracting arrangement, which in real sense put the state at a disadvantage.

The long and short of it all is that Adeleke is a sure fit for leadership position. The opposition, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun state, who portray him as incapable are not just wrong but also mischievous.

From his time in the Senate and now as a Governor, Adeleke has been effective in delivering good governance and advancing the cause of the people.

Civil servants who endured over three years for the effect of the financial consequence of promotion given to them until Adeleke implemented it can attest to his kind leadership.

Over 50,000 beneficial of the Imole Medical and Surgical Outreach will tell you that Adeleke is a leader that truly cares. Pensioners in Osun state, who no longer have to worry about the cost of managing their health because Adeleke provided them a full healthcare coverage, can better tell the story of a passionate leader. And Osun people who can see and feel the reality of the ongoing infrastructural development across the state will echo loud the transformational leader that Adeleke is.

-Ibrahim is a Special Assistant to Osun Governor on Print Media.

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