Today, January 15, 2018 marks the post-humous sixty-third (63rd) birthday of a man, who many people still want to believe is very much around, bubbling with life, making them happy as was characteristic of him during his lifetime. It is no other, than the amiable, irrepressible, dignified and humane personality, that late Senator Isiaka Adetunji Alani Adeleke – the First Executive Governor of Osun State (January 1992-November 1993), The First Asiwaju of Edeland, The First Chancellor, Adeleke University was. The man with many Firsts.
Senator Isiaka Adeleke was the most colorful and charismatic politician and statesman and a towering individual that Osun State has so far produced. During his lifetime, he gave all he had without discrimination; to make his fellow human beings live a worthy life.
When on January 15, 2017, he decided and unusually too, to mark his 62nd birthday modestly at his Ikeja residence in Lagos State, little did we know that it would be the last of such celebration that we would share with him. The usual practice was for him to assemble his teeming well-wishers and associates at his Ede Country Home and fraternize heartily with all and sundry – low and mighty. Today, the story is entirely different. We are celebrating him as we have promised to do, so as to sustain his sweet memory and memorable achievements, as he post-humously turned 63 at the other divide. It is the belief of all those, whose lives he impacted positively, to regard his sudden death, though very painful, as a celebration of a lifetime, so as to make his legacies endure.
We have accepted his glorious transition as the supreme will of the Almighty God, who we cannot query but thank, as the author and finisher of our fates, for his exemplary and fulfilled mission on earth, which he traversed like a colossus and a political icon. Isiaka Adeleke was a Phenomenon, a legend, a rare gem, amiable personality and the undisputable apostle of politics without bitterness. We shall continue to accord his memory the fullest honour and respect that it richly deserves. Your Excellency Sir, the whole world stood still at your transition to glory. The vacuum created by your death is too big to be readily filled. Tears continue to fill our eyes and flow freely. It is difficult to comprehend, that you are no more with us. Who will ever believe so.
Humanity at your death came to terms with the stark reality that your type comes into the universe, once in hundreds of years. You were in the mould of the likes of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Basorun M.K.O. Abiola; Chief Gani Fewehinmi; Zik of Africa, Nelson Mandela and few others. That certainly is the home truth. We are convinced that your Creator took you away at the appointed time, a situation no human being can influence or alter.
My big Boss-yesterday, today and forever, tears welled up in my eyes while writing this befitting tribute in your memory I have no choice than to do so. I, like numerous people, shared quality times with you for over 22 years. You shared all you had with us. You gave everybody, who came your way the opportunity to enjoy life more abundant, within your limited resources and while doing so, you at times got broke. But not for you is a dull moment. Your bedroom and kitchen were opened to all. You never complained of intrusion into your privacy. You had a good and beautiful heart and a readily forgiving spirit. You did not harbour malice towards anybody throughout your lifetime. Your very few political foes even attested to this fact. It is an incontrovertible fact. You were a consummate politician and compassionate family man to the core. You lived a wonderfully beautiful life and served your God to the best of your ability.
You gave hope to the hopeless; voice to the voiceless and help to the helpless. That was you, big boss- Asiwaju Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke. You were not materialistic. Rather you were urbane, classy, trendy and elegant in your carriage, with your trademark customized glasses, which made you look so beautiful, not handsome.
A show-stopper that you were, your arrival at any political or social events, electrifies the atmosphere. You instantly became the cynosure of all eyes and the usual shouts of DE GUV, DE GUV rent the air. You always in return gave your disarming and arresting gentle smile to the applause of all. You made life and living, LIVEABLE for thousands of people. We are pained to the marrows that all these are gone, but we again glorify God Almighty for your enviable lifestyle. You lived a life of a Messiah and died as such. Death, where is thy sting?!!!
It was encomium galore, glowing tributes and pure-from-the-heart commentaries that came your way at death. Nobody spoke ill of you and still do not. To Islamically immortalize you forever, a state-of-the-art-multi-million Naira Central Mosque, named after you and aesthetically finished, has been put in place by your loving family and same is being commissioned today for worshippers. We believe that all invocations offered there will be accruable benefits for you and open wider, the doors to Aljanat Fridaus for you. Don’t worry my boss, a glimpse at your imposing grave, assures me and others that your ever radiant face is glowing with smile. You lived a thoroughly peaceful life, devoid of acrimony, vendetta and unnecessary controversies. You will never hurt a fly.
As it was during your lifetime, your associates of various callings are holding your flag, flying high – ASIAA ISIAKA ADELEKE, LELE LO NFE, So shall it be forever. A Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke Institute of Political Studies is also being contemplated by some of your THINK TANK committee of intellectuals, where as an advocate of politics without bitterness, among your other sterling qualities, politicians, and political science students, would be able to tap into your cerebral works, some of which this writer is compiling for your proposed library. This will be in addition to an annual ISIAKA ADELEKE DISTINGUISHED LECTURE, by God’s Grace. We shall not relent.
Your death has changed the political equation in Osun State in its entirety. The centre can no longer hold. You remained the reference point and central issue in Osun politics. But to the glory of God, your political legacy of service to mankind is being nurtured by all those who believe in your cause. Dr. Nurudeen Ademola Adeleke, your brother, through the grace of God, fantastic display of loyalty to your memory by Osun West electorate, emerged as your successor in the Red Chamber, after a protracted play against concerted forces of fate. Your spirit also rose from the grave to fight the cause. We wish Senator Ademola Adeleke a successful tenure of office. He is giving a good account of himself at committee works and plenary session. He is learning the political rope very fast and the sky is his limit.
The bill on whistle-blowing, which you presented and championed during your lifetime, promptly scaled through all readings in the Senate and became a law that has so far attracted, billions of Naira of looted funds to the Federal Government since its implementation started. Kudos to your distinguished colleagues in THE SENATE, who ensured that the bill did not gather dust like the PIB. This surely, is another landmark achievements by you, and for which generations yet unborn will appreciate.
Senator Isiaka Adeleke, you are a study in complete humility, perseverance and patience. Your philanthropic gestures- open and hidden, shone brightly at your death, through numerous testimonies from people of various diversifications. The world marveled at your unparalleled kindness to the peasants, who cried themselves silly and uncontrollably, that their benefactor is gone, as there could not be a ready replacement for you that will relate to them in the simple and unrestricted manner that you used to handle them.
But the Adeleke family under the divine guidance and leadership of Dr. Deji Adeleke, ably assisted by the Amazon- Chief (Mrs.) Dupe Adeleke- Sanni is not leaving any stone unturned in maintaining your philanthropic gestures across the 30 local government areas in Osun State. Hundreds of scholarships were awarded on October 8, 2017, to deserving but indigent students from across Osun West District. Thousands of bags of rice are on monthly basis finding their ways to all the nooks and crannies of Osun State, without consideration for political affiliation, religion, tribe or creed. Your death set free some awaiting-trial-inmates of Ilesa and Ife prisons, whose various options of fines were paid, at the instance of Springtime Development Foundation, where your twin- brother, Dr Deji Adeleke, is the Chairman. Not only were some of the prison inmates set free, those left behind were availed 700 mattresses, 700 pillows at each of the Ilesa and Ife prisons, in addition to skill acquisition equipment. That is you, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, still impacting the lives of those who would have remained in the prison yards for who knows how long. You are just UNFORGETTABLE. As a gallant political solder that you were, today is Armed Forces Remembrance Day. May your gentle soul and those of several gallant solders who died at war fronts at various times rest in peace.
As you post humously mark your 63rd birthday in Aljana Fridaus and we are also celebrating you at this divide, it is only pertinent to wish the nuclear and extended families and indeed all of us you left behind, the grace of God to trudge on and the comfort from the Almighty to soothe the pains attendant on us from your death – a situation we cannot reverse. We submit to the will of the Almighty, who knows best.
Happy 63rd birthday, the man of the people, a goal-getter, a friend of the masses that you Isiaka Adeleke were. You live forever in our hearts. The beat continues my great boss, friend and benefactor.
.Olumide Lawal, who wrote from Ede, was Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke.
For a better society.