There are few characters in the present and past Senates thatÂ Â had controversial inroads into the Senate as Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Perhaps only the maverick former Senator from Orlu, Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe could haveÂ surpasses him in that regard.
It was thus not surprising that when Omisore made his inroad into the Senate in 2003 that a number of Senators sought to keep away from him and he respectably, kept to himself, studying the system while consolidating his domestic political turf.
Omisoreâ€™s advent to the Senate was clogged in controversy as he won his election from the prison where he was locked up on the suspicion of his involvement in the murder of Chief Bola Ige, the erstwhile Minister of Justice. He was eventually discharged and acquitted of any role in that crime.
It is perhaps because of that fog over him that very few persons have ever been able to distill the essential Omisore.
Indeed until he unveiled himself in an interview last month very few persons knew that Omisore in his words was a very close political associate of Chief Ige who he referred to as his leader. Few persons would also remember that Omisore commenced his politics on the progressive side of Yoruba politics and was indeed the person who registered the Alliance for Democracy. To buttress his point he asserted that the registration certificate of the AD was as at that date last November in his custody.
Between 2003 and 2007, Omisore kept his cool in the Senate as his name was only minimally mentioned in very few of the many controversies that dogged the chamber in that time. In one such case where his name was whispered, when push came to shove it was eventually the name of his local political rival that eventually cropped up. That political rival is now enmeshed in a criminal trial over his alleged involvement in a scam in the aviation sector.
Since 2007, when Omisore was appointed the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation his name has, however, popped up more and more in the Senate especially on issues relating to the processing of the Federal Government budget.
He has been flayed now and again by some Senators for digressing from due process in the passage of the budget. In one notable case last year as some Senate committees were discussing the inputs for the federal budget, Senator Omisore stood on the Senate floor presenting the final report on the budget!
Senators cried foul saying that what Omisore presented was not from them, but Omisore had his way.
No matter what detractors within and outside the Senate allege, Omisore has some things going for him one of which is his deep sense of loyalty.
That indeed may have helped him against the several entreaties by some Senators to the Senate leadership to remove him from the chairmanship of the Committee on Appropriation.
He is particularly remembered for his unwavering role in standing behind David Mark in the run up to the Senate leadership election. On the eve of the election after the former Governors moved in with big money and Mark was himself said to have become a little stressed, Omisore was said to have been everywhere mobilizing and working behind the scene to shore up the Mark candidacy.
Remarkably, Omisore is missing in action this year as the Senate rounds up work on the 2010 budget proposals as his election was nullified last month.
A very versatile politician, Omisore has reportedly built a very close rapport with his constituents through almost weekly interactions at home. Unlike some Senators who depend on Governors and godfathers to push them through, Omisore has fought his own political battles relying on the faithfulness of his political followers at home.
Ahead of the re-run elections last Wednesday, Omisore boasted that nobody could defeat him in a free and fair election in Osun East. His strength in Osun East some alleged underpinned the resort to the intrigues by the AC to permanently defer the election.
The AC candidate had sought to permanently defer the election until an updated votersâ€™ register was presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Given the absence of a votersâ€™ register even during the 2007 general elections many claim that the same forces that landed Bode George in prison may have targeted Omisore to permanently prevent him from taking up a seat in the Senate.
Without Omisore or Omoworare to represent Ife East in the Senate there is no doubt that the real losers would be the people of Osun East who would be deprived of the privileges that a Senator would otherwise fight for them. In Omisoreâ€™s case, some colleagues accused him of cornering some major water projects for the South in the 2009 budget to Osun East for his constituency!