By Gbenga Olrarinoye
OSOGBO — Even in death, Senator Isiaka Adeleke continues to elicit interest in the political firmament of Osun State which he governed as the first chief executive between 1992 and1993 on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP.
Senator Adeleke remains an enigma. A grassroots mobiliser, he was a great philanthropist of high repute, not only to the people of his constituency, but the entire state.
Several attempts by the late Adeleke to govern Osun state once again in the wake of the Fourth Republic’s emergence have been futile due to one reason or the other.
Senator Adeleke was consistently seen as being an asset no matter what political party he joined.
This reason is not far fetched because whether there is politics or not, Senator Adeleke was always oiling his political machinery scattered all over the state.
So, it was not surprising when after Adeleke’s death on April 23, 2017, all his supporters converged and resolved to present his younger brother, Ademola Adeleke for the July 8, 2017 Osun West Senatorial by-election on the All Progressives Congress, APC platform.
Among the strong contenders for the vacant seat on the ticket of APC, are the national ex-officio of the APC, Hon. Akintola Omolaoye; the state secretary of party, Ayobami Salinsile; Ademola Adeleke, Alhaji Tiamiyu Bello, Mr. Tijani Adekilekun, Alhaji Sule Alao and Senator Mudasir Hussein.
Aspirants on the platform of Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, included the former speaker of Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Adejare Bello; Hon. Bamidele Sallam, Hon Ajibade Falade, Senator Olasunkanmi Akinlabi, Colonel Olayiwola Falabi (retd.)among others.
However, at a time when Adeleke’s camp was thinking the coast had been cleared for his younger brother to be presented as the party’s sole candidate for the primary election, other aspirants who withdrew from the race and Senator Hussein, disqualified from the race, suddenly kicked against Ademola’s emergence. The revolt came a few hours after the national secretariat of APC cleared him for the primary.
Senator Hussein had earlier been disqualified by the party’s screening committee to participate in the election, but the national secretariat of the party was said to have cleared Hussein at the last minute.
Chairman of the screening committee, Hon. Sanusi Rikiji said Hussein’s disqualification from contesting in the primary election was due to non-compliance with the provisions of the party guidelines and constitution.
The committee, in a letter, said it disqualified Hussein for being a cabinet member in Osun State contrary to the APC 2014 guidelines, which provides that “aspirants seeking public office on its platform shall not have remained an employee of the public service within 30 days proceeding.”
However, at the eleventh hour, Adeleke defected from the APC to the PDP. He had earlier been screened and given clearance by the APC screening and election committee while Ssenator Hussein, who was the preferred candidate of Governor Rauf Aregbesola was disqualified.
Adeleke opined that the decision of the screening and appeal committee by the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party to upturn Hussein’s disqualification was suspicious and which might make the primary lack credibility and transparency.
At this point, Ademola Adeleke approached PDP for screening and was cleared less than twenty four hours to the party primary.
There was, however, wild jubilation at the Osun West senatorial headquarters in Iwo when Adeleke picked the ticket to contest for the vacant seat on the PDP platform.
Adeleke’s emergence became possible when two other contestants for the ticket, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi and Mr. Olayiwola Falabi stepped down for him.
At Iwo, where the PDP held its primary, Senator Olasunkanmi and Falabi stepped down for Ademola Adeleke after addressing the delegates.
The announcement brought about wild jubilation at the venue of the PDP primary election.
Olasunkanmi, in his concession speech, said other PDP aspirants decided to step down for him but he had to step down after calls from various quarters.
He said the party was promised that Osun West would produce the governorship candidate for the party next year.
This he claimed was why he stepped down in the party interest, and not for Ademola Adeleke.