“If there is any evidence of Osun State All Progressives Congress (APC) being behind the death of former governor, Isiaka Adeleke, there was none, not at all, but the rumour that the party killed him was so strong that it will definitely affect APC’s chances in 2018.
“However, no one can determine how badly it will affect them yet. The coming days will answer that question.”
This was the submission of a political analyst from Osun State, who prefers anonymity when he spoke to Ripples Nigeria on phone over the recent death of the first civilian governor of Osun State and a haunting allegation following his death that now appear as an albatross the ruling APC, may have to carry with all its possible consequences, going into next year’s governorship election in the state.
PDP sees death as sad but a door of opportunity
While the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretary in the state, Bola Ajao, who spoke to Ripples Nigeria expressed sadness over the sudden death of the former governor and ex-member of the PDP, he however feels that the allegation of the senator’s death, which now hovers around APC, could serve as the last straw, aside many months of unpaid salaries of workers, that will bring an end to APC’s leadership in the state come 2018.
“The death of Adeleke was a very painful one to Osun people no matter the area or political party. We in PDP really felt it because he used to be one of us before defecting to the APC.
“All we know is that he was preparing to run for governor under the APC, that people now seriously accused the party of being behind his death, although without any known evidence, may finally be the straw that will break the camel’s back.
“While it was an unfortunate event, we in PDP are trying hard to unite. Already Ede, where the late senator came from has become a no go area for APC now. We have no other job than to prepare for next year’s election.
“Even without the unfortunate event, the ground is already good for us because the workers, the pensioners are already itching for the exit of APC. They are being owed about 12 months.
“And that accusing fingers are being pointed at APC over the death of one of their own is enough to show that the party is already cracked up. Don’t forget the late senator has structures across the state,” Ajao said.
Osun APC already on fire
Already, the supposed consequences the allegation would have on the APC have set in. This is as it appears as if the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Yusuff Lasun, who is from Osun and the APC government in the state are now at daggers drawn.
Following the death of Adeleke, Lasun was said to have accused the state government and the chairman of the party in the state, Mr. Gboyega Famoodun of threats to his life over allegations of rumours of how the late senator was poisoned.
Lasun’s constituency relations officer, Niyi Ogunsola, had on Saturday, accused the APC chairman and some former commissioners of threatening Lasun’s life.
Also, the media aide to the deputy speaker, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, in his reaction, challenged the APC in the state to prove that his principal was behind the outcry that Adekeke was poisoned by the state government.
Famoodun, has however debunked the allegations and challenged Lasun to prove that his claims were not spurious.
But the party’s state Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, in a statement on Sunday April 30, accused Lasun of sponsoring blackmail against the Osun State government regarding the sudden death of Senator Adeleke.
Oyatomi had said, “This is a wolf cry and political gerrymandering, which cannot amount to a threat to life. There is no fragment of truth in all Lasun claimed, and it appears to have been the product of a very sick-minded person.
“We hereby state unequivocally that the deputy speaker and his band of delusional propagandists are mere opportunists clawing to the death of our late party leader and illustrious son of Ede, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, to create smokescreen and score undue political relevance for themselves.
“Alas, without searching further, Hon. Yusuf has, without any iota of doubt, revealed himself to us that he is the chief sponsor and promoter of the irritating blackmail against the government of the state of Osun that the late Senator of Osun West Senatorial District was poisoned. This, in its entirety, is illogical and irresponsible.”
The dimension this ensuing crack in APC will take, can only be seen, and felt in the days ahead, as it will most certainly put a hitch on Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s plans to pick a successor, at least, as far as Ede is concerned.
APC’s reaction to likely consequences of current situation in the party
For now, the party would have to ind a way of pulling the shreds together, to reconcile aggrieved faithful, especially those from the late senator’s camp, both in his zone, and other parts of the state.
An aide to the governor, and his commissioner nominee, Idiat Babalola, has borne the major brunt of the rumours on circumstances surrounding Adeleke’s death.
Being from Ede, the same place as Adeleke, she was rumoured to have been penciled for the position of deputy governor, when the campaign kicks off. If this happens, Adeleke’s chances of contesting for governorship under the APC would have been dead on arrival, at least within the APC.
With his death, and the ensuing rumors, the party may have to do a rethink about fielding Babalola as deputy governorship candidate, if it ever had such plans, so as not to give strength to the earlier rumors, and effectively nail its chances in the Ede area, which may revaberate to other parts of the state.
The death and ensuing controversies
Adeleke, who was the governor of the state in 1992, before the military under late General Sani Abacha took over power, suddenly died on Sunday April 3, at the age of 62. He was a sitting senator.
The senator was said to have attended a political function in his state the previous day and had also had a meeting around 2:00am on the day he eventually died, after reportedly suffering from a sudden heart attack and was rushed to Biket Hospital in Oshogbo, the state capital.
Consequently, his supporters upon receiving the news of his death took to the streets in his home town Ede, and other parts of Osun State to protest his death. They made bonfires, wailed and cried and blamed his death on his party members, who they accused of poisoning him at the political event he attended on Saturday.
They claimed his elimination was to make sure his ambition of returning as the governor of the state never comes to fruition.
The allegation forced an autopsy to be conducted on the decease to ascertain what possibly could have been the cause of his death.
Initial report had claimed he was killed by an overdose of painkillers administered to him by an unqualified medical technician. This was nonetheless refuted by his family members, who declared that the autopsy result was still awaited.
However, one of his sons, Tunji Adeleke, like a good number of Adeleke’s angry supporters in the state, mostly youth, insisted that the APC killed his father.
According to him, his father was killed because of his ambition to return as governor of the state, adding that the late senator was preparing to contest in the 2018 governorship election in the state.
He alleged that some forces in his father’s party, who knew he stood a good chance of emerging the governor of the state, saw his elimination as the only way to stop his posing threat.
He wondered how his father, who was hale and hearty on Saturday and was awake till around 2:00am on Sunday morning, could die a few hours later without showing any sign of sickness.
The damning attack
Adeleke was buried on Monday April 24, a day after his death. However the event on the day of the burial remains another daunting one for the state Governor Aregbesola and his APC party ahead the 2018 election.
While Aregbesola was said to be in China, although some alleged he was somewhere in town on the day of the burial, Babalola escaped the wrath of angry Ede people, by the whiskers.
It took the intervention of Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun and his security personnel to ensure Babalola escaped unhurt for daring to attend the burial of a man, who death her party and ambition are suspects.
Babalola who was lucky to tell her story after the attack had said, “I am a proud daughter of Ede and Uncle Isiaka has been a mentor and we never had any disagreement till the news of his death was broken to me while in Lagos on Sunday morning. I was heartbroken and immediately cut all my other engagements and came down to Ede from Lagos.
“We worked together with Uncle for the re-election of Governor Aregbesola in 2014 and for his own election into the Senate in 2015. Those who masterminded the attacks on me are people with poor understanding of the relationship between us and who act based on their own political permutations only.”
She further narrated how and why the attack happened, “Not long after we sat down for the prayers, I sensed some hoodlums saying some things like I wanting to be deputy governor while Uncle (Senator Adeleke) has declared his ambition to be governor from the same Ede. I heard them talking about the new caretaker committee members being more of my loyalists than those of Senator Adeleke. And before we knew it, they grew more daring and unruly and brought down the canopy on the dignitaries present. It was the most unruly and irresponsible act I have seen in our land in history.”
Will Aregbesola clear APC’s name with his investigative panel?
Apparently not unaware of the damaging effect of the allegation on the ruling party, Aregbesola has already set up an inquest into the death of Adeleke.
Announcing the investigation into the cause of death in a “special statement” by the state government on April 30, the governor said that the move became imperative to put the record straight.
Aregbesola stated in the statement, “We are still in shock and great pain over the transition of our friend, associate and brother, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke. He was a prominent son of our state and its first democratically elected governor.
“The State Government of Osun had intended to give him a befitting state burial which he rightly deserved and which the state had prepared to undertake. Regrettably, however, the enemies of the state, through brigandage, violence and evil machinations, created an atmosphere of fear and terror in the minds of our citizenry and friends throughout the federation.
“Immediately the news of his demise filtered in, a band of vagabonds, crying more than the bereaved, took to the streets, looting and wreaking havoc. Journalists were roughened and their equipment damaged. Important dignitaries that came for the burial were equally molested by these thugs.
“In the light of this, the State government of Osun, using the instrumentality of the law, is setting up an inquest to unravel the circumstances of this unfortunate and sad incident, in order to put the record straight on his death.
“We continue to mourn the untimely death of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke. He is irreplaceable in our hearts. We commiserate with his family, the good people of Ede, associates, friends, constituents and generality of our people on the passage of this patriot. As we pray for the repose of his soul, we equally pray for the strength to bear this heavy loss.”
How the governor’s panel of inquiry into the cause of Adeleke’s death will unravel the cause of his death and put the record straight is an issue of its own. How it will also convince otherwise, many Osun people who have swallowed hook line and sinker, a line that APC killed Adeleke for his governorship ambition is another one entirely.
There is also the issue of how the ruling APC in Osun will nip in the board the fast ensuing division the death of the former governor is already creating in the party ahead the 2018 governorship election.
No doubt, the ruling party in the state has a herculean task of convincing party loyalists, and the people that it had nothing to do with Sen Adeleke’s death, while the main opposition party on its part, would want to extract any mileage that can be gained from the seeming crack in the APC.
There is no gain saying therefore, that the days to come will unravel a number of political happenings relating to the death of Adeleke as the governorship election in the state draws closer.
By Ebere Ndukwu …