UNTIL his death, last Monday, Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, the first executive governor of Osun State remained an enigma, a political colossus and grassroots mobiliser. Late Isiaka Adeleke His foray into the political arena began in 1991 when he contested the governorship election in Osun State on the banner of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, shortly after his arrival from the United States.
He won the election convincingly despite the opposition of some established political god fathers in the state. The shock of his victory inevitably won for him the sobriquet, Serubawon, meaning ‘frighten them.’ Indeed, Adeleke’s political advent demystified many political leaders in Osun State. However, his tenure was cut short after the military intervention of November 17, 1993. In the run up to the Fourth Republic, Adeleke re-entered the political fray on the platform of the All Peoples Party, APP. He won the party’s governorship ticket but lost the 1999 governorship to Chief Bisi Akande of the Alliance for Democracy, AD.
Adeleke, on the invitation of PDP elders left the APP and joined the party in the run up to the 2003 governorship election. He contested for the PDP ticket with Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and the primaries were held twice. The first primary election held at Osogbo Sports Stadium was disrupted and the election was moved to Abuja, where Prince Oyinlola was declared the winner. Ahead of the 2018 governorship election, there are indications that Senator Adeleke would pick the APC ticket in the race to succeed Engr. Rauf Aregbesola. So many factors appeared to be in his favour. They include his wide spread acceptability as a party man, grassroots mobilizer, philanthropy and one of the most experienced aspirants in the APC.
There is a common belief that going by the political arrangement in the state, Osun-West Senatorial district, where he hailed from should produce the next governor of the state. Osun central had had its own fair share having produced Chief Bisi Akinde who governed between 1999-2003 and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, 2003-2010 and Ife/Ijesha zone, Aregbesola from 2010 till date. However, with the demise of Adeleke, attention of the party may be shifted to Ejigbo and Iwo zones to produce the party’s candidate if the political arrangement is followed strictly. But one thing is sacrosanct, the big shoes left behind by Senator Adeleke will be too big for any aspirant to wear.