Adeleke’s no-worries and Adeleke’s Osun warning
THE Adeleke family of Osun State holds the unique privilege of being the first in Nigeria which would have produced two governors. Many Nigerians would readily remember Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke with the sobriquet ‘Serubawon’. The state was created in August 1991 and in January 1992, he was elected as the first civilian governor of Osun State. Adeleke was distinct and remarkable with his big caps that tapered laterally at the peak. The caps stood him out. That might be about the only thing some would remember about former Governor Adeleke, but many others know that he laid the foundation for the young Osun State as its first popularly elected governor. Among some of his standout achievements was the establishment of tertiary educational institutions in Iree and Esa Oke. He was also elected to the Senate where he also did his bit for the state and Nigeria.
A semblance of Serubawon came alive again recently when his younger brother, who has opted to wear a cap similar to that of the late former governor, was declared the winner of the governorship election in Osun State. His name is Senator Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke. Senator Ademola Adeleke, with his electoral victory of July 16, 2022, seemed to have amended the loss of the 2018 election and assuaged his political party and its supporters. Thus, the Adeleke Family of Ede in Osun State has produced two popularly-elected governors of the state. Interestingly, the younger Adeleke was also in the Senate although his elder brother went to the upper legislative chamber after he was yanked off power as a governor by soldiers. While those who are close to the Adelekes and his constituents know the quality of representation provided by Senator Ademola Adeleke to gauge his impending governorship, some can only see a man who expresses himself through his love for dancing.
Then there is another member of the Adeleke family that appears like a mystery to many. He isn’t as much in the public glare. He is not overtly on the lips of people as Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke was, nor is he in the social media as Senator Ademola Adeleke is. He is one prominent Adeleke no doubt and a solid pillar in the family. His name is Dr Deji Adeleke. Dr Deji Adeleke. Unlike his brothers, he is not known to publicly identify with any political party or partisan politics like his brothers, but he is a family man indeed. In any case, he is popular in his own right because in one way or the other, he would be seen in the same loop as his world-acclaimed son, David. Yes, he is the father of the music maestro, David Adeleke popularly known as Davido.
That Dr Deji Adeleke is family could be seen in a video that emerged when Senator Ademola Adeleke was declared as the winner of the governorship election. Those who know the family said he was the man seated to the right of the governor-elect in the video, for whom he prostrated immediately after the electoral umpire announced his name as the elected governor of Osun State. Another pointer to his being a family man is the warning he gave to his brother, the governor-elect when he attended a function at the Adeleke University in Ede. Dr Deji Adeleke has not left the leash of a brother that has been given power; he is concerned about what would become of the family’s name and that which he had nurtured for decades. “Integrity is not so much a value itself” Brian Tracy observes. He notes that “It is rather the value that guarantees all other values.” The thought says integrity is that value which guarantees all other values. If you have it, you have all the other values or virtues if you wish to flip the title.
The senior Adeleke isn’t one that would wrap the wicked in his loin cloth. On Sunday, July 24, 2022 while speaking at the convocation of the Adeleke University in Eded, warned that he would be the first to call out his younger brother, the state governor if he failed in keeping to his promises to the people of the state. The business tycoon’s warning is like the act of the strong man of the community. He acted like the strong man (or the medicine man if you like) of the clan who would crack the palm kernel on the shin of his own brother to prove the efficacy of his warnings.
Deji Adeleke’s warning to the Osun governor-elect and his younger brother, Ademola Adeleke, made a very heartwarming read. It came as a surprise because we live in a dark enclave in which affinity to power means and translates to impunity. People will defend an obvious banal barbarism because it’s done by their brother or sister or friend or tribesman or religious brother or… and so on. But we didn’t have that in Dr Deji Adeleke, who sounded a note of warning to his younger brother, the governor-elect. When you acquire a charm that debilitates and you test its efficacy on your own brother, then you’d be taken seriously.
The governor-elect of Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke sits in many people like a no-worries man. His posturing and acts make so many people think and believe that he has nothing in his mind other than fritters and jolliment and, put succinctly, dancing. It is hard to argue in favour of a man like Senator Ademola Adeleke who should rather be seen as a reserved deep thinker. His critics might not believe that one who dances in delight might close his eyes but does not close his senses. So, the in-coming governor would help his supporters by proving his critics wrong. He has set up a transition committee which might not receive the support of the incumbent (but out-going) government, but a roadmap has to be created and a direction given to his government.
Nigeria is like a boat in a reckless cascade. It is spinning uncontrollably while those in it cry for elusive help. The Esan people of Edo State have an uncanny way of giving each man his slice of the cake: “In a funeral, each mourner mourns that fate that had befallen him, not the deceased’s”. That would capture the hope of a better Osun State under Senator Ademola Adeleke being envisaged by the people of the state. Others would have to define their own worries and what tugs at them among the numerous happenings in our beleaguered Nigeria. This saying has a way of reaching the entirety of the Nigerian debacle and the various divides into which the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has compartmentalised us.
Adeleke warned thus: “I told the governor-elect (my brother) and his colleagues that Ademola was lucky because he did not have any godfather to refund any money to. So whatever people contributed for his election is contribution and it’s a sacrifice for a better Nigeria, for a better state. So he and his colleagues are not under any pressure, the only thing that the governor-elect needs to do, is to go and serve the people of the state dedicatedly.
“And I threatened them that I will be the first to call a press conference if I see things going wrong with his government. I will be the first to alert the world that your governor has derailed.”
That sounds delicious. Nigerians await what Adeleke would do when Adeleke fails to heed the warning.