There was confusion in Ede, the home town of the late first civilian governor of Osun state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, yesterday, when his corpse was returned to the Ladoke Akontola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, for an autopsy.
This was against the expectation of sympathisers who had waited as the body was earlier being prepared for burial, according to Islamic rites.
The autopsy option followed rumours that he was poisoned at a political meeting on Saturday.
Adeleke was preparing to run for the Osun governorship election in 2018 before his death yesterday morning.
His body was earlier brought home from the hospital amidst wailing and weeping by supporters and family members.
Earlier yesterday, there was pandemonium in Ede when news filtered in that Adeleke died in the early hours of the day.
On Saturday, he was in Kuta, Ayedire Local Government area of the state for a social function.
He was seen cracking jokes with the Deputy Governor of Osun State, Mrs. Grace Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, and some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He left the party in the evening for his hometown only for news to hit his followers that he died yesterday morning of heart attack. A source said Adeleke, Chairman of Senate Committee on Capital Market, complained of discomfort and was rushed to Biket Hospital where he gave up the ghost. The news led to protests by Ede youths. The youths of the town and supporters of the late first civilian governor of the state were seen burning tyres and shooting sporadically at Aisu Junction, the entry point into Ede Town.
The protesters, who were armed with dangerous weapons vandalised vehicles at every entry point into the town.
We gathered that Akoda, Sekona, Aisu and Oke Gada were the flashpoints of the violence. The protesters harassed commuters and forced them to park their vehicles. Some journalists, while trying to gain entrance into the late senator’s house, were also attacked. In a show of solidarity, okada riders and motorists hurriedly attached leaves to their vehicles to indicate sympathy with the Ede community and the family of the deceased.
However, no loss of life was recorded. One of the youths was heard saying the Senator ‘was killed with juju’ while some said Adeleke was poisoned “to pave the way for another APC governorship aspirant.”
The 62-year-old politician was governor between 1992 and 1993 in the Third Republic.
Security had, however, been beefed up at his residence as family members and friends awaited the burial of the late politician. An Amoured Personnel Carrier (APC) was stationed very close to Adeleke’s house while a police vehicle was sighted patrolling the town. Meanwhile reactions have continued to pour in like torrents over the sudden death of the former governor.
The Osun State government said it was still in shock.
In a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, the government said the death of Adeleke is hard to accept.
“The sad news of the death of the first civilian governor of our state, Alhaji Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, has struck us like a thunderbolt. Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who is far away in China on state assignment is still speechless and in mourning.
“While the government awaits the reports of the autopsy which is being conducted, we can only calm our people to take this huge and incalculable loss with equanimity.
“We commiserate with the good people of Osun over this sad loss. We are still in shock,” the statement read.
Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) described the
Adeleke as a consummate gentleman whose brand of politics endeared him to many.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki described Adeleke as a patriotic statesman. He said the death of the two-term senator was “shocking and a personal loss.’’ “Adeleke was a leader in every right, a formidable colleague, patriotic statesman, good family man and complete gentleman whose contributions to the development of Osun State in particular and the nation in general will never be forgotten,” Saraki said. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara described Adeleke as “a leader who left giant footprints and lasting legacies as the first civilian governor of Osun State.”
His deputy, Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff said Adeleke “will be remembered for being open and showing a lack of bitterness in politics.” Former Vice President and chieftain of All Progressives Congress Atiku Abubakar described Adeleke as a cosmopolitan politician, who had a good grasp of the dynamics of Nigeria, having spent his early years in Enugu, until the onset of the Nigerian Civil War, before relocating to Ibadan to complete his secondary education.
Former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Kalu described the late politician as a grassroots mobiliser and a people’s person.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu said, “I was shocked to hear the news of the passing of Senator Isiaka Adeleke. The late senator was a prominent political figure in the political circle owing to his goodwill.
His demise is a huge loss to Osun State and Nigeria in general.”
Kalu urged the Adeleke family to uphold the qualities of the late politician who he said will be remembered for his humility and large heart. Former governor of Lagos State and APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said “Adeleke was a grassroots politician with a rich political background and would always remembered as that charismatic first civilian governor of Osun State who left behind a legacy in the area of education.”
Former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola described Adeleke as “a brother, friend and confidant whose demise had made him, the state and the political class in Nigeria poorer.”
Senator Iyiola Omisore also described the death as shocking and a great loss, not only to the people of Osun State, but, also, to Nigeria’s political class.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), in a statement by the Publicity Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, described Adeleke as a detrabalised Nigerian, a democrat, an astute grassroots politician and philanthropist who distinguished himself in all positions of service he occupied.
Deputy Whip of the Senate, Francis Alimikhena said Adeleke was “a leader of rare character, an honest man, an extraordinary politician, a great leader and a man of principle.”
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi described the late senator as “a highly resourceful and colourful politician; a grassroots mobiliser who related well with both the low and the mighty.”
Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said late Adeleke was a colossus whose sudden death has left a huge void in Nigeria’s political firmament.
Meanwhile, the remains of the late Senator will be buried today, according to Islamic rites.
Although he ought to have been, mandatorily, buried yesterday, in accordance with Islamic injunctions, the burial was believed to have been postponed due to the autopsy carried out on his body at the Lautech Teaching Hospital, Osogbo yesterday afternoon. According to a close source, the burial rites will be performed tomorrow morning.
It has also been reliably gathered that the corpse was brought back to Ede late yesterday after pathological check-up, ordered by his younger brother, Deji Adeleke. Daily Sun can also reveal that the autopsy was completed between 5-6pm yesterday evening.
As at the time of filing in this report, there was some bit of calm in Ede as business activities resumed in some parts of the town.