By Olumide Lawal
Osun State was created 30 years ago on August 27, 1991. We give adulation to God that some of us are still living to witness the 30th anniversary of the State of the Living Spring.
It is, therefore, appropriate to bring it to the notice of Osun State citizens, on behalf of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, its first executive governor, and pray for everlasting peace and progress in the state. There could be as many governors past, present and in the future but the singular honour, through divine providence, belongs to Adeleke to have been the first civilian governor of the state.
He came in January 1992. He started off with a budget christened “Foundation Budget” of N964,102,850 through which he impacted positively on the lives of the citizens. He opened up the rural areas through massive road construction, spanning Ikire-Apomu-Orile-Owu, Ara-Ejigbo Road, Isiaka Adeleke Freeway and the new Oba Adesoji Aderemi Road, through a World Bank loan he obtained at that time, though some people are now standing the facts on their head.
Adeleke gave teeth to the state to be on solid footing with infrastructural facilities as well as a vibrant and dynamic civil service that today ranks high in the country. He also gave the state solid educational advancement. He established the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke, and upgraded Colleges of Education, Ila Orangun and Ilesa.
These were among other far-reaching measures he put in place to advance the socio-economic development of the state. These were universally applauded, making him a citizen with universal honour and acclaim.
Adeleke effortlessly absorbed teachers and non-teaching staff who were forced to return home by the government of old Oyo State, bringing additional financial burden. But he coped and brought joy to many homes. He discovered early in the life of his administration that Osun State was highly urbanized and the conglomeration of the satellite towns was used to an advantage.
He made the state proud as a man of integrity and dignity. He was determined to make the state an Eldorado, had he finished his term as the governor of the state. Adeleke gave Osun State his best.
He was well loved and appreciated beyond the shores of Nigeria. He, therefore, remains a reference point and central issue in Osun State politics as it marks its 30th anniversary.
To his numerous admirers, he was a man with sterling honour. When Osun State turned 25, Adeleke wrote a befitting tribute to the state: “Osun at 25, the beat continues.”
How much he loved Oun State and its citizens cannot be quantified.
As the first civilian governor, civil servants deployed to Osun from old Oyo State were afforded one-month free salary to help them settle down. Agricultural loans owed by some of these civil servants were promptly offset by his government to give them ease of settling down in their new environment.
He achieved this feat from the meagre N45 million monthly allocation from the federal purse. Adeleke recorded remarkable progress for Osun State and put it on the world map. The government he led went ahead and built a state capital that was functional and beautiful. He established Osun State Capital Territory Development Authority (OCTDA) for the planning and development of the 40,000 hectares of land designated as the Osun State Capital Territory. The state radio and television stations now known as Ile Awiye were products of his administration.
Sen. Adeleke, was the only governor of the aborted Third Republic that gave teeth to the struggle to ensure the de-annulment of June 12, 1993, presidential election won by the late MKO Abiola. He was fondly referred to as the “lone mosquito in the nose.”
He fought relentlessly to ensure that democracy reigned supreme in Nigeria. He was an exemplary manager of human and material resources in all his political and business callings. He was indeed a man with many firsts.
The first civilian governor of Osun State; first Asiwaju of Edeland; first Chancellor, Adeleke University, Ede; and first Otunba of Ejigboland. He was also Commander of the Order of the Niger. The Adeleke Dynasty is truly divinely favoured and blessed. Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke was a lifetime achiever in his own right.
He was a man of impeccable character and honour. He certainly belongs to the world at large, where millions of people with discerning minds celebrate him. He loved Osun State passionately and committedly till he breathed his last.
Even in death, he remains concerned about Osun State. He wishes Osun State happy celebrations at 30 and prays for its peace and prosperity.
•Lawal, was special
adviser, media and publicity, to the late Sen. Isiaka
Adetunji Adeleke, first civilian governor, Osun State