•Amosun rescues Aregbesola’s aide from mob
•Osun declares three-day mourning, as Jonathan, Saraki, others mourn
From Clement Adeyi, Osogbo, Gbolagunte Bolarinwa, Akure, Odogwu Obinna, Awka and Gyang Bere, Jos
It was a day of sorrow, sighs and tears yesterday in Ede, Osun State, as the remains of the first executive governor of the state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, were laid to rest in his country home.
Adeleke, who until his death represented Osun West at the National Assembly, died on Sunday morning at Biket Hospital, Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
The deceased’s remains were interred according to Islamic rites around 11am yesterday after arriving at his Ede home from the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, at about 10:46am.
Chief Imam of Ede, Alhaji Moshood Akaje, performed the funeral prayers at about 11:03am.
Alhaji Ibrahim Adekilekun, Chief Imam of Ansarudeen, Ede, described Adeleke as a man loved by all during his lifetime. The cleric, who noted that death is inevitable for all humans, urged family members not to fight anyone over Adeleke’s death.
The burial was carried out amid tears from sympathizers, friends, family members, political associates and members of Ede community.
Dignitaries at the burial included the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, his predecessor, Olusegun Mimiko, among others.
Youths in the community were hostile to members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were at the burial, as they accused them of having a hand in the death of the senator.
The former governor had showed interest in contesting for the governorship in next year’s election in the state.
There was considerable tension during the burial, as members of the community rained curses on the presumed ‘killers’ of the lawmaker.
At a point, scores of supporters of the deceased almost destroyed the canopy under which eminent personalities were seated. They were protesting the presence of Idiat Babalola, a former Special Adviser to the Osun State Governor and a commissioner-nominee in the state.
Babalola was seated among the dignitaries when the angry youths chased her out. They alleged that the former governor was poisoned by some APC leaders.
The youths said Babalola was being touted to become the running mate of the anointed candidate of the APC in next year’s governorship election.
Despite pleas from family members of the deceased, the youths insisted that she should leave the venue. Then they started shouting and raining curses on her.
Soon after, the mob tried to destroy the canopy under which Amosun, Akeredolu, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Dr. Adedeji Adeleke were seated, to evict Babalola, whom they described as a betrayer.
Amosun and his security aides had to escort Babalola outside the house, even as the youths kept throwing sticks and stones and other missiles at her.
Meanwhile, shops and markets were shut as a mark of respect for the late senator.
At the burial, a 65-year-old man, Ayo Olufemi, could not control his tears. He told Daily Sun that the late Adeleke helped him to get a driving job with which he earned a living.
Others said when Adeleke came to Osogbo at the weekend, he gave them money. They lamented that their benefactor was gone.
Security in Ede remained tight yesterday. Three armoured personnel carriers were stationed at the two roads to the country home of the Adelekes.
At the burial, there was tight security, with the police, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and other agencies mounting surveillance.
The Osun State government has declared three days of mourning in honour of the deceased.
A statement by the director, Bureau of Communications and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Semiu Okanlawon, government said it had directed that flags should be flown at half mast across the state.
The Osun State House of Assembly also declared a three-day mourning period in honour of the former governor. The Speaker, Hon. Najeem Salaam, gave the directive yesterday morning.
A statement by the chairman of the House Committee on Information and Strategy, Hon. Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, said the flag would be flown half mast at the House of Assembly during the period while all legislative activities would be suspended.
The three days of mourning started on Monday and would end on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, eminent personalities have continued to commiserate with the family and friends of the deceased on the death of the former governor.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday extended his condolences to the family of the late Adeleke as well as the government and people of Osun State over the death of the lawmaker.
Jonathan’s message was communicated in a statement by his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze.
The former President described Adeleke as a national icon and great philanthropist, who was warm and lively.
He said: “I received the news of the death of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke with a sense of great personal loss. It is hard to imagine that the very lively and warm ‘Serubawon’ has died.
“Though I am saddened by his death, I give God the glory for his life of contribution to Osun State, where he was the first civilian governor, to Nigeria, where he was an icon, and to humanity in general because he was a great philanthropist.
“He will be greatly missed and the void his death has caused will be hard, if not impossible, to fill. May his soul rest in peace and may he achieve al Janna firdaus.
“I pray that God should grant his family and supporters the fortitude to bear his loss. Adieu, great Asiwaju of Ede.”
Senate President Bukola Saraki, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased in Ede.
Saraki, who was received on behalf of the family by the deceased’s younger brother, Dr. Adedeji Adeleke, called on family members, the people of Ede, especially the youth, who have been protesting what they described as the sudden death of the senator, to remain calm and maintain peace, tranquillity and harmony in the town and in the entire state.
Saraki told the family members: “We came to pay our condolences in honour of our brother who just passed away. His demise is a great loss to all of us and all Nigerians. The entire Senate sent their condolences.”
While extolling the virtues of the late senator, the Senate President noted that, “He was very jovial. Everybody loved him. We pray that God will grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
In his message, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, described the departed senator as a “quintessential politician who had contributed immeasurably to the political and socio-economic growth of Osun State.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that Adeleke’s death is a great loss that will create a huge vacuum in the state and on the national political scene, which will be hard to fill.
“The family, the governor and the deceased’s loved ones should, however, take solace in the fact that death is an inevitable end for all mortals and, being believers in God, they should all pray for the repose of his soul,” Lalong said.
In Anambra, the state chapter of the APC has also commiserated with the people and government of Osun State on the death of their former governor.
In a statement signed by the party’s spokesperson in the state, Okelo Madukaife, the party eulogized the former lawmaker for his achievements as governor and senator.
The statement urged the people of Osun West, Osun State and the Federal Government to do everything to preserve the ideals and legacies of Adeleke, praying that God would bless his soul and comfort his family and associates.
On his part, the senator representing Ondo North Senatorial District, Prof. Ajayi Borrofice, has said that the Senate would miss the lofty contributions of the deceased senator.
He described Adeleke as a political icon, whose death represented the end of an era, not only in Osun State but in Nigeria.
Boroffice, who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, said the death of Adeleke was a great loss for the country and the APC in particular.
He described the deceased as a lover of his people who was after the emancipation of all and sundry during his lifetime.
Also, the lawmaker representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Senator Solomon Adeola, said Osun State and Nigeria had lost a foremost political leader “at this time when experience is needed to resolve numerous issues besetting the nation.”
The senator commiserated with the people and government of Osun State, adding that Adeleke’s landmark achievements as the first elected governor of Osun State remained indelible.
The senator prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of Adeleke and fortitude for the family to bear the irreparable loss.