By Yinka Oludayisi Fabowale
Negative security reports may explain why prominent members of the Osun State Government and other chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stayed away from the burial rites of Senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke on Monday.
Indications to this effect emerged yesterday, even as Ede, home town of the first civilian governor of the state, still seethed with rage and despondency over the passage of the politician.
A violent protest erupted at the late politician’s burial over suspicion that he was poisoned by political opponents, with his supporters attacking and almost mobbing a commissioner –nominee of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Idiat Babalola, perceived to be working against Adeleke’s political interests.
Cross sections of Ede community insisted yesterday that Adeleke was killed to abort his ambition to become next governor of Osun by 2018 and right some perceived wrongs and injustice against Edeland by Aregbesola’s government.
The late senator was said to have started reviving his awesome political machinery in preparation for a come-back in next year’s governorship election in the state, a move said not to be popular with some powerful stakeholders in his party and government.
Ede indigenes who spoke with Daily Sun during a visit to the town yesterday were angry at the absence of top officials of the state government including Governor Aregbesola, his deputy, Titi Laoye-Tomori and the secretary to the state government.
But, it was learnt that the governor was away in China. Sources said his deputy too may have been advised against making the trip, following the acrimony generated by allegation that Adeleke was poisoned at a party he attended with other party stalwarts on Saturday. Some indigenes of the town had warned that they did not wish to see any government party at the funeral.
A source said Mrs. Laoye Tomori was actually preparing for the funeral, but was dissuaded by his security details, who said the mood in the town and threatened violence, may precipitate a crisis, which could escalate and embarrassingly turn bloody, even if security agents tried to shield her and disperse the crowd.
The source said the Monday incident in which Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun and Adeleke’s brother, were not spared in their effort to rescue Babalola, vindicated the deputy governor’s judgment.
As the three-day mourning declared in his honour by the state government entered the second day today, the people of Ede said Adeleke’s death had dealt a serious blow to the community and its aspirations. “ Now, we have nobody to represent and speak for us or defend our interest at the national level…Our hope is that he will become the next governor and help solve all the problems we have with the present government in the state”, lamented a prominent leader of thought in the town.
He listed among the problems, a dispute over the alleged attempted annexation of Abere, the seat of government, which, he claimed, belonged to Edeland to Osogbo by the Aregbesola administration for alleged political motive.
Governor Aregbesola’s spokesman, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon could not be reached for comments yesterday as he was not around when Daily Sun called at his office. Once reached on phone, he promised to call the reporter back in five minutes, but did not do so by press time.
APC spokesman, Kunle Oyatomi, declined further comments on political insinuations about the tragedy, saying the party had already formally issued a statement in which it expressed its genuine shock at the loss of one of its big chieftains. He noted that nerves were frayed at the moment, but would expectedly calm when Governor Aregbesola who is expected back in the country today, returned.
Amid tension in the town, the Chief Imam of Ede, Mas’ud Husain Akajewole, sued for peace. He observed that the townfolk’s reaction was understandable in view of what Adeleke meant to them, but urged them, as believers, to eschew fomenting trouble, and see Adeleke’s demise as fated.
Meanwhile, the controversy over the senator’s death lingers. The state Commissioner of Police told reporters he was yet to be briefed on the arrest and investigation of a doctor, who allegedly prescribed a medication that may have caused the politician’s death.
The autopsy report was also still being expected, amid another speculation that the late Adeleke probably died of heart attack.
Meanwhile, Edeland wore a mournful look, with social and commercial activities at a low ebb.
The paramount ruler, the Timi of Ede and his council of chiefs just rose from a meeting when Daily Sun visited the palace yesterday.
An aide of the Oba said the monarch was in no mood to talk, as he was still mourning Adeleke, the Asiwaju of Edeland. “You can see that tension is still high. Some of your colleagues who were here were beaten upand had their cameras smashed. You should understand” he told the reporter.