There is no gainsaying the fact that there could be as many governors past, present and in the future. But the singular honour, through divine providence, belongs to Senator Isiaka Adeleke to have been the first elected Executive Governor of Osun State. This is an incontrovertible and unassailable fact that has gone into the consciousness of many people the world over.
Isiaka Adeleke started off with a budget christened ‘Foundation Budget’ of N964,102,850.00, 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; the Isiaka Adeleke freeway and the new Oba Adesoji Aderemi road through World Bank loan he obtained at that time, though some people are now standing the facts on the head.
Senator Adeleke, as the first democratically elected governor of Osun State, gave solid footing to the state with many infrastructural facilities as well as a vibrant and dynamic civil service, that today ranks very high in the country. He gave Osun solid educational advancement with the establishment of the Osun State Polytechnic Iree and Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke, which were hitherto Satellite Campuses of Ibadan Polytechnic. He 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, which were universally applauded, making him a citizen of the world with universal honour and acclaim.
At creation of Osun State and his emergence as the first civilian governor, Adeleke effortlessly absorbed teachers and non-teaching staff who were forced to return home by the government of old Oyo State, which brought additional financial burden. But he coped well and brought joy to many homes. He discovered early in the life of his administration that Osun State is highly urbanised and the conglomeration of the satellite towns was used to an advantage.
Adeleke made Osun State proud as a man of renowned integrity and dignity, who was set to make Osun State an Eldorado, had he finished his term as the governor of the state. He gave Osun State his best. He was well loved and appreciated beyond the shores of Nigeria during his lifetime and even in death. It is therefore a fact, that he remains a reference point and central issue in Osun politics as it marks 30th anniversary of its creation.
To his numerous admirers, he was a man with sterling honour. When Osun State turned 25, a few years ago, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, personally wrote a befitting tribute to the state, which he titled: Osun at 25; The Beat Continues. I refer readers to Saturday Tribune edition of September 4, 2016 to enable them know, how much the first executive governor of Osun, Asiwaju Isiaka Adeleke loved his state and that beat, should continue, even after his death.
At the creation, civil servants deployed to Osun from old Oyo State, were afforded one month free salary to help them settle down, while Agricultural loans owed by some of the civil servants deployed from old Oyo State were promptly offset by his government to give them ease of settling down in their new environment, all from the meager N45million 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. A Capital Territory Development Authority was established for the planning and development of the 40,000 hectares of land designated as the Osun State Capital Territory. The state radio and television station, now known as Ile Awiye was a product of his administration.
Adeleke was the only governor of the 3rd republic that gave Babangida sleepless nights to ensure the de-annulment of June 12 election, presumably won by late M. K. O. Abiola. Babangida fondly referred to him as the “lone mosquito in his nose.” Adeleke fought relentlessly to ensure that democracy reigns supreme in Nigeria. An exemplary manager of human and material resources at all his political and business callings, he was a man with many firsts – the first executive governor of Osun State; the first Asiwaju of Edeland; the first Chancellor of Adeleke University Ede; the first Otunba of Ejigboland; and Commander Order of the Niger (CON).
Senator Adeleke, a man of impeccable character and honour, certainly belongs to the world at large, where millions of people with discerning minds celebrate him on daily basis. He loved Osun State passionately and committedly till he breathed his last.
•Olumide Lawal was Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke