I write to thank the many Nigerians of goodwill who have reacted with considerable shock, consternation and concern at the unfortunate incident of the attack on me at the funeral for our dear departed first Governor of the State of Osun, Senator Isiaka Adeleke. Special thanks to the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who played father and defender, shielding me from the hoodlums at a significant personal cost of bleeding from one of the stones aimed at me. Thank you so much, Sir. May we continue to have elders with bravery, heart and wisdom such as you.
I also thank Governor Olurotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Uncle Wale Adeeyo, Brother Deji Adeleke and all the other personalities at the event for their support, personal risk and understanding.
First, let me state upfront that the incident is not in the character of Ede people. Therefore, I apologise to everyone offended by this unruly and unusual behaviour.
We mourn the loss of a significant political personage, a great son of Ede, and the first Governor of our state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke. Senator Adeleke left a significant mark on the state and Ede. It is understandable that his departure would evoke deep emotions.
It is sad that some persons would engineer a crisis at such a solemn event in pursuit of political objectives. I am a proud daughter of Ede and Brother Tunji has been a mentor and we never had any disagreement till the news of his death was broken to me while in Lagos on Sunday morning. I was heartbroken and immediately cut all my other engagements and came down to Ede from Lagos.
We worked together for the re-election of Governor Aregbesola in 2014 and Senator Adeleke’s election to the Senate in 2015. Those who masterminded the attacks on me have a poor understanding of the relationship between us. They acted based on their own political permutations only.
Unbeknownst to the antagonists, the Babalola and Adeleke families have a relationship that goes beyond past, current or future political engagements. I went to the funeral in the company of my father, Alhaji Sakariyau Olayiwola Babalola. My dad is an elder statesman and friend to the father of Senator Adeleke; who was in turn a close associate of my late grandfather, Alhaji Raji Babalola. Not long after we sat down for the prayers, I heard some hoodlums saying some things about me wanting to be deputy governor while Senator Adeleke had declared his ambition to be governor from the same Ede. I heard them talking about the new caretaker committee members being more of my loyalists than those of Senator Adeleke. And before we knew it, they grew more daring and unruly and brought down the canopy on the dignitaries present. It was the most dangerous and irresponsible act I have seen in our land in recent history.
It is very sad. That cannot be the best way to honour the memory of our illustrious son and leader. Senator Adeleke was a man of his people; a lover of peace and a political associate of Governor Aregbesola. Senator Adeleke would not have countenanced such misconduct in his lifetime.
It is not in the character of Ede people to disrespect the dead, to embarrass our guests or to denigrate womanhood.
There can be no reason for such behaviour in Ede, or for the negative narrative of spite against the Aregbesola administration. The government led by Rauf Aregbesola has ensured even development of our state. Ede, being a significant and historic town, has been a primary beneficiary of all the government’s projects in education, youth employment, industrialisation and other areas.
I appeal for calm and understanding and for the right atmosphere and attitude as we mourn the loss of our great son, Senator Isiaka Adeleke.
Source: The Nigerian Voice (opinions)