Today, Sunday 27th of November 2022, Senator AdemolaAdeleke will be inaugurated as the governor of Osun State. His ascent to the high office hardly qualifies to be described as the fulfillment of a personal ambition or any childhood dream, but it is the realisation of the aspiration of the Adeleke Dynasty. Left to the new governor, he would have preferred his quiet life that offers him freedom to be in his element at any time to taking up the responsibility of managing the affairs of the estimated 4.7million people in the state which puts him in the public eye at all times. But he has to join politics and seek public office for the dynasty. He has to sacrifice his liberty to keep up the family tradition.
Talking about family tradition, the family progenitor, Senator RajiAyoolaAdeleke, an outstanding trade union activist and grassroots mobiliser, initiated the family into politics when he contested for and won the Oyo East senatorial district election in 1979 on the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Since then, the family has been very active in both state and national politics. The family’s mantle of political leadership fell on the late IsiakaAdetunjiAdeleke, alias Serubawon, as he emerged the first elected governor of the newly created Osun State in the third republic in January 1992 on the platform of the Social Democratic Party. But his tenure was cut short when the military truncated the republic in 1993. Not done, IsiakaAdeleke bounced back in the fourth republic when he was elected as senator representing Osun West in 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He lost the seat four years later in 2011 but was elected senator representing the district again in 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In 2017, while preparing for the governorship election that would be due in 2018, IsiakaAdeleke was said to have suffered a heart attack which resulted in his death at the Biket Hospital in Osogbo, Osun State.
With the demise of Isiaka, the oldest of the three Adeleke brothers, the mantle of leadership of the political dynasty should have fallen on DrDejiAdeleke, but the astute businessman prefers staying behind the scene to hugging the klieg light. So, AdemolaAdeleke had to take up the leadership of the political dynasty. He contested for the Osun West senatorial seat made vacant by the passage of his elder brother on the platform of the PDP and won in 2017. So, he replaced his brother in the Red Chamber. A year later, he picked the governorship ticket of the PDP, contested but lost narrowly to the APC candidate, GboyegaOyetola. He was second time lucky as he defeated the same Oyetola four years later. His electoral victory in the July 16, 2022 governorship election provided the prelude to the inauguration ceremony billed to take place today.
Now that Senator AdemolaAdeleke has fulfilled the family dream of establishing itself as the foremost political dynasty in Osun State, what will he do as the governor of the state? Governor Adeleke already has a reputation as the dancing senator, will he also be known as a dancing governor? Will Adeleke be a governor that thrills the populace with sublime performance or will he be a governor who excites his people with the latest dancing steps? Adeleke might have won the election because he connected with the everyday citizens of the state as a result of his energetic dancing steps and unconventional style but the people of the state will expect him to do more than exhilarate them with Azonto, Skelewu, Galala and the rest of them.
At 37.3 per cent, unemployment rate in Osun State is above the national average. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate was 19 per cent in 2017, increased to 24.7 per cent in 2018 before shooting up to the 2022 rate of 37.3 per cent. While Governor Adeleke might have inherited a very terrible situation, the people will only sing his praise and join him in his Skelewu dance if he is able to creatively solve the unemployment problem in the state.
Currently, the state of health in the state is worrisome. The under-five mortality rate in Osun is estimated at 70 deaths per 1,000 live births, which is higher than the average of 62 deaths per 1,000 live births in Lower-Middle-Income Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Will Governor Adeleke be able to address this?
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The state of education, poverty, infrastructure and public debt in the state is anything but cheering. So, all eyes are on the governor to come up with ways to rescue the people from the current state of doldrums.
There is no doubt that Governor AdemolaAdeleke will dance his heart out today. He deserves it and he should. It is not everyone that will govern a state. The chance that anyone in a generation would be governor is probably 1:1,000,000. So, he deserves to celebrate this unique opportunity. But Mr Governor, after this evening, let the partying cease. Getting into high offices should not be considered a reward; it should be seen as a call to serve. So, stop the music, roll up your sleeves, and remove your dancing shoes, it is time for work. Governing a state is not a dancing matter. It is time to earn immortality for yourself through the service you render. It is time to worm yourself into the hearts of Osun indigenes by making their life worthwhile. It is time to improve the quality of life of every citizen through the delivery of value-based governance. Mr Governor, you might have come into the office as the champion of a dynasty, but if you continue as that, rather than championing the cause of the people, history may not be kind to you. Let the people sing, dance and rejoice as a result of the positive changes you birth in the state. If you, your cronies and family members are the only one dancing while the citizens languish, you may soon miss your steps.
Governor Adeleke, this is your chance to gain immortality for yourself and earn indisputable honour and respect for your family. It is your chance to write your name in gold. I wish you all the best.