The road to yesterday’s governorship election in Osun State was very rough for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke, aka Jackson. Though Ademola, who became a senator through a bye-election following the death of his elder brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, is not entirely a neophyte in politics, he literarily began to experience the other side of the game the moment he emerged the candidate of the PDP for the Osun guber election.
His closest rival in the contest, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, had alleged that the election was rigged in Adeleke’s favour and rejected the result. The squabble dragged on until September 5, when Senate President Bukola Saraki brokered peace.
Also, two members of his party had shortly after he emerged the candidate accused him of parading a forged O’level result. In the suit filed on July 24 at an Osun State High Court, they sought an interlocutory order setting aside Adeleke’s election as the governorship standard bearer of the party, as well as to stop him from parading himself as one, insisting that he did not satisfy the constitutional requirements to contest the gubernatorial primary. The case was, however, struck out by the presiding judge after the parties reached a truce and withdrew the matter.
The development signaled an end to opposition from within the PDP to the aspiration of the energetic dancing senator, and paved the way for the execution of an all-inclusive campaign by members of his party. But few days after the case was struck out, two other concerned natives of the state approached a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, in Bwari, Abuja, to again seek Adeleke’s disqualification based on the allegation of certificate forgery.
The presiding judge, Justice O. A Musa, while adjudicating on the case, ordered the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to produce Adeleke’s result last Wednesday, an order that the examination body promptly complied with. WAEC had in its response clarified that Adeleke, who currently represents Osun West Senatorial District in the National Assembly, was listed as number 149 out of the 221 candidates that sat for the May/June examinations of the council at Ede Muslim High School, Ede, in 1981. The result, however, showed that he sat for only English Language out of all the registered subjects, which included Mathematics, Literature-in-English, Islamic Knowledge, Geography, Economics and Biology. While his supporters were still savouring the reprieve that came with the clarification, the police declared him wanted for examination malpractice just moments later. He was alleged to have committed the crime during the conduct of the 2017 National Examination Council Examination (NECO) examination at Ojo/Aro Community High School in the state. Consequently, the police asked him and four others to report to its Special Investigation Panel at the Abuja headquarters for arraignment in court last Wednesday. But for the quick intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, who overruled the Inspector General on Police on the matter, Adeleke would not have had the time to tidy up his campaign and tighten all loose ends for yesterday’s election.
The senator, however, appeared unruffled while his travails lasted. He ran his campaigns like every other candidate. He is also expectant of victory like the other contestants. Popular for his penchant for displaying his dancing acumen publicly, which has earned him the sobriquet, ‘dancing senator’, he emphatically declared, at an interactive session organised with the Oduduwa Youth Development Initiative in Osogbo four days ago, that he would dance to Osun Government House after emerging victorious at the poll.
It will be interesting to watch him if the gods grant his wish, because he would definitely introduce some victory dance steps to mock his traducers.
As the police invitation is still waiting for him, a court has ordered that he should not be arrested. The last on this would be heard after the elections, whether he wins or loses just as hearing on the certificate forgery case continues on September 25. How things would pan out for him in the days is, therefore, difficult to predict at the moment. It could be ‘dance on’ or ‘dance over’ for the senator.
Adeleke was born on May 13, 1960 to the family of a Second Republic senator and political leader of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the late Senator Raji Ayoola Adeleke, the Balogun of Ede land.
He started his political career in 2001 alongside his brother, the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who died in April 2017. He was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) until he decamped to the PDP, the platform under which he contested for and won the Osun West bye-election after the death of his brother.
He emerged as the governorship candidate of PDP in Osun State on July 23, 2018, after defeating his major contender by seven votes.