It all began in 2017, a tragic event had struck the people of Osun State and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a beloved son of the state, a philanthropist, a former Governor and a sitting Senator, Isiaka Adeleke had passed away.
The event that followed the death of Adeleke who was believed to be an influential personality in the Osun State politics can be best described as breathing taking, and to an extent, outright chaotic.
His sit at the Senate needed to be occupied, naturally, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had to conduct an election within 90 days after it had being declared vacant. It was this process that led to a chain reaction which held the people of the state, and indeed entire Nigeria spellbound for nearly two years.
Adeleke’s brother, Ademola Adeleke, who was based in the United States of America flew into the country for the burial, at which point, the idea of him taking over his brother’s political legacy was muted to him by Isiaka’s supporters and he decided to seize the opportunity.
Naturally, his party of choice was that of his late brother, the APC, however, the ruling party had other plans and they decided to move in another direction.
Feeling the pulse of the citizens who had been groaning in the difficulty experienced during the second term of the Rauf Aregbesola’s governorship, and also the high esteem the citizens of the state held his late brother, the younger Adeleke decided to take his ambition to the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party, sensing an opportunity, decided to hand him the ticket, Adeleke contested the election and he won quite easily.
Ademola Adeleke’s victory caught the attention of Nigerians in several ways but it was his colourful dancing skills during the campaign that brought him to the mainstream of Nigeria’s politics.
A few months later, Adeleke decided to ride his political momentum even further, he decided to contest for the governorship of the state. The stage was perfectly positioned for his victory, the then incumbent governor, Rauf Aregbesola, was not the most popular man in the state, salaries were owed for months, when they were paid, it was mostly incremental, and the state generally experienced severe economic hardship.
Osun indigenes were gearing for a new start and Adeleke presented himself as the light at the end of the tunnel.
He contested the poll against the APC candidate, Isiaka Oyetola, a loyal member of the party and a veteran of the state’s politics, however, he lacked the charisma of Adeleke, who thrilled his audience with his trademark dancing steps. The “Dancing Senator” as he was called by both his admirers and detractors made his campaign an elaborate carnival, he did not give much in terms of policy outlook, he did not have to, just dance and remind the people how much they have suffered and they mostly got behind him.
Nearly every poll indicates an Adeleke’s victory but it was never clear-cut, they were other powerful individuals involved in the race too, they also have a strong support base in the state, a situation which made the election a keenly contested one.
Also, the ruling APC has so much going for them, the party has the support of the Federal machinery and a crafty old political calculator in the person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Lagos State Governor and the national leader of the party.
The election was held, Adeleke, as expected, secured the majority of the votes but it was declared inconclusive as the total number of his winning margin was lower than the total number of votes cancelled, therefore, the election was declared inconclusive and INEC set another date for a rerun between Adeleke and Oyetola, the two leading candidates.
At this point, the beautiful bride and the most valuable politician in Osun State was Iyiola Omisore, a former deputy governor and Senator who contested the elections and came third. Omisore has a large support base and both the APC and the PDP tried to win him over.
Omisore eventually jumped on the APC ship and asked his supporters to vote in large numbers for Oyetola, this was seen as the game changer in the rerun which saw the APC candidate emerge victorious.
Adeleke rejected the result and insists he would fight for his stolen mandate at the Election Petition Tribunal.
In the first legal salvo fired, Adeleke won at the tribunal, there was jubilation in his camp but the celebration was short-lived after Oyetola revealed his intention to challenge the judgement at the Court of Appeal.
Oyetola won at the Appellate Court but the Senator was not satisfied, he decided to challenge the result at the highest court in the land, The Supreme Court.
Adeleke was hopeful, his supporters were hopeful, Davido, Adeleke’s famous musician nephew was hopeful. The Supreme Court was the final hope for Adeleke to achieve his dream of becoming the Governor of Osun State.
However, on Friday, 5th of July, 2019, the hope of many supporters of the Dancing Senator was dashed, the hope of the Dancing Senator was dashed, the Supreme Court in a 5 to 2 ruling declared that Oyetola is the duly elected governor of Osun State.
The Dance has finally ended… for now.