Tuesday, April 25, 2017 9:35 am
By Dotun Oyeniyi
Before the 2015 elections. I was invited to Lagos by Senator Isiaka Adeleke. We met at a restaurant/bar located somewhere at the back of Etiebet’s House in Ikeja. As was his wont, he was in the midst of his ‘poor’, ‘nameless’ friends, having fun in his own way. A pick-up-van load of police, his escort, was stationed outside the bar. We discussed for about 30 minutes and he thereafter fell asleep on his seat. His glass of drink still half-empty. He was snoring even as his head was making sudden, erratic dangle to both sides. His minders sat in palpable alert, their eyes focused on him, prepared to jerk into action in case he was going to tumble over from his chair. “Gov, I have to go now”, I said as I stooped by his side and tapped him on his shoulder. He rolled back to life, his eyes reddish, body sluggish and voice hoarse as he struggled to shake me and said ‘good bye Dotun.’ Before I took the last of about a dozen steps out of the inner VIP enclosure that we were seated, the Senator had slept off again, leaving me to be seen off by his raucous snore. Time was past 11 pm.
A few months before that, I had been a reluctant guest at his birthday party at his Oduduwa Road house in Ikeja after I missed my flight and had no choice but to stay one more night in Lagos. He was then in the PDP and Dipo, one of his closest ‘friends’ wound him up by reminding him that I shouldn’t be at the event as an APC person. Adeleke didn’t get the joke and took the matter very seriously. “It doesn’t matter, we are all brothers.” He replied in a stern voice. All night, the ‘Birthday Boy’ drank and danced with reckless abandon.
Isiaka Adeleke was a good man. A well mannered politician with a decorous approach to issues. He tried for his people in Ede, both as a governor and as a Senator. I doubt if he had the skill and capability to deliver very excellent service in government. I certainly know that like many other politicians, he had no time to produce a thoroughly worked-on blueprint on service delivery to his people. Neither were his people concerned with that. He had branded cars in preparation for 2018 governorship election in Osun, I doubt if he had a branded manifestos in place yet. But he was a master in the game the Nigerian way – throw money around, network your followership and be seen to be accessible.
Rather than being poisoned as being rumoured. Adeleke was likely a victim of very hectic lifestyle that yielded little or no space to Spartan self restraint, care and moderation, in all spheres of his life. It is not just about him, that is the way of Nigerian politicking and politicians.
When a man reaches the age of 50. He must return to the drawing board of lifestyle. Our bodies deserve more attention- its workloads and consumption pattern must be meticulously reassessed, monitored, and tamed. Most of our politicians do not feel that need. Endless meetings; ceaseless telephone calls; anyhow eating and drinking; and womanising, yes, womanising – that’s the style of MOST.
Top politicians in Nigeria are always breathtakingly rich, but at what cost? When you have very close relationships with men in power, you will appreciate the Yoruba proverb about ‘meatless meal eaten in peace…
My Igbomina people were the leading traders in Lagos in the 60s, 70s and 80s. We know the story of so many of them that ‘conquered’ Lagos commerce; but unknown are so many of these people who went to Lagos and returned home quickly. They couldn’t stand the frenetic pace and stress of Lagos life. Asked at home why they returned from Lagos so quick; their replies were same:
“Owo Eko le nwo, e wo iya Eko” – you consider Lagos money but disregard Lagos trouble.
Good night Serubawon
Your best legacy is thug-less politicking and help for your Ede community.