Nigeria’s Top 10 Most Influential Political Actors-Governor Ademola Adeleke

The Governor of Osun state, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is a chiff off the old block. He is currently holding aloft the flag of the popular Adeleke family of Ede, renowned for their immense wealth, fame and political power. In just about six years of his formal entry into politics, the Governor has arguably equalled the record of his illustrious elder sibling, the Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, in terms of wealth, fame and political influence. Like Isiaka before him, Ademola has become both Senator and State Governor and he is inching gradually towards total domination of the politics of Osun state.

The signs are all very clear. Until the death of his elder brother, Isiaka Adeleke, the head of Adeleke’s empire and a serving Senator, on April 23, 2017, Ademola was relatively unknown in politics. After the death of his elder brother who was an APC sitting senator, powerful people from Osun West Senatorial District agreed to return the ticket to the Adeleke family. Ademola was drafted to fill the vacancy created by Isiaka’s demise but the powers that be in Osun state APC denied him the ticket. This did not go down well with the powerful Adeleke political family and their supporters. They decided to decamp to PDP and made Ademola to contest the senatorial by-election under the PDP where he eventually defeated the APC candidate in the by-election to replace his late elder brother. Nine of the 10 local governments in the senatorial district elected him, and he received 97,280 votes. He dedicated his victory to his late brother.

As a sitting senator, he decided to take a shot at the Governorship election in 2018 where he fought his closest rival to a standstill: won in the first ballot but he lost in the rerun to his APC opponent under controversial circumstances. Adeleke ran for the governorship election against APC’s Gboyega Oyetola and Iyiola Omisore, candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ruled the election inconclusive and scheduled a rerun for September 27, 2018. Oyetola, the APC candidate, won the run-off election.

Adeleke called the election a “coup” and opposed the outcome. On March 22, 2019, a Tribunal proclaimed Adeleke, winner of the election. The Supreme Court later affirmed Oyetola as the authentic winner of the election.

In the second attempt four years later, Adeleke defeated the same rival and incumbent Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, both at the polls and in court. Again, he left no one in doubt about his rising political clout when, in the 2023 general elections, his party swept virtually all the legislative seats available at the state and national levels.

He also led his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to win in all the three Senatorial districts and the nine Federal Constituencies as well as 25 out of 26 seats in the state House of Assembly.  Similarly, PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, polled 354,366 votes in the state to defeat Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who scored 343,945 votes.

These victories are particularly significant considering the fact that Osun State is one of the states in Southwestern Nigeria which is the traditional stronghold of the rival ruling party, APC.

A chieftain of PDP in the state, Pelumi Olajengbesi said: “The commanding, indisputable and overwhelming victory of all PDP National Assembly candidates in the February 25 presidential election in Osun State again goes to show the popularity and widespread acceptance of His Excellency, Governor Ademola Adeleke, who led the party to victory in the state.

“Also, the victory of the PDP presidential candidate, a North-Easterner from Adamawa, in a South-West state and a Yoruba-dominated one at that, is testament to Adeleke’s efficient leadership and effective grassroot mobilisation, capability, tenacity as well as the widespread support, love and cooperation he enjoys from the good people of Osun State.”

Governor Adeleke came out immediately after the elections to take personal responsibility for his party’s outstanding performance. He said in a statement: “My good people of Osun state, you have honoured me and my party with another remarkable victory at the assembly elections.

“You have passed an excellent vote of confidence in my administration and my party by a series of electoral mandates in the last three elections.

“I went round the state with my scorecard under 100 days and you responded by endorsing my party’s candidates for legislative offices.

” You listened to my request for assembly members of my party who will work with me to deliver our five-point agenda.

” Your trust in me to deliver on our election promises has been expanded and strengthened.

“Your verdict on my performance is loud and clear.

” You have approved of our people-focused governance and our demonstrated will to resolve all outstanding challenges inherited from the previous administration.”

Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke was born on March 6, 1960, to the family of Ayoola Adeleke and Esther Adeleke in Enugu, Southrastern Nigeria.

He had his secondary education at Ede Muslim Grammar School, Ede, before he relocated to the United States to continue his studies at Jacksonville State University, Alabama, where he majored in criminal justice with a minor in political science.

Following his passion, business interests and entrepreneurship opportunities, Senator Adeleke joined Quicksilver Courier Company in Atlanta, Georgia, US, as a service contractor between 1985-1989. He progressed to Origin International LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, US, a flavour and fragrance manufacturing company where he served as Vice President from 1990 to 1994.

 He served as a Director of Guinness Nigeria Limited between 1992- 1999 where he contributed immensely to the expansion of the multinational company. He was later appointed Group Executive Director of Pacific Holdings Limited from 2001 to 2016.

Senator Adeleke is also an acclaimed creative Industry entrepreneur and mentor. As a talented creative figure, he mentored world rated ace musicians, including his family members (Davido, his nephew; and B-Red, his son). For his dancing dexterity he was nicknamed the ‘Dancing Senator.’

To complete his educational sojourn which he suspended because of business and entrepreneurial preoccupations, Senator Adeleke in 2019 went back to school in the United States where he re-enrolled at Atlanta Metropolitan State College and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice in 2021.

His passion for politics and serving the people started as early as 1991, leading to his election with a landslide victory as a Senator for Osun West Senatorial District in 2017, after the demise of his late brother. His popularity reached a peak when he won the Osun 2018 governorship election in the first round before the controversial rerun election that favoured the incumbent Governor of the state.

A great football lover, Senator Adeleke was a member of Ede Muslim Grammar School football team.