The role of Sariki, Diri and Obaseki in Adeleke’s victory
THOUGH the Adelekes and their political machinery inherited from their late father, the Asiwaju of Edeland, Second Republic Senator Ayoola Adeleke’s goodwill the events of 2018 in which Ademola Adeleke won the first ballot but was denied the governorship post after a re-run poll in which the PDP candidate lost by just 200 votes has continued to haunt them.
Thus, the Adelekes this time decided that nothing should be taken for granted.
This view led to the PDP’s decision to select some of its most experienced strategists for the National Campaign Council.
In the campaign council, three of the members were said to have devoted more time and resources to the campaigns, particularly in the last few days to the election.
The trio who chose to give more time to the Adeleke campaign were former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Duoye Diri, and his Edo counterpart, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.While Diri was the chairman of the National Campaign Council, Obaseki who has known the PDP’s candidate’s elder brother, Deji Adeleke, since their days in the financial sector in Lagos also felt obliged to share his experience in similar elections in 2020 when he was seeking re-election and had similar APC forces arrayed against him.
His victory strategy was therefore needed and he decided to help the party in the same way the party helped him to defeat the APC forces led by Adams Oshiomhole and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.Why Saraki worked for AdelekeFor Saraki, there were many reasons he wanted the PDP and the Adelekes to win in Osun State.
First, Osun State is a neighbouring state to his own Kwara State and he needs to ensure Osun State will not be used to sabotage the PDP in Kwara State in next year’s election. Second, as the chairman of the PDP National Reconciliation and Strategic Committee, NRSC, he handled the resolution of the crisis in the party in the state and so is aware of the issues, personalities, and need for unity in Osun PDP to win the pollIt thus became a challenge for him to help the Adelekes in making last-minute rallying of forces and persons behind the candidate in other to defeat the divided APC.
Third, while his late father, Oloye Olusola Saraki was a colleague of the patriarch of the Adelekes in the Second Republic Senate, he and the late eldest brother of the Adelekes, Isiaka Adetunji, were colleagues in the 7th and 8th Senate.
Later, when Ademola, the PDP candidate replaced his late brother in the 8th Senate, he was a loyal supporter of Saraki who was then Senate President.
Fourth, the Saraki and Adeleke families remain the only two nuclear families to have produced three members of the Nigerian Senate respectively.
Also, Deji Adeleke, the surviving eldest of the Adeleke brothers is a good friend of Saraki.
Saraki and his team were said to have moved from Ilorin where he had been since the eve of the last Eid-El- Kabir festival into Ede, the Adelekes’ home town on Wednesday morning (July 13) and immediately on arrival went into a meeting with all the PDP polling agents.
The venue of the training handled by the former Senate President was the Adeleke University, Ede.
There, he shared some strategic lessons with the agents on how to carry out their assignments on polling day.
He also emphasized to them the importance of their roles to the success of the party on Election Day.
The presence of such a dignitary not only inspired and encouraged the party agents but also emphasized to them how serious and ready the Osun PDP and the candidate’s campaign were about the election.
After the training session with party agents, Saraki drove back to Osogbo, the state capital with Deji Adeleke, the candidate’s elder brother to join PDP Governors who were getting ready to meet with ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola at his Osogbo GRA residence.
The meeting was actually at the instance of Saraki who believed that Oyinlola was aggrieved and needed to be pacified and pleaded to support Adeleke.
The party was able to appease Oyinlola and resolved the differences between him and the Adelekes.Vanguard gathered that Saraki went back to Ede that same night to meet with the PDP governorship candidate and his team where the meeting reviewed the preparation for the election and checked if all the necessary boxes had been ticked concerning critical areas of election preparation, security, and logistics. An insider abreast of the leg work told Vanguard: “After the meeting with the candidate and his team, Saraki moved back to Osogbo to commence another engagement with party stakeholders in the state.
As the hitherto chairman of the PDP NRSC, it was easy for him to revisit all the issues
his committee had dealt with and ensured that those already dealt with did not resurge while the ones that were pending were quickly attended to.
Many of the stakeholders could easily identify with him and listen to his pleas with them.
The engagements helped the party to put a strong and united front across in the last 48 hours or so before the commencement of voting.
“By Thursday morning, Saraki and his team were in Osogbo to coordinate the PDP mega rally.
He spent the whole of Thursday ensuring that the party had a successful rally aimed at sending a strong signal to the ruling APC that the PDP was set to take over in Osun State.
“On Friday morning as early as 8 am, Saraki commenced another series of meetings with aggrieved party stakeholders from each of the three senatorial districts.
The first set was the people from Osun East. This particular one took up most of the day.
At the end of the day, the issues appeared resolved and the party seemed ready for a good outing on Saturday.
“On Friday night, Saraki moved into the party situation room located inside the residence of late Senator isiaka Adeleke to ascertain the level of preparedness and to test run some of the facilities to be sure that all is working perfectly.
In this assignment, he was joined by Governors Diri and Obaseki.“On Election Day as early as 6 am, Saraki was already in the situation room to start coordination.
He was also joined by the two Governors to supervise the situation room.
They were practically getting reports from party agents, field officers, and observers across the state.
The three men and their teams did not sleep until the results were announced in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“It was because of their critical roles that immediately he was pronounced the winner, Adeleke prostrated before his elder brother, Deji, held tightly to each of Saraki, Diri and Obaseki for their kind, much-needed, strategic, and effective last-minute interventions that saved the day.”