Ms Idiat Babalola, the commissioner-nominee in Osun state and former special adviser to Governor Aregbesola on Federal Matters, has said that her narrow escape from the jaws of death during the burial of late Senator Isiaka Adeleke was her baptism of fire in politics.
Ms Babalola in an interview with TVC news said the experience will not in any way deter her from still playing politics.
Read excerpts from the interview:
What was the reason behind the outrage of the youths against you during the burial of Senator Isiaka Adeleke?
I really can’t pinpoint what the reasons could be because, it beats me hollow, to be honest with you.
Because we are family members. Our relationships dates back decades from my grandparents to my dad.
The only thing I heard during the chanting was that there was rumour I have been tipped to be the next deputy governor in the next election. That is news to me. Only the mob can say what it was.
But from all indications I heard them call me traitor and all sort of names.
Tell us more about your relationship with the late Senator.
I came into politics through the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke who l referred to as broda (brother) Tunji, Dr Adeleke and Uncle Wale Adeoyo.
Everything l learnt in politics was through Brother Tunji. I was actually a member of Assembly (Osun State) when Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola came in (2010). That was about six months to the end of my tenure. After the election he (Aregbosola) invited me into his cabinet.
Most people didn’t realise that before I took the appointment, I spoke with brother Tunji. Because I was a novice in politics as at that time.
I asked him if it was good for me to accept the appointment since I was a PDP member then while the governor was ACN. Broda Tunji of blessed memory said yes, I should go ahead and take the appointment. Uncle Wale Adeoyo was privy to this. I must say that I learnt a lot from late Senator Isiaka Adeleke.
Is true you are nursing the ambition of being the deputy governor of the state as being speculated?
I was shocked when I first heard about it. Somebody called me to ask me and l said really? Don’t forget that l was actually based in US. I had a good job in US. I was never interested in politics. By the time l came home to join politics, I didn’t even know my local government very well. Since I came, I conduct myself more as a technocrat than a politician.
First of all, most of my businesses are in Abuja. I was hardly around for most of the political meetings where such decisions are made. I only come in to attend exco (executive) meetings. If I had a political ambition of being a deputy governor won’t I have my own (political) structure? Won’t I have my own group of people? I don’t have all of these.
Prior to the incident of your attack, did you ever nursed the fear that you could be attacked by your own people?
No. The only time I had an idea something might be wrong was when people started calling me when broda Tunji died that I should not come home (Ede) because people are saying that I am Aregbe (sola) loyalist. I asked them what has that got to do with the person that died.
I was Governor Aregbesola’s Special Adviser on Federal Matters. I handled a lot of stuff for him. The fact that I am loyal to my boss, what has that got to do with his (Adeleke) death?
I argued that they should not forget that we are family. His family and mine are not connected by politics. We were family way before l was even born.
What was the stance of the Adeleke’s family on this matter?
If you looked at the video very well, you will notice that it was Dr Adeleke that was shielding me initially before Governor Amosun came to my rescue.
Late Senator Adeleke was a cheerful giver and a lot of people benefitted from this. Those who attacked me saw his death as an end to their pot of soup. They now decided to vent their anger on those of us close to the government. I don’t know where they got it that there is a rift.
After this attack will you still be in politics?
I am still going to be in politics. None of this people knew how l came into politics. My steps are divinely orchestrated. Where l go, what I do, is in the Hands of God. I am not going to be deterred by this (attack). This is baptism of fire for me. This is part of politics. I have just been baptized.
– TOLANI ABATTI