Ogun State: Understanding Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s ‘defection’

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Otunba Gbenga Daniel (left) during his endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun
Otunba Gbenga Daniel (left) during his endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun

By Wale Adedayo

 

From the mundane to the plausible, there have been many theories about the support given to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, by a former Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, leading to the electoral victory of APC in the Gateway State. Journalists, Facebook politicians and a few serious others have written enough materials that could be used by a doctoral student of Political Science.

 

But the major one, which son of man believes came either from the politically naïve or persons looking for a fall guy, was about a certain disloyalty to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, by Daniel. A certain Law Mefor, in a piece published by Sahara Reporters (http://saharareporters.com/2019/03/21/gbenga-daniels-defection-treachery-none-other-law-mefor), made a ludicrous claim that OGD might have been planted by APC at the height level of PDP as a way of destroying the party from within.

 

Mefor’s piece, along with others like it, showed a gross display of ignorance about why the former governor’s intervention came at the right time in Ogun State. Without holding brief for OGD, to me, the unfounded allegation of treachery levelled against the man for his progressive decision to assist in ensuring that APC won the gubernatorial election is nothing but a despicable attempt to link the former governor’s action with Atiku’s abysmal performance in the presidential election.

 

It is good that an aide of OGD, Mr. Ayo Giwa, has already tutored Mefor about the contributions of the former governor to whatever amount of votes Atiku had in Ogun State during the presidential election (https://newsdirect.ng/right-of-reply-law-mefors-treachery-to-truth/). Mefor certainly did not carry out any background check before writing. Either out of anger or due to instructions, the man simply wrote what he assumed were facts of the matter about OGD in Ogun State.

 

Given our situation in Ogun State, where an Emperor was desperately making efforts to ensure a Third Term in office for himself, if not for Daniel’s intervention, no matter what others say, son of man firmly believes Senator Ibikunle Amosun would have successfully installed his stooge as Governor. The timing of directing his followers to vote for APC was also strategically perfect. It left Amosun with no room to manoeuvre!

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Amosun’s coming on board in 2011 was due to a coalition of political forces, who believed at the time that Daniel should not be allowed to install a successor. It was very clear to those involved in the effort to restrain Daniel at the time that without inputs from others outside the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the task could not be done. Unlike Lagos State, the sub-ethnic groups in Ogun State often align with leaders they believe could protect their interests. These leaders spoke with one voice across business and political divides. They repeated the same thing in this last election.

 

The outgoing governor knew this too, because a few days to the election Amosun sought to court solid votes from Ijebu and Remo by getting the PDP National Secretariat’s anointed candidate, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, to his side, pledging different portfolios for his supporters should APM win. But one is sure he never realised that Daniel, technically, remains the leader of both the Adebutu and Senator Buruji Kashamu’s side of the PDP divide. Daniel’s directive to PDP members caught Amosun off guard, because the message was well relayed across the 20 local governments of the state along with its 236 Wards.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, there was no way PDP through Kashamu could have won that election. The senator has little or no structure in Ogun Central and West. His major political structure remains in Ogun East Senatorial District, where Adebutu had hijacked most of his lieutenants. Daniel’s directive woke many on both sides up, ensuring that they supported Abiodun of the APC. Abi, why did majority of PDP members not follow Adebutu to Amosun’s APM? They betrayed Atiku too, despite the huge efforts they made during the presidential election? Ori yin gbale sir!

 

In Ogun Central and parts of Ogun West, OGD has supporters in virtually all the major political parties opposed to Amosun’s continued rule through a stooge. The average politician always want to be part of a winning team, especially one at the centre. Once PDP had lost the presidential election, it was natural that a lot of members should be waiting for directives on what to do or simply stay away from voting during the next elections. It happened in Lagos State, where many PDP supporters stayed away from voting, as Atiku was disgraced there too.

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No doubt, OGD’s directive was the reason for the collapse of Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka’s African Democratic Congress (ADC), which was already haemorrhaging with the defection of ADC’s National Assembly candidates to APC after losing their elections. Virtually all ADC members voted for Atiku during the presidential election. Son of man even learnt Amosun offered GNI almost everything like Adebutu for the ADC gubernatorial candidate to step down and support his stooge. Of course, GNI refused! And, for that we’ll continue to respect Egbon, who fought a principle electoral battle all through.

 

That of PDP supporters was very simple. Neither Ladi nor Kashamu had enough clout to swing substantial votes in Ogun West or Central. Supporters dispirited by the fight to finish attitude of both men, which ensured the death of PDP in Ogun State towards the gubernatorial election, obviously wanted to not just be part of the winning team, but most importantly, be involved in the concerted effort to ensure that Amosun did not get a third term in office. It was that simple.

 

OGD’s critics may not be aware that he did a ‘PDP Unity Presidential Campaign’ on his own throughout Ogun State. From what I personally observed, it was a whistle-stop drive through all our major towns accommodating the 20 local governments. I would have physically observed that of Ijebu Ife, which ensured that PDP did well in my local government, Ijebu East, but for the fact that OGD arrived very late. Son of man had to leave on a whirlwind tour of other places to observe how prepared APC was for the election.

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I had told friends son of man was going to be at Ita Iwade, Ijebu Ife to see how many of our people still wanted OGD. The report friends gave me later shocked me to the marrow, as many of those we expected to abstain from going there were actually on ground to receive him. His message was simple a few days to the presidential election, “OGD is for Atiku, so please vote for PDP, whether you are for Lado or Kashamu.” And, they did vote for PDP very well in Ijebu East Local Government culminating in the delayed announcement of the National Assembly results for Ogun East Senatorial District and our House of Representatives seat.

 

Those castigating Daniel for his position may not know the depth of our problems in Ogun State today, brought about by a vindictive and visionless governor. Son of man will surely write more about this at a later date. We made efforts to stop him in 2015. But a wrong strategy adopted by the leaders failed in addition to the quality support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu gave to Amosun in 2015 along with today’s governor-elect, Abiodun.

 

If Adebutu, who not only aligned with Amosun’s APM, but also signed a memorandum of understanding with him has not been described as a traitor for abandoning the sinking PDP ship towards the gubernatorial election, how could anyone in his right senses, write the same about OGD? I have no doubt the man with the mischievous smile put in his best for Atiku in Ogun State. But, as it is often said that all politics is local, OGD had no choice than to join the movement to end Amosun’s visionless and vindictive grip on Ogun State. To me, it was the ONLY way OGD could face Ogun State residents tomorrow and tell them he was part of the change we badly needed in these parts.

 

Just my two cents!

 

  • Wale Adedayo, Publisher of Uhuru Times (uhurutimes.com), wrote from Isheri, Lagos.

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