BEWARE OF GBENGA DANIEL – KAKA

By NBF News
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Alhaji Adegbenga Kaka, former Deputy Governor of Ogun State is not a man of many words but does not sit on the fence on any issue. Ahead of 2011 general election, he is uncomfortable with moves by Egba politicians to succeed Governor Gbenga Daniel. He cautions that the people of Yewa/Awori zone should beware of the antics of the state governor. In this interview, he bares his mind on several issues including the governorship race in the 'Gateway state'. Excerpts…

Since the defeat of your party, Democratic People's Alliance (DPA) in the April 2007 general elections, it has neither been heard nor seen in the state, what has been responsible?

My party in the 2007 elections was DPA and after the charade called elections, we decided to go back to the drawing board. And as you might have been aware, we are part and parcel of many parties that are trying to forge a common platform under the mega summit movement. So, we have been very busy, trying to package it and then, give a formidable opposition party that will be able to hold PDP in future elections.

Afenifere has been dormant in the recent past, owing to the fact that you have not been able to meet at Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State since the demise of its leader, late Senator Abraham Adesanya, what is the problem?

Afenifere is not dormant; we have been active and we have been holding our meetings, especially the caucus but we felt that under the circumstances we have found ourselves in Nigeria today, there is need for a broad-based platform that will be all-embracing and that was why we initially went all out to bring back all the lost members of the family.

I am sure you are aware that a lot have passed under the bridge starting from Kayode Esho Committee to the reconciliatory efforts by Mama Hannah Awolowo and so many interested Yoruba people interested in bringing everyone together. But unfortunately, it seems those that appear to have lost are not keen on seeing to the overall welfare of the Yoruba race. With that one, it is becoming obvious and we have decided to concentrate on carrying along with all those that are interested, leaving those that are not ready to come onboard, so that at the end, we are not caught snapping come future elections.

You were the governorship candidate of the DPA in Ogun State in the 2007 elections; would you still run for the exalted seat in 2011 polls?

Well, running for the polls in 2011 could not be strictly of my own making, it would be the making of the Almighty God and the people that believe in me. In 2007, I did not offer myself for the position but collectively within Afenifere and DPA, they felt I did not have a better alternative than humble myself and I had to accede to their humble request to fly the flag.

So, this time around also, should the situation arise, I am not sure I am going to shy away from hearkening to their demand. But if they get somebody better off than my humble self or we allow sentiment to override our sense of judgment, I will have to tarry a while and then toe the path of the generality. So, it is the collective decision that will shape what 2011 will be.

From your vantage position, which of the three Senatorial districts in Ogun should produce the next governorship candidate?

Sincerely speaking, when we look at what is happening in advanced democracy, particularly in the United States, zonal arrangement is immaterial and what they emphasise is merit and quality of leadership. So, they always fight for the best and they believe only the best is good enough for their country. So, also here, may be, because we are just evolving, people tend to talk of zoning here and there and the effects of zoning which we have discovered is the enthronement of mediocrity.

Here in Ogun, the PDP came up with the formula and even before PDP, we have been having agitations whereby they talk of four divisions, which are Yewa, Ijebu, Egba and Remo. In 2007, the PDP in their own wisdom thought that Chief Bisi Onabanjo being the first civilian governor from Ijebu, and Aremo, Olusegun Osoba from Egba was a civilian governor in 1991 and also, in 1999 and they now felt that zoning it to Yewa or Remo would be ideal and, they zoned it to Remo and fortunately for them, they won the elections. If we based it on the sentiment of zoning, naturally the Yewa people should produce the next governor.

But putting that one apart then, we would realise that in the event of the Yewa people being unable to produce the next governor, then, automatically, it should be the turn of Ijebu because it was Ijebu first, followed by Egba twice and now, we are talking of Remo. If Yewa people failed to produce a credible candidate that can steer the ship of the state, I think the next turn should be Ijebu and not even Egba as being clamoured.

As a democrat, as a believer in what is best for our state, I believe that in 2011, the governor can come from anywhere. The remotest part of our own state can produce the next governor. When you realise that when Papa Obafemi Awolowo became the Premier of Western region, including the present day Edo and Delta states respectively, we all knew that Papa came from Ikenne.

I learnt that about 16 aspirants have expressed interest and I am yet to see any one of them that is strong enough to actually clinch the ticket. But about 16 of them, what are they doing? But sadly enough, all the 16 aspirants are putting their eggs in one basket, thinking that a single Godfather would make all the 16 men to occupy just one single slot. So, the early they realise it, the early they pick other alternatives rather than relying entirely on PDP that is a sinking boat, a discredited party, a party that no one wants to touch with the longest pole then, one would be wondering what the elders in Yewa are doing, what even the educated ones are doing why all of them must crowd themselves into a sinking boat and then, thinking that their salvation lies there.

It is pathetic. In case in our party, no credible candidate from Yewa is coming out, we will not say because everyone is now going to PDP then, we will vote for them, no. We will present our candidate that will be able do what is right, what is best in every nook and cranny of the state, without any discrimination, without ill-feelings, without disaffection, without special treatment.

Governor Gbenga Daniel seems to be at the vanguard for the emergence of a Yewa/Awori candidate to succeed him when he leaves office in May 2011, can his political permutation do the magic amid oppositions at every flank?

It is political gimmickry. It is wrong for Daniel to ascribe to himself as being the champion of Yewa. Before his advent in Ogun, we have been clamouring for a Yewa candidate and it is on record that after late Chief Jonathan Odebiyi and Dr. Tunji Otegbeye stepped down for Chief Bisi Onabanjo, the Ijebus have been consistent in their bid, in their quest to repay back the favour done them by supporting Onabanjo then.

So, it happened in 1991, it happened in 1999 and it is the same way our brothers and sisters in Yewa are approaching issues that deprived them the opportunity in 1991 and deprived them in 1999 as well. I was Vice Chairman of my own party in the AD and we met with Otegbeye and leaders of thought from Yewa and we were fully prepared to zone the whole thing to them in Yewa and for him to come in late hour and be saying is the champion, he is only deceiving them.

He is deceiving them to shore up his dwindling image and they now seem to be buying the deceit as the gospel truth. Behind it, if truly, Daniel is championing the cause of Yewa, why must some people under him, some trustees from Egba, come out to say they want to contest for the same position if he is sincere? The generality of the people of Ogun on sentimental reason, believe that Yewa should have a shot but the way they are going about it, they may lose out. And in case they are going to lose out, then, it is not yet the turn of Egba but the turn of the Ijebu if the rotation is anything to go by.

Assuming if Yewa/Awori zone is unable to clinch the governorship ticket, which of the other two zones do you think can merit the seat?

If Yewa/Awori is unable to produce the next candidate, automatically it comes down to Ijebu except we are deceiving ourselves. If we claim we have four divisions and three divisions in rotations have had their turns, then, should the fourth one be unable, then, the next division, which is Ijebu would have to have another shot. Fortunately and unfortunately, late Chief Bisi Onabanjo had a second shot but could not enjoy more than three months of his second term whereas Chief Olusegun Osoba spent one and half years which was clear-cut, with even gap in-between and he is from Egba, so, what are we talking?

In fairness, are you in support of a candidate from Yewa/Awori to clinch the governorship ticket?

I am telling you if we are to base it on sentiment, it is supposed to be the turn of Yewa/Awori. But the way they are going about it, I am yet to see a candidate approaching us for support. If they are serious by now, we should be able to identify one or two of them that is serious enough, that is credible enough and doing the work because governance is a serious business. But the way they are going about it, thinking that a godfather would spoon-feed 16 of them at a time in the same party as if that party is performing.

Having once been at the saddle of affairs of the state as a Deputy Governor between 1999 and 2003, could you situate the problems confronting the people of the zone if the ticket eventually slips off and goes to another zone?

I want to tell you and I want to assure you that the Yewa/Awori people are well endowed with able, capable and thoroughbred individuals capable of occupying the position of the Presidency, not to talk of the governorship. But the problem is that there is no unity of purpose. Two, none, it appears all those who are coming out are not ready to take risks.

And life is all about risk. They want someone who is going to spoon-feed them and who is going to stay somewhere and be their godfather. So, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. They should be able to mobilise funds; they should be able to mobilise people, they should be able to reach out to people of other zones for their support, not the way they are going about it whereby some of them would even make themselves available as instruments in the hands of oppositions, in the hands of rivals. And that is a part of their doing and it is like a history that is keeping on repeating itself and it has become a decimal factor.

There are fears that the 2011 general elections in Ogun might not be peaceful owing to in-fighting within the leadership of the PDP, the ruling party, do you also, share from these fears?

Yes, the fears appear latent but when you listen to the assurances coming out of the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan that he intends to conduct a free and fair election, if there is going to be any problem, it would be an implosion of PDP. And that implosion would be self-destruction for them and it would consume many of them and most invariably, many of them would have to leave the party for whoever is stronger and then, another Otedola may be in the making in Ogun. So, rather than any turbulent thing happening in Ogun, it is they that would be destroyed, nothing will happen to the people of Ogun State.

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