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Gbenga Daniel

Politics in Ogun state, it must be said, is a fun to follow. Its politicians are even more so. Small wonder the intractable political intrigues, factionalization, accusations and counter - accusations among key political actors from the state, especially those in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It's not unkind to say therefore that politics in the Gateway state has become like the little world of the obsessed, mud- throwing contest. This state, is undoubtedly a flashpoint that must be closely watched and monitored.

The torrent of reactions to this column two weeks ago entitled Gbenga Daniel: one day, one trouble, a catchphrase I borrowed from the state commissioner for information and strategy, Mr. Sina Kawonise, is most revealing. The few reactions published below are the equivalent of the All Share Index in the capital market, it gauges the mood of what goes on in Ogun politics and perhaps, what to expect next. Read…

Suddenly, Ogun State has become the most troubled state in the federation. It is a state most national and local newspapers prefer to write about to sell their papers. And the man at the helms of affairs in the state has become the major selling point.

In fact, new tabloids that have been established in the last one year equally prefer to gain entrance into the newspaper market by writing about either OGD and/or Ogun State in their cover pages.

The emphasis of some of the most critical of Ogun State among the newspapers has been that ”the Ogun State Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel is fighting everybody and he is intolerant”.

As an indigene of Ogun State that have been around in this state before and after its creation in 1976, and a careful watcher of events in therein, some questions readily come to mind. They include among many others, the following: Why is Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel fighting everybody? Who are the people that the Governor is fighting?

When did the Governor become a fighter? What exactly are they fighting for? Where is the battle ground? And how has the fight affected Ogun State?

I have decided to ask these fundamental questions of why, who, when, what, where and how in order to generate issues and situate the so called fight within issues and not personalities.

It is only by doing that all can begin to understand and appreciate the recent political dimensions in Ogun State.

I searched through Otunba Gbenga Daniel's manifesto 'My Contract with Ogun People', I did not see where he said he was going to fight anybody, somebody and/or everybody in Ogun State. Yet, the newspapers are awash with OGD as a fighter. Who is he really fighting? Everybody, of course!

A critical mind will therefore want to know why a Gbenga Daniel, whose personality as a complete gentle man, a property class coming from a background of a Reverend Father's son, suddenly turned to a ruthless fighter.

The question of who OGD is fighting may not be properly addressed if 'everybody' he is fighting is not first identified for the purpose of this analysis.

A thorough search for 'everybody' the Governor is fighting revealed about five major individuals if you like, interest groups. They include Abuja interest group(largely made up of Ogun State representatives in the Federal Capital who are interested in becoming the Governor in 2011), the Old Order interest group (allegedly made up of very old politicians who have been in politics for so long), Hill Top interest group( a source said is made up of only one man-the immediate past President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria),the G15 interest group( which is made up of the fifteen Ogun State House of Assembly members opposed to Governor Gbenga Daniel), Lagos interest group( a source claimed, is equally made up only one man- the immediate past Governor of Lagos State), and finally, the Official Opposition interest group (is made up of the ANPP and AC Gubernatorial Aspirants in the last elections in 2007 and many of their followers).

All the interest groups belong to the same political party, ie, PDP, except Lagos interest group and the official opposition interest group. What is however common among all the interest groups identified is the fact that they are all united to wrestle power from only one man- Otunba Gbenga Daniel, by whatsoever means available at their disposal.

All the interest groups mentioned above have at one time or the other in the recent past admitted that Daniel is a performing Governor. They are all united on this matter of performance that perhaps his performance supersedes any governor dead or alive in the history of Ogun State. My search has revealed various comments of commendation made by all these interests groups about the Governor at different times.

What is common about these interest groups that seem to represent the 'everybody' Gbenga Daniel is fighting, is that they have not given at least one reason that situates their own interest within the interest of the common people in Ogun State! Perhaps if this has been done, they would have garnered enough support from the grassroot as evidence to back their own interests as a group.

But, this is definitely a very difficult task for them because OGD has affected the lives of the common people in Ogun State such that it will be hard to rubbish him and what so ever he stands for. OGD is a song in the mouth of all in Ogun State. Even the official and unofficial opposition know this fact. In deeds I do not know which aspect of life OGD has not touched in the lives of the people of Ogun State.

From Education to Sports development; health to youth/women development; road to Infrastructural development; from Care for the Aged to Girl-child development; from massive employment /wealth creation and empowerment programmes across the State and a host of many other development projects distributed on the philosophy of equity, fairness and equal opportunity to all in Ogun State .

The sins of the Ogun State Governor from my own observation are not a committed against the people of Ogun State. They are sins committed against some entrenched political interest within the State. It is therefore not a surprise why the battle has been limited to the pages of newspapers and indeed some selected few ones where the interest groups have control over.

The actual sin the Governor has committed was the introduction of 'Government Unusual' to replace 'Government as usual'. This is a phenomenal change that has transformed Ogun State beyond anybody's imagination, including the interest groups. This, to them, if not quickly checked, will send them to political oblivion and make them irrelevant in the political equation of Ogun State.

This position is not the people's position at all. It is however a position that must be carefully studied , analysed and handled with great caution in the interest of the State. This is where the battle lies.

Music icon, Bob Marley in one of his songs said that if you give people an inch, they would take a mile. This seems to be the source of the toga of intolerance foisted on Gov. Gbenga Daniel. The word intolerance came into fore in the last one year. why was it there not in the first term of OGD's administration. It therefore means this man must have been tolerating all and sundry. Now, that he says NO, the word intolerance became a hate song among these interest groups alone and not the common people in Ogun State. The hatred became a buzz word in the media controlled by the interest groups. The question to ask is: what is it that the Governor is intolerant of? Your guess is as good as mine.

Finally, how has all this affected the people of Ogun State? To the Governor work has to continue. The governor has been commissioning one project after the other, from one local government to the other, in the last three months. Only recently, the Governor gave out about two hundred vehicles as taxis as form of empowerment to Ogun State people. The beneficiaries are only party members.

This is apart from the various mega projects such as the Cargo Air Port, the Deep Sea Port, OKNLG, Sagamu International Stadium and many others.

While the soul of Ogun State is being fought lets not forget to keep the state alive without destroying its soul, and ultimately, its peace.

Nurudeen Alliyu
… others speak
Dan, you are wonderful. Your article on Gbenga Daniel's one day, one trouble has said it all about Ogun politics. Those who are interested in assisting Ogun politically should digest your article and call Gov Daniel to order. God bless you.

From Akin. 08033195602
I refer to your article on Gbenga Daniel, one day,one trouble. Speaker Dimeji Bankole is unjustly being persecuted by Gov. Daniel. For causing the project to be included in the 2009 Federal budget, clearly projects Bankole as the builder of the bridge. He deserves both the honour and the credit. Obasanjo would have completed the project had his 3rd term bid worked out. Dan, I commend you for your good sense of judgment.

Rev. LamboAnglican Diocese Umuahia, Abia State