As ‘facts are emerging,’ so are events unfolding on the drama of last week involving former Ogun State governor and director-general of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
OGD, as his admirers call him, shocked not a few last week when he renounced his membership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and quit partisan politics.
Just as analysts and observers were wondering what could have happened came a report that he would join the All Progressives Congress (APC). His supporters, mostly women, thronged his palatial residence in Shagamu, wailing, rolling on the ground, cursing, vowing not to leave until he rescinded his decision to quit politics and lead them to the APC. Some, we were told, even held his legs, saying they would not let him go unless he agreed to take them to the APC. As a man of the people, he concurred. But less than 24 hours later came another statement saying that he was not APC-bound.
Sentry immediately went in search of the real gist, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Before his appointment as the DG of the Atiku campaign organisation, Daniel’s political ambition was said to have been hurt when the PDP caved in to pressure from the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, to change the zoning of the national chairmanship position of the party from the South West to the South-South, with Wike-backed Uche Secondus becoming the National Chairman of the party.
While Daniel was still smarting from the injury inflicted on his plan for a shot at the chairmanship seat of PDP, and perhaps as a way of appeasing his bruised ego, he was offered an appointment as the DG of Atiku’s campaign organization. On account of his appointment, he toured the length and breadth of the country campaigning vigorously for Atiku. But like a bolt from the blue, Atiku brought in the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, as the de facto director-general of his campaign organization, sidelining Daniel and re-designing his function. Saraki thus became the big boss and the all in all, so much so that even the disbursement of campaign funds was entirely his game.
Although Daniel was far from being a happy man, he endured the situation in the hope that Atiku would win the presidential race and he (Daniel) would be compensated or appreciated. But the election came and it was President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who emerged victorious. Daniel’s hope was thus dashed and his expectation of serving at the federal level, perhaps as a minister, became a pipe dream.
It was in the foregoing circumstance that Dapo Abiodun, the governorship candidate of APC in Ogun State (now governor-elect) offered Daniel a window of opportunity. The two are not only kinsmen from Remo land, but they have also been very close friends. Abiodun was reputed to be very close to Daniel while the latter held sway as Ogun State governor. To those who know how close they had been, it was not a surprise when Daniel publicly endorsed Abiodun and disowned Buruji Kashamu, the candidate of PDP.
In the fight between Ladi Adebutu and Kashamu over the governorship ticket of the PDP in Ogun State, Daniel had supported Adebutu who, incidentally, was the candidate recognized by the party at the national level. But because of the crisis over who was the right candidate, Atiku skipped Ogun during his presidential campaign. That again infuriated Daniel who believed that Atiku should have stood by him and the candidate recognized by the party at the national level. What mattered the most at that point was principle, but Atiku Abubakar was neither here nor there.
Then came the carrot Abiodun allegedly dangled before Daniel, which became the joker upon which Daniel publicly endorsed him and eventually quit the PDP. Reliable sources told Sentry that the Ogun State governor-elect had promised to nominate Daniel for ministerial appointment. President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to run an all-inclusive government; the implication being that Daniel’s chances of ministerial appointment would be brighter if he is not in PDP.
But tongues are already wagging in the state over Abiodun’s alleged promise of ministerial appointment to Daniel. Apart from the imbalance in the spread of appointments which such a gesture could cause, many are asking how Chief Olusegun Osoba and other party chieftains who worked hard for the party’s success would react to it.