Politicians in Ogun State seem not to be bothered with the defection of a former Governor, Gbenga Daniel from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), OUR SOURCE reports.
Daniel, who ruled Ogun State from 2003 to 2011, was the General Manager of Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign in 2019; but resigned immediately after the election.
Since Daniel left office in 2011, he has not made any significant impact in the Ogun State political space. Months after the 2011 election, he defected to the Labour Party as a result of the in-fighting that had torn the PDP apart, allowing the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to take over through Ibikunle Amosun.
Daniel’s disagreement with former President, Obasanjo and Buruji Kashamu was the beginning of what observers tagged his ‘political recess’ since he left office.
This was because the party was totally ‘hijacked’ from him and this led to the PDP splitting into different groups. By the time he returned to the PDP from the Labour Party in 2014, Late Buruji Kashamu was already in charge.
In their desperate moves to clinch the ticket of the PDP for the 2015 general elections, some loyalists of Daniel, including Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI), pledged loyalty to Kashamu and dropped their support for Daniel.
After that election, the main PDP in Ogun were divided among different leaders. While Daniel still have some of his die-hard followers with him, the likes of Kashamu and Hon. Ladi Adebutu were holding sway as factional leaders, as Gboyega Isiaka moved into a different party with his own followers.
After the demise of Kashamu, it was rumoured that the late Ogun East Senator had given Daniel the go-ahead to take over the political structure he left behind.
Some leaders in the Kashamu camp also made efforts to lure Daniel into making him their leader. But, it appears the Sagamu-born politician did not see wisdom in having a fraction of his followers in the APC, while he became a factional leader of the PDP.
OUR SOURCE recalls that Daniel’s Deputy Governor between 2003 and 2011, Alhaja Salmot Badru, had in January 2020 led a group of Daniel loyalists from the PDP into the APC.
Therefore, when Daniel announced his defection to the APC on Tuesday, politicians in Ogun State were not caught unawares.
“Daniel is not just defecting. He decamped to the APC in 2019. He is only announcing it now. He has been in APC since two years ago,” an analyst, Adegoke Samuel, said on Wednesday.
In the build up to the 2019 general elections, many politicians, including Daniel came together to join forces with the incumbent Governor, Dapo Abiodun. The plan was to make sure former Governor, Ibikunle Amosun did not have Adekunle Akinlade as his successor.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that both Kashamu and Daniel’s supporters pitched tents with Abiodun to become the Ogun helmsman.
In an interview on a radio in Abeokuta after the election, Kashamu, who was the governorship candidate of the PDP in 2019, said he joined the race, not because he wanted to be governor of the Gateway State, but to stop Ladi Adebutu from becoming the candidate of the party.
In the same vein, Daniel, while speaking with an online TV, said he supported Abiodun of the APC because Amosun “tormented” him for eight years, saying Akinlade would have continued from where Amosun stopped if he became the governor.
However, the result of the 2019 governorship election did not show landslide victory for Abiodun.
An APC leader said: “It is good that Daniel is joining the APC. But that is not something to jubilate over. When he supported the APC in 2019, we saw the outcome. The margin of win between Abiodun and Akinlade was not up to 20,000. So we already know what he has to offer.”
The APC leader, who did not want to be mentioned, said “Abiodun is gathering people around himself so as to secure a second time ticket. He is planning on how to make Ogun a one-party state, but that is impossible. Gov Abiodun believes the only person giving him ‘headache’ in the APC is Amosun. So, he feels having the likes of Daniel, Isiaka and others around him will give him victory over Amosun. But, he is not mindful of the fact that there could be an implosion in a party that now has former Governors Osoba, Daniel and Amosun as leaders.”
Reacting to Daniel’s defection, the PDP in Ogun State described it as“a breath of fresh air”, saying it is “good riddance to bad rubbish.”
To the PDP, Daniel’s defection was seen as a relief; the party said it would not miss the ex-govenor in any way.
Akinloye Bankole, the Ogun PDP Publicity Secretary, told OUR SOURCE that, “For us as a party, we feel excited about his movement from the party. For now, we will know who and who belongs to a particular party. His defection is a big relief and we are not in any way disappointed, it is what we have always known. We wish him well.”
Also, the state PDP Chairman, Sikirulahi Ogundele, rejoiced over the defection of Daniel to the APC, saying, “the hour of deliverance has come and we shout Eureka. We have dared them for two years and nothing happened, nothing will still happen.”
Ogundele said God of heaven and earth answered the prayer of the PDP on Tuesday with the defection of Daniel to the ruling party, stressing that, “we pity the heavily fractured APC”.
The PDP Chairman sought to know if Daniel was defecting to the Osoba faction, the Amosun faction or “the one being nursed by Abiodun.”
OUR SOURCE observed that Amosun and Osoba were absent when Abiodun led other five APC governors to receive Daniel into the APC at his Sagamu residence on Tuesday.
In all of these, the Spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign Organisation, Segun Showunmi, has this to say:
“We must not succumb to the error of the mob. There is absolutely nothing honourable in people desiring a one party state in Ogun. I have asked myself one million times overnight, what if Bola Tinubu was like them and he jumped ship in 2003 as he was the only ACN Governor left in the South West?
“What if with all we can see him and his group going through, Oshiomhole losing control, how come he has not attempted to destroy the APC, notwithstanding all we suspect is going on?
“How come Obafemi Awolowo did not do what they are doing with so much joy and happiness? I do not by any means mean PDP is perfect, but I certainly know that they are wrong once again and for the 6th time, for their reason are never for the interest of a better society.
“I pity those who are rejoicing at the addition that is really a catalyst to aid the implosion of their contraption,” Segun Showunmi said.
In Ogun State today, the Gov Abiodun camp is jubilating over the arrival of Daniel into the APC; the Osoba’s loyalists appear to be indifferent about this development, while Amosun’s supporters say “nothing has changed.”