BY LEKE ADESERI, South West Regional Editor & DAPO AKINREFON
Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, weekend, reviewed activities of the government he has led for about eight years. Speaking frankly to a group of stakeholders in his Asoludero Court country home in Sagamu, he assessed the way things are going in the Gateway state especially the crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He dropped bombshells. Sampler: At the build up to the crisis, people did not know that Obasanjo had a direct hand in what was going on in Ogun State. Even when we saw his hand, we pretended as if we did not see it.
We did not want people to drag the name of the old man into it, but I think for the benefit of hindsight, from what we have seen lately, I think we can confirm and conclude without mincing words that there is one person who is at the center of a large chunk of the political crisis we have witnessed in Ogun State, in the last ten years – that is Obasanjo. Excerpts:
Specially, we have had challenges in Ogun State- what I call challenges of right and wrong, but people will say right and wrong is a perception of individuals.
Those are the things that we found difficult to live with. There are characters that we try to treat nicely. Now, I understand the meaning of keeping official secrets for ten years because certain things I have seen and known I cannot say because, if I say them, it would create more problems for the polity. And so, maturely, I have to swallow some of these things.
Obasanjo, cause of Ogun crisis
At the build up to the crisis, people did not know that Obasanjo had a direct hand in what was going on in Ogun State. Even when we saw his hand, we pretended as if we did not see it.
We did not want people to drag the name of the old man into it, but I think from the benefit of hindsight, from what we have seen lately, I think we can confirm and conclude without mincing words that a large chunk of the political crisis we have witnessed in Ogun State, in the last ten years, there is one person who is at the center of it all and that is Obasanjo.
I’m still at a loss of what the problem is? I still do not know what exactly I have done or have not done since he (Obasanjo) has not told me till now, despite all the re-union and meetings we have had. He has to come and tell the world to say what the problem really is; then he has to give me the chance to tell my side of the story.
It is not that we did not know that Obasanjo is a peculiar character We thought that we were managing him properly, but I guess when he came back home, and there was not much to do nationally, he focused himself on Ogun State.
He then created, what you can call a centre of opposition; and he was available for everybody and anybody who had anything to say. I asked him what if somebody comes to report me (Daniel) to you (Obasanjo) as chairman of the PDP BOT. My expectation would be that you call me and say “governor, where are you?
Meet me at the Hilltop to respond to what somebody has said about you or you make correction”. It is part of the system and there is nothing absolutely wrong about it.
But I did not get that opportunity; instead what I got was for him to create an opposition and that is what I have been made to manage for years.
We managed it to the extent that, eight years later, I’m particularly proud that there has not been a break down of law and order in Ogun State, despite all the forces against us. We have not had a situation where 147 vehicles were burnt, where somebody was killed or burnt alive. It has not happened in Ogun State. Despite all the verbal warfare that you see, I don’t want to tell you what went into that, but let us give God thanks.
I’m hoping we have this election; it will come and go and after these challenges, one can boldly say one was been able to steer the ship for eight years without it not breaking down.
As those intrigues were going on – some of them are tribal– but there are a lot of things Obasanjo has to tell the whole world. If he (Obasanjo) does, then I will open up.
Petition to EFCC
I heard he has written a petition to the EFCC, and we have challenged EFCC to come forward with that petition, but they have not. If Obasanjo feels strong enough to write a petition against a sitting governor, if he is not a coward, he should be able to copy that governor to say: ‘I have written a petition against you and this is a copy of the petition’.
I can only believe or assume that it is not true. One newspaper reported it and no other paper said anything about it, but because it was speculative and we heard it in the media, we felt for whatever it is worth, let the Attorney General write to the EFCC so that the copy of the petition can come out.
While we are still in government, we can dig out the facts because it is in the public court. It should be brought out for the world to see. As I speak with you, it is still in the speculative and that was why I challenge anybody who had any information about any missing dime of Ogun State to say so publicly.
Fraud is fraud and if something has gone wrong, it has gone wrong. What we run in Ogun State, is completely open. I think this is part of the deliberate ploy, because most of the time, what people want to believe about public deterrents is the negative.
I don’t want to walk on the street and someone will accuse me of something I know nothing of, because someone has written a petition which he is not bold enough to bring forward.
If it’s about the soul of Ogun State, we had a process. In all these, I have faced the opposition for about five to six years, fair enough and in all that, we kept doing our work.
This is the beauty of democracy; that even if there are issues, you can battle it. The next judgment day for politicians is election day and part of what I have always maintained is that there can’t be two parallel primaries.
It is so unfortunate but if that is what it is all about, there were no two primaries in Ogun State. Somehow, the thing crept into the lexicon of the media, they now started hammering that there were two primaries. There were no two primaries in Ogun State. Each party has its own rules and regulations, the party like ACN did not do elaborate primaries, that is their system and style and nobody quarrels about it.
Everybody knows that in terms of primaries, PDP is very strict about it and quite articulate in the way they conduct their primaries. If you can give me, for instance, the delegates list which was used for the presidential primaries, the Ogun State primaries was conducted by people from Abuja.
The delegates are not just people you bring from the market and ask them to come and vote at the primaries, we need to educate our people with facts of what is happening in Ogun State.
Two kinds of delegates
There are two types of delegates: you can be a delegate by two means. What they call statutory delegate and the delegate who emerged through elections. Those are the delegates who emerge through elections. Those are the two types of delegates.
The statutory delegates include the President, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, all National Assembly members, the Governor, his deputy and so on and so forth. They are statutory delegates. The other additional delegates were the ones created by the party and it is three per ward, they have to emerge by elections.
So, we know the statutory delegates, they were there by virtue of their position. The other three delegates did not emerge through an election; the very first election that was conducted was the delegates’ election.
A team came from Abuja and they conducted elections for three delegates per ward. So, the delegates’ list for Ogun State was therefore the completion of those statutory delegates and a booklet for the list was printed.
When it was time for senatorial and gubernatorial elections, Abuja constituted the committee.
There were no Yoruba in that committee sent from Abuja, as you are aware, the person that conducted the governorship election is Col. Abdul Mummuni (rtd). I don’t know most of them that came here. The only thing we had to do was to provide location and security, and we did not provide any obscure location.
MKO Abiola Stadium was the location. The SSS was there, the Police and INEC officials were also there. They came with their delegate list from Abuja and admitted the delegates into the arena one by one. The election was conducted openly without any issue whatsoever. The only thing is that we did not have enough money to air it live, but at least the local television covered it and we have it.
The candidates emerged. After the candidates had emerged, some other people now went somewhere else and said they have conducted an election which nobody has any visual of. There were no SSS, no policemen, no INEC, no national representative from Abuja present and they then provided a parallel list..
The people who conducted the elections here, went back to Abuja with the result of the elections that they conducted. The Abuja office of the PDP dutifully submitted the list to INEC and said that is the list. We thought that is the first stage of the moving forward in Ogun State.
Let me say that the injunction was obtained by somebody called Kashamu. The day I asked the Director of the State Security whether he had heard the name Kashamu, he said ‘yes’, that he has about seven different names in their security records. That is my SSS director for Ogun State.
It is not that they do not know the person or what he stands for; and if they have seven different names, I think that speaks volume and that is why I am finding it difficult to understand. It is actually Kashamu that went to get the injunction. What we were told was that Baba (Obasanjo) just told him (Kasamu) that ‘I’m interested in Olurin to be the next governor and Iyabo to be Senator for Ogun Central, any other thing that you want, you can have it’.
Kasamu then wrote the names of all those he wanted on the PDP list and gave it to Kafarati; Justice Kanfarati gave his judgment and said that is the list for the PDP in Ogun State. All of a sudden, Tunde Oladunjoye became deputy governorship candidate.
He still stands indicted of the Justice Shomolu Committee. There is a white paper to that effect.
Kuye’s best political hand is a Senator Lekan Mustapha. He couldn’t get any room in Kashamu’s list. Senator Mustapha is now flying the banner of Labor Party.
All the people that were Baba’s coalition of the opposition against OGD in Ogun State – a large number of them– have moved to other parties.
Awosedo is flying the Labour party flag; Akinlade is with the ACN, Remi Hassan, the former Deputy Speaker is flying the ACN flag; Tokunbo Oshin is flying the Labour flag and so and so forth. Those were the coalition that Baba built up to fight OGD. In my Senatorial district, I won my own primaries, and the rest is history.
Kashamu is somebody I don’t even know, not to talk of meeting him face to face. I have been governor for eight years. So, beyond Iyabo and Olurin, I don’t know of anybody who is in that original list, but later on, Kashamu started playing his card. He now started changing the list.
I was told, for instance, that Hon. Amusan, who originally wanted to contest for senate during the authentic primaries, has found his way into the Kashamu list now. We were told that Kashamu charged him (Amusan) N100 million.
I have confirmation of when he (Amusan) paid a deposit of N30 million, that one I know of, but I was told that he finally had to pay N100 million to get that ticket. My own man representing Shagamu, was said to have paid N100 million to the kingpin they call Kashamu.
I am told that for the level of House of Assembly, depending on the capacity of your pocket, you pay between N10 to N25 million to get the ticket.
It has become something that is regrettable apart from the monetary aspect of it, it has become a game. While that one lasted, for consistency, I began working for Jonathan. I stayed in the PDP, the people got annoyed, they moved to PPN.
Of course, I encouraged them at the beginning but later discouraged them because I felt there was need to get the bigger process to a logical conclusion.
Since our lawyers had gone to court and assured us that except something fundamentally goes wrong, this is a straight forward case. Whatever injunction that Kafarati gave, they assured us that he would the judge would reverse himself.
We had four SANs. Lateef Fagbemi was the one who led the team of lawyers and they were just saying we had a good case. But, lo and behold, they went to court and Kafarati re-confirmed his order based on even much more spurious decisions.
I waited in the PDP because the president spoke nicely. I now said alright, if you can make an offer, I can then go and talk to the people to come back to the PDP.
No offer came and it just appeared that they were just waiting for the deadline instead of the offer. Rather than make an offer to the people, who have been wronged, no offer came; instead all manner of games were being played so much so that there was really no basis to remain in the party. That is the PPN story.