By Daud Olatunji
After taking the Ogun State political landscape by storm for eight years, and sustaining himself as a force for another eight years after leaving office as governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel’s latest political body movement is an enchanting spectacle to some.
For some seven years, after he left office, Otunba Daniel laid low until 2017 when he made an abortive move for the office of national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He later got an offer as Director- General of Atiku Campaign Organisation, a job he did successfully helping the former vice-president to win the PDP presidential ticket.
However, Daniel’s effort to install Gboyega Isiaka as his chosen successor when he left office as governor in 2011 had been unsuccessful.
The crisis in the party at that time had forced him to direct his supporters to move to the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN to realise the plot which, however, derailed with the emergence of Senator Ibikunle Amosun as governor on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
In 2015, Daniel again tried his luck with Labour Party, but upon persuasions from President Goodluck Jonathan, he returned to the PDP.
The crisis in the Ogun State chapter of the PDP prior to the 2019 election was, however, a no winner for him and his supporters.
The emergence of Senator Kashamu Buruji as the governorship candidate of the party put the mainstream of the party away.
Daniel had in a shocking development to outsiders teamed up with the APC governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun against the desire of his former friend turned foe, Amosun who was backing Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied People’s Movement, APM.
Indeed, just as Amosun helped to ensure that Daniel was not able to put his chosen successor, Isiaka as his successor, Daniel also paid Amosun back by working to ensure that the outgoing governor was denied the opportunity of placing Akinlade as his successor.
Undoubtedly, the about 19,000 difference between Abiodun who was supported by Daniel and Akinlade, the candidate backed by Amosun was in the consideration of supporters of Daniel their handiwork.
Daniel had directed his supporters across the state including the former Director-General of Ladi Adebutu campaign Organisation, Waliu Taiwo to back Abiodun,
Daniel had announced his resignation from partisan politics and declared his intention to focus on running his charity organisation: Gateway Front Foundation.
But, barely twenty-four hours after his resignation from partisan politics was made public, hundreds of his political supporters met with him to rescind the decision.
Daniel’s supporters who converged on his “Asoludero” private residence in Sagamu GRA prevailed on him to lead them to the APC, instead of abandoning them into what they called the political wilderness.
It was as such not a surprise that Daniel’s supporters when they met him last Sunday, urged him to lead them to the ruling party.
But against the background of the assertion by Daniel a day earlier that he was quitting partisan politics, the development was considered by some as another act of subterfuge by a politician.
Daniel at the meeting said he quit politics believing that the ovation was loudest for him at that point.
According to Daniel, his decision to direct his supporters two days to the election to work for APC candidate in the state was borne out of wide consultations with people.
Some have also said that Daniel’s move against Amosun was also in part to help him recover a property belonging to him seized by the Amosun administration.
In arriving at a final resolution, one of the leaders in the camp led members of the OGD Political Family in a voice vote where they all resolved to collectively join APC.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the meeting, Daniel said “basically, they said I could resign from PDP.
“They said I must lead them to APC and also said I can not retire from politics, that is the summary of what I heard.”
The body movement inclining towards the APC has, however, not been well received outside the state.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation was among those to have kicked against the move describing it as irony.
“For the first Director General of Atiku’s Presidential Campaign Organisation and his closest confidante in the South West to dump the PDP and join the APC even before the conclusion of Atiku’s election petition, is sad,” the former minister said in a post on twitter.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan is also among those who are believed to have also kicked against Daniel’s apparent move.
Yesterday it emerged that Daniel may have at least for now reversed whatever plans that may have been afoot towards joining the APC.
In a post on twitter, the penultimate governor of Ogun State said that the meeting with his supporters did not affect his resignation from partisan politics.
I listened carefully to them and I permitted them to join any political party of their choice since I have become non partisan. I did not agree to lead them to APC. Accurate reporting without ambiguities is desired. Thanks
For now until he beats the drum again, Daniel’s apparently wants to stay away from the show.