Gbenga Daniel

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Otunba Gbenga Daniel
OtumbaGbengaDaniel .jpg
Ogun State Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel (center), 28 September 2004
Governor of Ogun State
In office
29 May 2003 – May 2011
Preceded by Olusegun Osoba
Succeeded by Ibikunle Amosun
Personal details
Born (1956-04-06) 6 April 1956 (age 58)

Gbenga Daniel (born 6 April 1956) is a Nigerian politician,and Governor of Ogun State of Nigeria from 29 May 2003 to 29 May 2011 making him the longest serving governor of the State. He is a member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP). He is the owner of the Nigerian Compass, a daily newspaper.[1]

As governor, he has attracted heavy criticisms and commendations as well. He constructed the new government secretariat at Oke Mosan which brought all the state ministries together in one administrative complex. His programme on Public Private Partnership attracted several businesses into the State during his tenure. His administration was accused of several irregularities some of which he is still standing trial for, however, he is well commended by majority of the people of Ogun State who believe his government was people friendly.[2]

Background[edit]

Daniel was born on 6 April 1956 in the old City of Ibadan of the then Western Region. He attended the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta from 1969 to 1973, followed by studies at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, and the School of Engineering of the University of Lagos.[3] His decision to study engineering was influenced by the brilliant engineer and teacher Ayodele Awojobi. Daniel spent much time with Awojobi, and was a winner of his television quiz show "Mastermind".[4]

His Professional and Business career[edit]

Daniel became a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. He taught briefly as a lecturer in the School of Engineering of Lagos State Polytechnic. In 1983, he obtained a job with Schroeder (W.A.) Limited, Lagos, rising to Deputy managing director becoming the first African to hold that position in the history of the company. He left Schroeder to start his own business. In 1990 he founded Kresta Laurel, an engineering firm specialising in elevators, overhead travelling cranes and hoists.[3]

Campaign for the Office of the Governor[edit]

Gbenga Daniel's campaign for the seat of the governor has been described by political analyst as "electric" considering the fact that as a business man, he defeated a sitting governor. His campaign was a revolution in the state in 2003 as he visited all the 236 wards of Ogun State, meeting with every stakeholder of every streets and area in the state to sell his ideas. Some faulted his campaign strategy as being desperate while other schools of thoughts strongly opined that it is the ideal thing for politicians to get close to the people.[5]

Governor of Ogun State[edit]

Daniel was elected governor of Ogun State in April 2003, running on the PDP platform beating the incumbent with 217, 353 votes. His victory remains the biggest electoral victory in Ogun state. He scored 449, 335 votes against the sitting governor who scored 231, 982 votes recording the widest margin ever in Ogun state governorship race.[5]

He acquired the chiefly title Otunba of the Egba and Ijebu clans of the state during the course of his first term.[6] He was re-elected in April 2007. His April 2007 election was disputed by rival candidate Ibikunle Amosun of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), but in August 2009 the Ogun State Election Petitions Tribunal dismissed the petition.[5]

His Challenges in Office[edit]

Considering the political dynamism of Ogun State of Nigeria being the home state of geniuses of Nigeria, there were diverse intellectual battles going on between the Gbenga Daniel and the opposition parties. This created an interesting environment in the state as young people were engaged heavily on massive discussions on the issues going on in the state.

In August 2006, the website Elundu Reports published what it claimed to be evidence that Daniel had obtained two houses in London after being sworn in as Governor.[7]

In June 2009 he drew criticism for his proposal to float a N60bn bond for commercial developmental projects in the state, which was said to be contrary to his stated principles about the Public – Private Partnership (PPP).[8] In December 2008, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote a letter to Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro saying that Gbenga Daniel was after her life and calling for police action.[9]

In July 2009, a scandal blew up with the publication in the Nigerian Compass of a photograph that allegedly showed Wale Alausa, a member of the state House of Assembly, taking a blood oath which the paper said was to ensure secrecy and unity of purpose in a bid to impeach Daniel. The Nigerian Compass is owned by Gbenga Daniel. Alausa said the pictures were real, but the blood oath was an oath of allegiance to Daniel, which he had taken at the governor's insistence.[10]

His Trademark as Governor[edit]

Daniel's trademark is bittersweet for as he is loved by some, he is strongly hated by some others. Generally, Daniel's government was youth friendly. He was deeply into community works. His administration will be remembered as a direct labour administration; giving the jobs of developing the state to the people living in the state. He promoted entrepreneurship amongst young people through voracious youth development programmes. The Nigerian Youth Council of the state was massively empowered to help youths all over the state and many young people were appointed into notable political positions. Some of his other achievements while in office include building roads, recreational centres and stadiums in the three senatorial districts of the state, and setting up a University of Education.[11] The Gateway International Stadium was a site of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup which was held in Nigeria.[12]

In February 2009, Daniel authorised reduction of fees at the State-owned Moshood Abiola Polytechnic to N7,000. This followed negotiations with the National Association of Nigerian Students after parents and students had protested recent increases to fees.[13]

Allegations and Trial after handing over[edit]

On Wednesday, 12 October 2011, Gbenga Daniel was first arraigned by the EFCC (The nation's anti graft agency) on a 13 count charges claiming that 58 billion naira was involved. Justice Olarenwaju Mabekoje stroked out the charges and released Daniel on technical basis saying that the charges were not supported with factual documents. The Justice however advised that they should reapply after they must have done their home work well.[14]

The EFCC claimed that they would not relent on their effort to get him tried and that he was not discharged but released on technical basis since their findings were not deeply rooted with facts. By the time EFCC finished their re application for trial process, the count charges had increased but the huge 58 billion naira had been reduced to 200 million naira. This raised the eyebrows of the people considering the fact that Gbenga Daniel was a wealthy business man before becoming governor of the state and now he is been tried for such ridiculous amount.

This became a laughing matter as many Nigerians began to suspect that there must be a political foul play somewhere against the former Governor who have scored high for his 8 years administration based on people's opinions most especially the civil servants who constitutes the largest number of people living in the state[15]

After EFCC reapplied, Daniel was again arraigned on Monday 16 April 2012 by the EFCC on a 38 count charge which borders on misappropriation of fund amounting to over N200 million, criminal breach of trust and abuse of office while he held sway as governor of Ogun State. He was however granted bail and the trial has since commenced. [16]

The trial is still on in the court of Law with Gbenga Daniel having the upper hand as most of the allegations have not been backed with credible and strong facts and documents. The trial has experienced several adjournments with people getting tired of where it is leading to.

Life After Handing Over[edit]

Gbenga Daniel went back to his company Krestal Laurel and has since continued funding youth development initiatives within Ogun State. He founded The Political Academy; an Academy he has used to train thousands of youth teaching them about the history of the country and political process. As a result, many youths in Ogun State have become highly politically aware and interested in politics.

He has been enjoying massive support from the youths of the state. Many of which are clamouring that his trial be dropped. In a recent development, some youths came together and formed a network of young historians of Nigeria to set the right records about important historical happenings in Nigeria. The project was given the name Project Correct. They have been clamouring for the right stories to be told about Gbenga Daniel claiming that he is a good political leader who deserves honour and not trial.

Recent Political Activities[edit]

Gbenga Daniel returned to active politics with a shock as he dumped his party PDP and joined the Labour Party. His reason for joining Labour Party was to build a platform that will serve as a proper check mate for any irregularities in governance of the State. Many people in the PDP frowned at this but the masses joined him to follow the Party. Labour Party became the most dominant opposition party in the state taking over from the PDP. Series of community visits started as Daniel led campaign rallies to various towns in Ogun State towards the 2015 election.[17]

Within months, Labour Party had become the party to beat in the state and it was believed that Gbenga Daniel was back to political prominence. The political atmosphere in Ogun State went ecstatic as every political party sat up. Series of politicking started all over the state, Ogun State politics became the talk of the whole nation. Everywhere he went for rally, mammoth crowd always gather to declare their support. It was becoming glaring that Labour Party might win the election for 2015. While skeptic analysis said it was an act of desperation for him to have left PDP for Labour Party but majority of the people of Ogun State didn't care, they started declaring their support for him. He became the voice of the masses speaking against unhealthy projects of the state government.

It became a national news when the capital city of Ogun State known as Abeokuta was full of many thousands of people to attend the commissioning of the Party Secreatariat, a building donated to the Party by Gbenga Daniel.[18]

His Return to PDP[edit]

After much deliberations and reconciliation meetings orchestrated by the National Leadership of PDP, Gbenga Daniel returned to PDP in October, 2014. He also declared his intention to run for the Senate which became a heavy news all over the State. He came back to PDP with massive supporters from the Labour Party which became a big boost for the PDP.[19]


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ogunbayo, Modupe (5 July 2009). "Oath-Taking Controversy in Ogun". Newswatch Magazine (Lagos). Newswatch Communications Limited. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Gbenro, Adebanjo (1 July 2009). "OGUN NEW SECRETARIAT EXTENSION: ANOTHER TESTIMONY OF GOOD GOVERNANCE". News Diary(Lagos). News Diary Online. Retrieved 18 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Governor Olugbenga Daniel of Ogun State". Nigeria Governors Forum. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  4. ^ YINKA OLUJIMI, YEMI OGUNSOLA AND MUYIWA ADEYEMI (24 May 2003). "'I Disobeyed My Father To Go into Politics'". Guardian. Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Olasakomi Akoni (8 May 2003). "Ogun Gubernatorial election: Gbenga Daniel’s journey to victory". Vanguard Online News. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Ayomide Giwa (10 April 2014). "OGD: The Human Dynamo @ 58". Metro News. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Jonathan Elendu (26 August 2006). "Registry documents of Gbenga Daniel's homes". Elendu Reports. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Shola Oyeyipo (29 June 2009). "Opposition Fault Daniel Over N60bn Bond". Times of Nigeria. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  9. ^ Ise-Oluwa Ige (6 December 2008). "Gbenga Daniel After My Life, Iyabo Obasanjo Cries Out". Vanguard. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Modupe Ogunbayo (5 July 2009). "Oath-Taking Controversy in Ogun". Newswatch. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  11. ^ REMI ADEFULU (26 August 2009). "Daniel focused, undistracted by feud". Daily Sun. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  12. ^ ADEGBENRO ADEBANJO (24 November 2009). "Diplomacy, sports and Ogun State". Daily Sun. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  13. ^ Ademola Oni (10 February 2009). "Moshood Abiola Poly slashes school fees.". The Punch. Retrieved 3 March 2010. [dead link]
  14. ^ http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/news/86757/1/efccs-grand-inanity-against-daniel.html
  15. ^ http://www.thenigerianvoice.com/news/86757/1/efccs-grand-inanity-against-daniel.html
  16. ^ http://saharareporters.com/news-page/efcc-release-gbenga-daniel-arraigned-granted-bail-under-stringent-conditions
  17. ^ Fejiro Oliver (5 Saturday, 17 May 2014). "Gbenga Daniel Officially Dumps PDP for LP, vows to deliver state to Jonathan". Elombah. Retrieved 22 December 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ Kunle Alli (5 Saturday, 02, June 2014). "Day Abeokuta quaked for Labour Party". Nigerian Tribune. Retrieved 22 December 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  19. ^ Micheal Abimboye (5 October 8, 2014). "Ex-Ogun Gov., Gbenga Daniel, returns to PDP". Premium Times. Retrieved 22 December 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)