By Balogun Ibrahim
The tenure of former Governor Gbenga Daniel was marked by controversy, polarizing policies, and a deeply divided Ogun State. However, even after leaving office, Daniel continues to be the centre of attention, with a political vendetta seemingly targeting him. One can not deny the significant partisan divide that exists in Ogun politics today, and the Daniel Senatorial candidacy intensified this divide. Supporters viewed Daniel as a champion of their values, while critics saw him as a threat to democracy.
As a result, the political landscape has become increasingly hostile, leading to ongoing investigations and legal battles involving Daniel about the demolition of her wife’s plaza at Folagbade Street, Ijebu-Ode. Since his departure from the Oke-Mosan, on May 29, 2011, former Gov. Daniel has faced several investigations and legal challenges. These include investigations into his personal finances, business dealings, and potential obstruction of justice during his office. Critics argue that these investigations are politically motivated, aimed at punishing Daniel for his political actions rather than for any genuine legal concerns.
Perhaps the most prominent example of the political vendetta against Gbenga Daniel was the corruption allegation levelled against him for good eight years proceedings he faced during the former state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s administration which ended up in futile and Gbenga Daniel was eventually vindicated in all the allegations levelled against him at the Court of Appeal, before he contested for the Senatorial seat of Ogun East and won without challenging his victory at the tribunal nor at any court of law in the country.
Daniel was traumatized, molested and treated with disdain by Amosun’s administration of eight years, despite the fact that they were grown up with the incumbent governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun which ordered the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to partially destroyed Daniel’s wife plaza at Ijebu-Ode according to the Permanent Secretary of that Ministry, Mr. Olayiwola Abiodun which has nothing less than three to four months to bow out and retire from service of the Ogun state government.
In both instances, the charges were related to his alleged abuse of power and incitement of the thugs and louts during his administration as the Ogun State Governor. Critics argue that these impeachment proceedings were driven more by political motivations than by a genuine desire for accountability. Another aspect of the alleged political vendetta against Gbenga Daniel involves selective prosecution. Critics argue that Daniel’s political opponents are selectively targeting him while turning a blind eye to similar actions committed by other politicians. They claim that this selective prosecution undermines the principles of justice and equality before the law. The role of the media in fueling the alleged political vendetta against Daniel can not be overlooked.
The media landscape is highly polarized, with news outlets catering to specific ideological leanings. Critics argue that some media organizations have actively contributed to the vilification of Daniel, with hiring media gurus to criticise, blackmail, maim, disgrace and perpetuating narratives that paint him as an enemy of the people. This biased media coverage may have influenced public opinion and the perception of Daniel’s alleged wrongdoing.
Indeed, the governor hired the service of thugs and louts to destroy Daniel’s wife plaza at Folagbade Street in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area of the state at the mid-night, led by Titilayo Akibu (Efele) which came to Oke-Mosan for the reimbursement of his service on Friday, 8th September, 2023. It should be recalled that these are the three jolly friends as I said above, which had the opportunity to rule the state according to their age wise. But, unfortunately for them to now turned out to a sworn enemies. Why hiring thugs to destroy a fellow human’s property at the detriment of playing politics.
The political vendetta against former Governor Gbenga Daniel remains a topic of intense debate. While some argue that the investigations and legal challenges he faces are necessary for upholding accountability and the rule of law, others believe these actions are driven by political motivations. It is important to remember that a fair and impartial justice system is vital for a thriving democracy.
If not a political vendetta and differences between Daniel and Abiodun, he would at first place ordered the destruction of plaza without resolving it amicably, as somebodies who came from same political region. According to the DATKEM enterprises limited, it was said that the plaza applied to construct an office complex located along Ibadan Road, Ijebu-Ode, in 2009 with registration number CB/05/299/2009. And the proposal was for five (5) floors with an airpaace of three at the left, and five metres at the rear, and a setback of 32.5516 metres to the middle of Ijebu-Ode/Ibadan Road, Ijebu-Ode.
Indeed, if the government of the day knows what they were doing, partial destruction of the plaza by thugs could not be the solution but it could have man some security operatives at the gate of the plaza after ordering them to stop work and refused. I could remember vividly what Senator Ibikunle Amosun’s administration did to Conference Hotel at Oke-Mosan, they manned police men at the gate for good some years, which some valuable items was also catted away by some unknown robbers, despite the fact that the men of the police forces were there.
Though, the PS of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, a Pastor and gentleman, Mr. Olayiwola Abiodun, said that several efforts made by the state government to halt further development on site were ignored by the developers. He also argued that its officials had requested for the structural engineer in charge of the building to assess the structural equilibrium of the building, but a request that was ignored. He also challenged the owner of the structure to produce evidence of government approval in their possession. By and large, such as mighty plaza could not be under construction without government approval which I disagreed with.
Now, they put the PS of that Ministry at the middle of their fracas and political misdemeanours, this issue is even beyond any PS of any Ministries, Agencies and Departments. Though, those Permanent Secretaries were also feeding fat at the instant of the government in saddle. They were feeding fat and now time for the PS Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to be pushing around like ‘Barbing Chair’. It is the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Tokunbo Talabi in better position to address such a complex issue like this or the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor in person of Lekan Adeniran, so as to clear and unveil what happened to the plaza, not a gentleman, Pastor Olayiwola Abiodun.
Now that the legal proceedings has aontinued to PAGE Law, which is a legal firm representing Mrs. Olufunke Daniel over the demolition or partial destruction of the said complex. The Daniel, while speaking through his lawyer in a statement titled “Vandalisation/Demolition/Executive Recklessness of Ogun state”, said that agents of the state government did it in violation of court order.
It is crucial to ensure that any actions, inactions taken against Daniel are based on political vendetta rather than ordinary issue or political biases. This is the governor, Dapo Abiodun that alleged Daniel that he and his coherent refused to vote for him at the last elections in the state. It is now time for them to bury their differences for the state to excel among the comity of states. Moreover, only then can the state move forward and begin to heal the deep divisions that have arisen during the Daniel, Amosun and Abiodun’s era.
Ibrahim, a political affairs analyst, poet, writes in from Church Street, Ketu, Alapere, Lagos State.