Former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has explained why he supported the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorshop election in the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun as against the candidate of the African Democratic Party, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka.
Daniel spoke during a meeting wth him by his supporters over his resignation from active politics at his Asoludero residence Sagamu.
During the meeting which had in attendance hundreds of Daniel’s loyalists have rejected his decision to quit partisan politics and begged him to rather lead them to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Daniel, Director-General of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign, had few days to the last governorship election directed his supporters in the state to vote for Abiodun as against Isiaka or the candidate of the PDP, Prince Buruji Kashamu.
During the weekend, the 2-term governor also announced his decision to quit partisan politics as well as also resigned his membershop of the PDP.
But during the well attended meeting, his political followers said though they welcomed his resignation from PDP, they applealed to him to lead them to the APC, having worked for the party’s victory in the election that produced Abiodun.
Daniel, who served as governor between 2003 and 2011, said he had no regrets supporting Abiodun to succeed the out-going governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
“By the governorship election on Saturday, we have returned all of you into government which effectively means you are no longer in opposition. When the husband has known the wife, the intermediary would have to give way. I have done my bit, I have now set you free. You now have the licence to claim whatever party you like. If you want to remain in PDP, you are free. If you want to go to APC, I’ve now given you the political freedom.”, he stated.
Daniel, who confessed that he was initially faced with a dilemma as regards who to support during the governorship election, added that his political calculation made him to support Abiodun rather than Isiaka or Adekunle Akinlade, the preferred candidate of Amosun.
His words: “In the last few years, I have been battered. There is no name they didn’t call me simply because I am a politician. I came into politics accidentally, so you can call me accidental politician. However, a genuine need to awake the sleeping giant is what brought me into politics.
“Between 2011 to date, I have seen hell. Ordinarily, at the end of my tenure in 2011, I was ready to quit politics. Why didn’t I quit? Because you people (loyalists) won’t allow me as you are not allowing me now.
“The other brother that we had is GNI (Gboyega Nasir Isiaka). But unfortunately after the presidential election, the ADC as a party did not do well. The showing of ADC was very poor. We did our analysis. What was most important for us was: is it to install GNI or get out of opposition and install a government that is there?
“When we did our analysis, we discovered that if we supported GNI, he will not win that election. Should we support the cassava party (APM) that belongs to people that traumatized OGD? While that was on, Dapo Abiodun and APC people kept pleading with OGD that I should support him.
“After we considered all options, it was a most difficult decision. You know I was the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign. But they say all politics are local. To that extent, we took a decision and we supported Dapo Abiodun to win that election.”
After his remarks, his loyalists took turns to speak but disagreed with his submission to quit partisan politics, with former House of Representatives member, Kayode Amusan, applied what he described as legislative approach to whatever decision to be taken.
Daniel, who was the Director-General of Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign, had, at the weekend, announced his decision to quit partisan politics and also resigned his PDP membership.
The two-term federal lawmaker, who later took over the proceeding asked among those present, who wanted Daniel to remain in PDP to say “aye” but nobody said anything,.
However, when he asked if they wanted Daniel to go to APC, the audience roared in unison, shouting “aye.”
Daniel, who spoke with reporters after the meeting, said he would yield to the demands of his supporters. “This process is about leading people. What we have done today is to call all our people across the length and breadth of the state to subject our decision to a kind of plebiscite and of course, you have listened to what they have said.
“Basically, they said they agreed that I could resign from PDP; they said I must lead them to APC and they said I cannot retire from politics. That’s the summary of what I heard and then, we have to take a look at it”, he said