OGD/Adebutu’s romantic honeymoon will soon be over, By Olufemi Ezekiel
The Ogun State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the just concluded general elections, Oladipupo Adebutu, and his secret ally, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, have been so much engrossed in their honeymoon that they seem to have forgotten that post-nuptial vacation doesn’t last forever. It doesn’t last beyond one-moon cycle at most. Derived from Scandinavian tradition, a honeymoon is a romantic stage in the early part of a couple’s relationship marked with lots of laughs, intimacy, and fun dates. A relationship devoid of a honeymoon is like a birthday without the cake.
In the eye of the public, the relationship between Daniel and his partner, Adebutu, in alliance for profane power had such a smooth beginning that one could liken it to a honeymoon. But it will surely get over soon because the challenge will be in keeping up with the terms and conditions attached to it. For so long as they want, they can continue to enjoy the convivial relationship. As the moon wanes, so shall their newfound alliance.
The alliance is a case of the unpatriotic courting the unreliable political desperado. The two of them represent all that is wrong in politics. For Daniel, his latest exploit is a sad reminder of the eight-year tenure of his administration as governor when Ogun State suddenly became the hotbed of politics in the Southwest for the wrong reasons. He, it was, who introduced the despicable practice of secret blood oath-taking into governance in a desperate bid to sustain his spell on the political firmament in the state.
We cannot forget in a hurry how his inglorious reign, his financial recklessness, and the attendant political brouhaha between the legislature and the executive plunged the state into an avoidable crisis for nearly two years to the end of his administration. For the memory refresh, the G-15 lawmakers had opposed Daniel’s request for N100 billion loans at the twilight of his administration on the ground that all the projects the government intended to execute with the bond had either been accommodated in the 2010 budget or partly executed through the federal allocation and Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR). It was also further alleged that the earlier loans the state government had obtained were not approved by the State House of Assembly contrary to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regulations stipulating that all irrevocable standing payment orders (ISPOs) should get the approval of the House before the state could access such loans. To fulfill all righteousness, the then Speaker of the State Assembly, Tunji Egbetokun, subsequently insisted that there must be a public debate with the Executive on the N100 billion Bond being proposed by the government.
The ensuing crisis that followed is already a familiar story and needs not be retold here. However, things took a dramatic turn when some 11 rascals among the legislators staged a coup against Egbetokun-led G-15, leading to the emergence of Soyemi Coker as the new Speaker, while 14 others were placed on suspension.
Amidst the public outrage, another bombshell fell. The defunct Compass Newspaper owned by Daniel, in what appeared to be a counter-offensive against the G15 recalcitrant lawmakers, published a startling story of how Hon Wale Alausa, who represented Ijebu-Ode Constituency in the State House of Assembly, was caught naked on camera taking a blood oath. Though Alausa confessed that the photographs published by Compass were genuine, he said they were taken in 2007 inside Daniel’s Sagamu mansion when he was forced to take an oath before he could get the PDP ticket to contest the state House of Assembly. The rest is history!
This is just one example of irrationalities that characterized the eight-year tenure of former governor Daniel. There are other legions of reasons he would forever be remembered for the misrule and total maladministration of the state. By condescending to the disdainful secret oath-taking saga, he did not only betray the people’s trust but also hurt the sensibility of all sons and daughters of Ogun State for the embarrassment and distressing experience of watching the state’s descent into anarchy.
Up till date, the ghost of that infamy has continued to dog his footsteps and will continue to do so till thy kingdom comes. He knew he could not on his own face the electorate to ask for their mandate, that was why he sought refuge in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, leveraging on the goodwill of Governor Dapo Abiodun to contest Ogun East Senatorial seat, having earlier told the world that he was taking a final bow out of politics.
Unfortunately, it is that same bad reputation that he brought on board while joining the APC in 2021. Politics of deceit runs in his blood. As far as Ogun politics is concerned, the name OGD is synonymous with betrayal, bad governance, and executive recklessness. It was on account of all these that he fell out of favour with former President Olusegun Obasanjo on whose crest he rode to power in 2003. In the build-up to the 2011 general elections, the face-off between the two of them over the politics of his successor literally turned into an open war.
Now, his presence in APC is for nothing other than a re-enactment of the old politics of bitter rivalry, acrimony, and mindless treachery, traitorous and snaky subversion of people’s collective wish.
In his latest adventure into the power game, he said he was returning to politics after 20 years of being on sabbatical, or do I say, political irrelevance “because many things in our national and state polity that will address the economic health of our state and welfare of our citizens” require urgent attention.
That sounds great, right? But let’s ask some questions. First, what was the status of the state’s economy while he held sway as the governor for eight years? Two, how peaceful and calm was the political atmosphere then, when executive rascality was the order of the day? How much did the citizens fare under his watch? And how urgent is the urgency of his so-called development agenda that he is taking to the Senate? Where is the interest of the state in all of these for someone who has found a willing tool in Adebutu to promote disaffection in the state for a narrow self-preservation motive?
For the first time in our recent political history in Ogun State, Adebutu brought thuggery into the election contest. He wanted to set the State ablaze with street protests because he did not win an election. The recent sad incident of Emmanuel Adeniran, a member of staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who was lynched to death during the March 18 gubernatorial election, brings to memory the alien culture of election violence that is unknown to the good people of Ogun State.
Yet, Adebutu threw caution into the wind while on a condolence visit to the family of the deceased, accusing supporters of APC of killing Adeniran. Tongue in the chic, he said the ad hoc staff of the electoral umpire was murdered for refusing to rig during the March 18 governorship election.
Earlier to that dastardly act, a police corporal identified as Sunday Idoko had also been shot dead by unknown gunmen while escorting election results from Ipokia to the Ilaro collation centre on February 24, 2019. Ipokia Local Government is the home of Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, who was the running mate to Adebutu in the governorship election.
Without mincing words, the gruesome murder of Adeniran and the deceased police officer is painful, wicked, and condemnable. But the hasty manner with which Adebutu was pointing the accusing fingers has shown to the world that he is afraid of his shadow. He probably has something up his sleeve, otherwise, he should have allowed the police to carry out their investigation and make the report public before jumping the gun. His reckless statement is too presumptuous and hypocritical. It smacks of a travesty of justice.
Interestingly, while all this was going on, Daniel was there watching, maintaining a conspiracy of silence. History with all its alienating necessities will judge each individual for the role played in the current trend of violence that has enveloped the state.
As they say, it is more humane to proceed from the known to the unknown. Knowing where is coming from, Daniel symbolishes all that is wrong in politics. To him, politics is all about raw, profane power; it is about the crude acquisition of influence.
For the role he played in this governorship election, he is already a lost member of APC. And the earlier the leadership keeps him at an arms’ length the better for enduring peace in the party. On this note, it is imperative for the elders to listen to the advice of the National Youth League of the APC which has called for his immediate suspension for his anti-party activities.
The group in its letter entitled “Need to Sanction Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator-Elect, Ogun East Senatorial District of Ogun State”, jointly signed by Fayomi Yunus and Abbas Olanrewaju Ismail, the State Coordinator and State Secretary of the League, respectively, urged the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to decide the appropriate action against Daniel as stipulated by the party’s constitution with regard to such anti-party tendencies.
The statement reads in part: “It is no more news that Otunba Gbenga Daniel consciously collapsed the remnant of his political structure for Ladi Adebutu and worked against the APC that gave him a ticket and also sponsored his election.
“It is now obvious that the original notion behind the defection of Governor Gbenga Daniel into APC in 2021 was to deceptively secure the ticket of our party having realized the PDP was no more popular in his domain and could not win any credible election, then to later serve as a mole to destroy our party to the advantage of his original party, the PDP.
“It is against this backdrop that we call on the national leadership of our great party to demand an immediate suspension of Otunba Gbenga Daniel from our party, the APC, and strip him of every privilege of membership.
“We also demand that the national leadership should ask Otunba Gbenga Daniel to refund every kobo he got from the party to prosecute his election and further decide the appropriate action against him as stipulated by our constitution with regard to such anti-party tendencies.
“It was utterly strange that Otunba Gbenga Daniel could go that low to have compromised the sanctity of party loyalty and solidarity, by forming an unholy alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party, his supposed former party to stop the re-election of Governor Dapo Abiodun.”
For the purpose of peace and stability, these allegations require urgent attention from the party elders for a review of the activities of OGD and recommend the appropriate sanction because a leper cannot change its dark spots.
As for Adebutu, who is still nursing the wound of his defeat in the governorship election, it is now obvious that he is still in shock over the outcome of the election. In one of his recent outbursts, he took his occasional eccentric utterances to a ridiculous level, raising the alarm that he might be killed for challenging the results of the election. What a laughable idea!
As Oladunjoye rightly advised, “All the resort to red herrings, cheap blackmail, and futile propaganda will not help him achieve what he could not achieve through the ballot even with documented inducements and several breaches of the Electoral Act.”
As far as this season of election is concerned, the winners have already emerged. It is for the losers to go back to the drawing board for a possible review of their strategy. Those who want to go to court, on the other hand, should be patient for justice to take its natural course. That is the standard practice in civilised democracies.
Ezekiel wrote from Imeko, Ogun State