By Biodun Ajiboye
Otunba Gbenga Daniel remains one of the most refined politicians that ever played in the landscape called Nigeria.
He is my Egbon, in the real sense of the word; one person I can sit with and tell what my mind bothers about , without pretences. As a leader and team player, he encourages, he motivates and he appreciates.
Way back 2006, he was my guest at the famous Nigerian Telecom Awards, which was chaired by Gen. Abdusalami Abubarkar, former Nigeria’s head of state, as it was customary with the Awards to always choose Past president of an African country as chairman.
Without any doubts, he was considered as an awardee for the strides he had achieved in Ogun state in ICT as Govenror.
I cherish getting close to them after they have left power as I consider it better friendship when it is not as if you are after the posh of their office: He was quite surprised after months of the new friendship why wasn’t I looking for him while he was Governor, my response was, it is you I like not the power you wielded, that, I guess accounts for the mutual respect between us today.
As the dialogue progressed in his office in Maryland, he got more interested and then invited me over to his home in shagamu, where I was billed to spend a few days with him, I left on a saturday or so, as we were about to get to shagamu, I told my driver to pretend something was wrong with the car, so I called him my car had packed up, trying to test how humane he could be, he sent another car to pick me and ordered the car to be fixed inside out.
The next morning, we did break fast together, just bread and egg, the usual egg.
At my deep involvement with politics and APC many years later , we kept a distance, even when he invited me for his birthday, I turned it down as I didnt want any one thinking I was double dealing, considering the level of politics I got involved in.
One thing he spoke with me I never forgot was about how close he was with Bola Tinubu, how much he liked him but for some reasons they were apart. I had no words to add. It’s still fresh in the memory how he had a running battle in Ogun state with Amosun, that displeased him quite a lot too and of course the unjust hound and villification of EFCC. All those issues bothered him, but he would express his worries solemnly at all times, even with a smile.
He finally joined APC and he called me. Of course, I understand his mindset, we put ideas together, and ever since it has been the dogged pursuit of that idea, make no mistakes, he is an ally of Bola Tinubu perhaps among his oldest allies and closer than anyone can possibly imagine.
He stated clearly, “there is hardly anyone who could match Bola’s politics in the southwest, if he is running, we then put our weight behind him, he is a definition of our best foot forward”, from that point onward it has been strategy upon strategy.
One thing that struck him most profoundly is reigning in the pockets of disloyalty and disagreement from Tinubus base.
According to him, “We must clear that, once we speak in one voice, we then progress to harness and harvest his political goodwill all over Nigeria, remember I was a DG for presidential campaign, so I understand how it works, I contested again as chairman of PDP, I know how it runs”, were his conclusion.
He had visited all the southwest Governors including Fayemi, he had spoken at length with papa Adebanjo and AFENIFERE, he knows the PDP inside out, he is indeed a material Tinubu presidential ambition needs at this point.
OGD is a man of fantastic disposition, a smooth talker, a non aggressor, he never offends anyone, his mien makes him highly loved, a man who works his interest without talking it, he is friends with IGBO so he is with HAUSA. Like Fela’s water, he has got no enemy, he cuts the image and feeling of Henry kissinger, OGD forever is a peace maker, makes peace across political divides. He is the fence-mender ever needed in turbulence. We have found our interlocutor par excellence.
At this juncture, I see OGD handle great responsibilities in the Tinubu political network, as he remains one of the most trusted allies of Bola Tinubu of all times, more fascinating, his experience is varied and wide, his political network is diverse and a highly resourceful person.
Egbon, on this note, I wish you a happy BIRTHDAY and please continue your good work.
He is hereby admitted to the Hall of fame of BAT MOVEMENT and as a PATRON.
Otunba Biodun Ajiboye .
FOUNDER, BAT MOVEMEMT .