How Governor Gbengba Daniel lost out in appointing ministers to Federal Cabinet

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Governor Gbenga Daniel

Third Republic Senator, Jubril Martins-Kuye, and a management specialist, Najeem Awodele were sworn-in as ministers by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan. If Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel had his way, they would not be ministers. But Daniel proposed, Jonathan had his way. Now, Martins-Kuye is trying to settle down as Minister of Commerce and Industry, while Awodele is adjusting to his new life as Minister of State for Agriculture.

Both men were thrown up by political intrigues, with Daniel at the losing end. The Gateway State has never been bereft of intrigues and tension, especially since Daniel took charge in 2003. In the last seven years when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been the party in power, there has been no dull moment.

It is believed that Martins-Kuye and Awodele’s elevation to the status of ministers was calculated, not only to slap Daniel but also to whittle down his power and influence at the centre, while at the same time strengthen the camp of the founding fathers of Ogun PDP, so that they could have an upper hand in who gets what elective office, in 2011.

And Daniel, it was learnt, having failed to push his men through to the ministerial offices, subtly instigated the outcry of marginalisation by Ogun West indigenes, marketing the idea through proxies that he had laboured to help the district get what was their due but was thwarted again by forces bent on playing "bad politics."

Senator Ayo Otegbola told The Nation during the week that what happened with ministerial appointees did not only fall short of natural justice but was also at variance with the established standard in Ogun politics.

Otegbola said: "We will continue to agitate for just treatment until we are fairly treated and given what is our due. It is the normal practice that the district that produces the Governor nominates the people for ministerial appointment.

"Gbenga Daniel is from Ogun East and should have done the nomination but what is happening is that the people who want to nominate (future) governor also want to nominate the ministers," Otegbola said.

The people of Yewa last week massed up in their thousands first at Ita–Oshin and later at Lalubu Street in Abeokuta before terminating the unprecedented protest at the Oke–Mosan Governors Office recently. They called on Jonathan to withdraw names of JMK and that of Awodele and replace them with nominees of Ogun West extraction.

Daniel was said to have submitted the names of Akogun Kola Onadipe (Ogun East), Prof. Kayode Oyesiku, (Ogun Central) and Chief Iyabo Apampa (Ogun West). Some said Apampa’s name was not on the list and that the third person was Dr. Abayomi Majekodunmi, his Chief of staff, also from the Central district.

Daniel blamed the ordeal of the Ogun West people on a handful "politicians" whom he said are playing "bad politics" out of "selfish interest."

The Nation gathered that three persons nominated by Daniel were rejected by the Presidency. The triple forces of power tussle in Ogun State chapter of the PDP, its factionalisation, the attendant strategising of the opposing gladiators ahead of 2011 and the inability of the governor to obtain enough endorsement for his candidates by Ogun indigenes at the National Assembly accounted for their undoing.

Apampa, for example, was endorsed by only one lawmaker of Ogun extraction at the National Assembly, prompting the Presidency to conclude that the rift in Ogun PDP was not only real and deepening, but also that both the governor and his nominees may not be enjoying enough support at the home front.

Although, Daniel has assured Ogun West people that their complain of marginalisation over ministerial appointment would be communicated to the Acting President, he advised them to remain "firm" so that it would not be in vain but it is yet to be seen how far he can help the district achieve the desired redress.

However, a member of G-15 lawmakers, Hon. Remmy Hazzan, denounced the anti-Kuye protest saying the protesters "acted in bad faith." Hazzan, representing Odogbolu state constituency, said the protest march staged against Kuye and Awodele neither reflected the true picture of things in the Gateway State nor that of the PDP. He said the protest was the handiwork of Daniel, whom he accused of always fomenting trouble whenever he fails to have his way.

According to Hazzan, the initial list submitted to the Presidency by Daniel bears names of nominees from Ogun East and Ogun Central and that the impression being created that the list originally contained the name of Apampa from Ogun West was an "after thought."

His words: "It was after the governor saw the futility of this list that he withdrew it and added Apampa. This idea of people whipping up sentiments should be discouraged. All this opposition is the handiwork of the governor, who does not want to lose anything. "Anything he loses, he wants to destroy. The list he initially forwarded to the Acting President had on it the names of Chief Kola Onadipe (state Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development); Dr. Yomi Majekodunmi (the Chief of Staff) and Mrs. Lola Edewor. Are these people from Ogun West?"

While the political intrigues over ministerial appointment persisted, neither the governor nor any of the political and opinion leaders from Ogun West has had publicly told the people who shortchanged the district over Apampa and others.

The thinking in some quarters is that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Speaker Dimeji Bankole did the job in favour of their own. This much was confirmed by Bankole himself on Easter Day when at his induction as member of the Abeokuta Club, he told the gathering that when the opportunity presented itself, he facilitated the positioning of Mr. Awodele, for ministerial office.

"Aside from physical projects, I have been able to influence the appointment of Ogun state indigenes as federal ministers… We thank God that he has given another Egba man a higher position. We just have to wait until it is announced," Bankole said.

Alhaji Sule Onabiyi, the board Chairman of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Alhaji Wasiu Dawodu have described Kuye and Awodele as illustrious and qualified sons of the state.

Noting that Kuye, for example, is a Harvard trained gentleman with tested political pedigree and service in Ogun State and the nation, Onabiyi said as a foundation member of PDP, Kuye contested as governor of the state with his political structure that spread across the four divisions of Ogun.

‘’We therefore wonder at what point, these two illustrious sons and party men became unacceptable to some people in spite of their pedigree and service to Ogun State and Nigeria’’he said.

Onabiyi also wondered how the party and Daniel could nominate, Oyesiku, a civil servant at Tai Solarin University of Education for ministerial office, whereas avalanche of competent and qualified loyal party men existed.

With the eventual swearing-in of Martins-Kuye and Awodele, Daniel has lost another ground. This will certainly have an impact on his influence on the Ogun political space as 2011 draws nearer.


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