It is perhaps no surprise after all that the immensely brutal former military dictator, General Ibrahim Banbangida, would try to start the rehabilitation of his political career in Ogun State. The state has since the governorship of Mr. Gbenga Daniel become the most frightful state for politicians in the country. Long trails of unresolved murders and near-assassinations in Ogun State have directly or indirectly led to the state governor or his associates. While, in truth, Governor Daniel has not been implicated or tried for any attempted or committed murder, it is not uncommon in Nigeria for powerful politicians to buy their way out of trouble. In a simiilar manner, Babangida has spent time and money to stop his trial for high-profile murders during his administration, particularly for the murder of popular Newswatch journalist, Mr. Dele Giwa. It is against this backdrop that we should understand that Babangida's choice of the Ogun Governor, among other governors in the federation, for his announcement is no accident. He has chosen a like man and he has not changed a bit. If Babangida becomes president, Nigerians should expect political assassinations in Ogun State to grow to a national scale. Who knows, maybe Daniel will be Babangida's assassination czar.
The evil genius, whose last attempt at returning to the Aso Rock presidential residence failed, had announced he was politically dead because of his old age. He succumbed to the grinding political opposition from former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo, who the dictator had sponsored to power. Babangida tried to save his face from the humiliation of an impending loss of his seriously craved PDP ticket by declaring that President Umaru Yar'Adua, who was his opponent, was a brother he could not contest against.
While IBB has not made any public statement about the ailment of President Yar'Adua, he is now one of those trying to capitalize on the physical predicament of the President by quickly spreading his financially-induced tentacles across the political landscape to launch a presidential bid as soon as possible.
By picking Ogun State as the location of his first admission of political temptation, Nigerians can see what kind of man Babangida is. He could not find a political ground that is respectable, acceptable and commendable from which to launch his bid. Instead, he is looking for just anyone, no matter how badly perceived, who would sell his bid.
Babangida was the chairman of the public lecture marking the 54th birthday of the Ogun State Governor. Respected politicians, even unrespected ones, had shunned Daniel's birthday lecture, which became Babangida's first political pulpit.
Obviously, IBB is one of the few politicians who admire Daniel. Speaking during the lecture, Babangida said, “people have not stopped asking me the motive behind my close relationship with Daniel.”
He said the reasons were no more that the unique attributes Daniel possesses, among which were his visionary leadership, his dominating presence, his rare capacity to choose the best people to work with, his ability to easily carry people along and his leading role among the younger generation.
He stated: “When I got back to Minna after visiting Daniel at his country home, in Sagamu, sometime ago, I got a lot of calls from people asking me for what was coming up. They said it seemed there was an established romance between me and Daniel. They said I couldn’t have left Minna to visit him in Sagamu for nothing.
“Daniel sees far beyond the present. Daniel’s tomorrow is not April 2, it is not even 2011, but 20111. I see in him a man who has a vision. He also has a dominating presence and easily dominates his environment. Also, he has a rare capacity to choose the people with whom he will work with and this reflects across every level of appointments, from commissioners to advisers and others. And I like that because I will go down in history as the man who put together the best cabinet in this country.
“He has a way of carrying people along in whatever he wants to do and I also see in him the hope of the younger generation. We are proud of leaving people like you (Daniel) behind. We are confident we are leaving Nigeria in good hands.”
Oh yeah - Daniel carries people along. He probably carries them along quicker to the grave. Oh yeah - Daniel has vision. He has the vision of an owl, which is why Ogun State has not achieved anything special since his seven years of rule.
Babangida should be reminded that not only has Daniel publicly watched his political thugs attack his opponents at the state television station without flinching, he has supervised large-scale theft of treasury and was, in fact, being probed by the EFCC for corruption.
Daniel is neither a visionary governor nor a figure that Nigerians admire. The fact that Babangida would pick this kind of man to associate with, praise and lift up shows what kind of leadership Nigerians should expect, should IBB's presidential ambition mature.
It is a sacred duty for patriotic Nigerians to stop bad people from holding political office. We must say never again to both men.
Past: Daniel was born on the 6th April, 1956. He attended the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta from 1969 to 1973, followed by studies at the Polytechnic, Ibadan, and the School of Engineering of the University of Lagos.
Daniel was elected governor of Ogun State in April 2003, running on the PDP platform.He acquired the chiefly title "Otunba" of the Egba clan of the state during the course of his first term. He was reelected in April 2007. His April 2007 election was disputed by rival candidate Ibikunle Amosun of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP), but in August 2009 the Ogun State Election Petitions Tribunal dismissed the petition.
In August 2006, the website Elundu Reports published what it claimed to be evidence that Daniel had obtained two houses in London after being sworn in as Governor.
Related: Daniel's Stewardship of Ogun State