*closes campaign after tour of 103 wards
A former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, on Saturday, gave an insight into why he took renewed interest in seeking public office again 20 years after he first contested and won elective position as governor.
He disclosed that he returned from political sabbatical “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.
Daniel, who served as governor from 2003 to 2011 and is currently the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Ogun East, spoke at a mega rally held in Ijebu-Ode to close his campaign for the upcoming general elections.
Delivering his speech entitled “The Journey Starts Again…Let us Reset the Wheel,” Daniel, who had toured all the 103 wards in the nine local government areas of the senatorial district, promised to turn around the fortunes of his people by working closely with the executive arm of government at both the state and national levels.
Although he expressed satisfaction that he served the people of the state diligently and impacted positively on their lives during his tenure as governor, he submitted that his job was not yet done.
He said, “Satisfied that we have contributed our best which impacted the lives of our people, I went on sabbatical, studying the political administration of our dear State on the sideline.
“After a careful watch of events, last year I started taking a renewed interest in things that needed to be done. I concluded that our job is not yet done, there is obviously a lot of ground to be covered, many things in our national and state polity that will address the economic health of our state and welfare of our citizens requires urgent attention. This was the reason why we decided to hit the roads once again.”
According to him, his administration’s footprints dotted all facets of human endeavours, from sports and youth development to education, health, economy and industrialisation.
“When we came into office,” Daniel recalled “Ogun state was renowned for two things: a civil servants state with little or no industrialisation, and a necropolis where relatives come to bury their dead every weekend and depart to their different abode afterwards.”
“For us, a state that shares such proximity with the largest economy in West Africa and rich historical past had no business being so underdeveloped and forgotten. So we created the blueprint to modernise and industrialise Ogun State evenly.
“We created Free Trade Zones to attract foreign investments, agro cargo airport to open an international frontier for our agricultural produce and industrial corridors to entice multinational companies in Lagos looking for expansion. Many of these initiatives are bearing fruits across the state.”
The senatorial candidate, however, stated that he had already identified key areas that strongly need urgent legislative intervention namely local government financial autonomy, food subsidy, local content and physically challenged bill.
He explained that his just concluded ward-to-ward tour afforded him the opportunity to reassess and evaluate the people’s pressing and strategic needs, even as he expressed delight that the senatorial district was endowed with abundant resources.
Daniel added, “I am not oblivious of the fact that the job of the legislature is different from that of the executive; the relationship between both arms of government can only be complimentary which requires cooperation. Hence, my resolve to go into the Senate arm of the Nigerian National Assembly.
“The Senate, for me is to continue from where we stopped as the Governor of Ogun State and to connect those opportunities identified with the economic prosperity of our people.”
“My pledge to you, is the commitment to ensure a more prosperous and developed Ogun East that can be a beacon of pride to us and the people of Ogun State,” he further told the mamnoth crowd of party supporters and other stakeholders.
Daniel commended the incumbent governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun, for ensuring that the dream of an agro-cargo airport he envisioned for Ogun State did not die.
He added: “To complement the international specialized airport, I will make it a duty, to request and propose for the establishment of an Aviation School in Ogun East to optimize the nearly abandoned facilities of the Federal Government Technical College around Akaka Remo. This is to ensure that whatever competence and skill the airport requires in terms of piloting and related fields, graduates from the Aviation School are given priority.”
“I believe with the will power and painstaking efforts we could also turn around the wheel on our vision in the area of deep sea port and petroleum refinery projects that appear to have been lost to a neighboring state.”
“In all of these, we raise our head high as a Visioner of projects of high value which have the capacity to transform the lives and economic well being of our people. We call on the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR to follow through on some of these projects which by the grace of God we have successfully procured all necessary licenses and documentation when we had the opportunity to serve our people as their Governor.”
Daniel equally used the opportunity of the event to solicit support for the aspirations of APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and other candidates of the ruling party in the 2023 elections.
A major highlight of the ward-to-ward tour is the raffle where an agricultural tractor, branded saloon car, 240 litres deep freezer and 2.5KVA generator were won as star prize, 1st prize, 2nd prize and 3rd prize respectively.
Over 1,000 other items, including sewing machines and grinding machines, were also won while 10 indigent students from Ijebu-Ode Local Government bagged scholarships.
Some of the dignitaries at the event included Tinubu, who was represented by former APC National Legal Adviser, Babatunde Ogala (SAN), former Deputy Governors of Ogun State, Senator Adegbenga Kaka and Alhaja Salmot Badaru, former Nigeria’s Ambassador to Zambia and Malawi, Mrs Folake Marcus-Bello, former APC senatorial aspirant, Otunba Seyi Oduntan, Chief Joju Fadairo, Gbegande of Ososa, Oba Toye Alatishe, Chief (Mrs) Bukunola Onabanjo, Mr Adeyinka Kotoye (SAN) and Pro-Chancellor of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Prof. Toyin Ashiru, among others.