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Pressure Mounts On OGD To Join 2023 Presidential Race

 •Will He Agree To Run?


As the race for 2023 presidential elections pull close, lots of perceptions and consideration of many options, especially from the southwestern bloc, following the conventional zoning system.

Among the list of possible candidates for 2023 presidency, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a two-term governor and director-general of the Atiku Presidential campaign group, has also popped up.

When Otunba Daniel was recently asked about his 2023 ambition, he went spiritual. He said he had none, but he reminded the people that unwilling personalities had been emerging the leader of the country since the prime ministership of now-late Alhaji Tafawa Balewa.

Going spiritual, Daniel said, “Nobody approached me for anything. It can only be in the realm of speculation. There is always the hand of God in who becomes president and vice president. The only election you campaign for in Nigeria and work with your hand is governorship. From Tafawa Balewa to Shehu Shagari, to Obasanjo, to Jonathan and even the incumbent who said he wasn’t running again at the time he became the president, it has always been the hand of God choosing those who didn’t plan for it.

Otunba Gbenga Daniel in the South-Western is being rumoured, within APC’s inner circles, as a favourite top shot who could enjoy widespread support in the south Nigeria as a presidential candidate.

OGD has also been seen in the past as the ‘Kakaki’ or unofficial spokesperson of core southerners, either east or west on issues that affect them. He is a man who is loved beyond religion, party affiliation or tribe.

The two-term governor has also been strongly involved in calling the shots in some of the APC administration’s programmes, ever since he defected from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to the ruling APC in 2020.

The former governor said that part of the reason he decided to move to APC was to join forces with people who were in power to see how things could be done in a better way.

Daniel said he defected with friends, colleagues, people who believed in the leadership and those who were excited about the move.

OGD’s goodwill is prevalent in southern Nigeria and a few other states in the north, which could make it challenging for any contender to breakthrough in the north except with a very popular running mate.

As one of the sources at the presidential villa put it, “OGD would definitely be saved more by votes from the south than the north, if he eventually joined the race and scaled through primaries.

His popularity was tested recently during his daughter’s wedding in Lagos, when the Vice President, 8 governors, and many serving ministers stormed the event.

It will also surprise you that despite decamping to the APC, his relationship with the PDP’s stakeholders are still intact. Former vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Peter Obi is said to be in a cordial relationship with OGD and flew down to Nigeria to support his one-time DG campaign manager during his daughter’s wedding.

Otunba Gbenga Daniel is a sound politician, gentleman and a rugged fighter on principles, some of his followers and admirers might have defected to other political parties based on dynamics of politics, community decision, personal reasons and the change mantra. However, they are resolute on the premise of his dynamic leadership and monumental record of achievements in Ogun State.

Otunba Daniel’s defection to APC marks something of a comeback for the Ijebu political titan, whose political exploits appeared irretrievably tainted by the internal wrangling and power tussle that afflicted his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), en route the last general elections. For Daniel, however, the reality of his comeback had always been part of public political discourse. The most extraordinary characteristic of Daniel is his ability to endure and renew.

Born April 6, 1956, Daniel was a two-time governor of Ogun State from May 29, 2003, to May 29, 2011, thus making him the longest-serving governor of the state. As governor, he attracted heavy criticisms and commendations as well. He constructed the new government secretariat at Oke Mosan which brought all the state ministries together in one administrative complex. His programme on Public-Private Partnership attracted several businesses into the state during his tenure. He is well commended by the majority of the people of Ogun State who believe his government was people-friendly.

Daniel went back to his company, Krestal Laurel, and has since continued funding youth development initiatives within Ogun State. He founded The Political Academy; an Academy he has used to train thousands of youth teaching them about the history of the country and political process. As a result, many youths in Ogun State have become highly politically aware and interested in politics. He has been enjoying massive support from the youths of the state.

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