In this report, MUYIWA OYINLOLA writes that in the face of growing anti-party activities among political gladiators, there is the need for party supremacy
There seems to be no difference in the roles recently played by former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; the incumbent state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and his Imo counterpart, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Analysts observed that they all worked for, and against their various political parties in the just-concluded 2019 general elections.
While Daniel was Campaign Director General for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, in the election currently been contested in court, he supported the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, for the office.
The latter is now the governor-elect in the state.
Daniel’s successor in office, Amosun, was the candidate of the APC for Ogun Central Senatorial district, but sponsored his godson, Adekunle Akinlade, for the governorship position on the platform of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM). While Amosun is now senator-elect, luck did not smile on his godson.
The same scenario played out in Imo, where the state governor and embattled former chairman of APC Governors Forum, Okorocha, is fighting the battle of his political life.
He is currently on suspension by his party for attempting to foist his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, on the people of his state, as his successor.
Both Amosun and Okorocha who contested for senatorial election on the APC platform in the February 23 polls, had a rough battle with the party hierarchy when their governorship candidates lost the APC primaries. Okorocha then decided to move Nwosu and their supporters to the waiting Action Alliance (AA).
Both Okorocha and Nwosu lost their bid to secure victory at the polls.
It is not out of place to say that the intra-party crisis in the Imo APC was what gave the governorship victory to Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP.
Whereas Okorocha claimed he won his senatorial bid, the returning officer has maintained that he declared the outgoing governor winner, under duress. Nwosu may have met his political waterloo, even though he has always been a paper tiger who relies on Okorocha to ride to Government House.
It is also instructive to note that all these dramatic personas worked and delivered for their presidential candidates. Daniel worked for Atiku while Amosun and Okorocha remained with President Muhammad Buhari during the presidential poll.
What is worrisome is that while Amosun and Okorocha have continued with their politics, Daniel has announced his retirement from politics, perhaps having secured victory at home.
Recall that Daniel went under and nothing much was heard of him after his exit from office in 2007.
He left office unceremoniously. The same fate may be awaiting Amosun and Okorocha.
Amosun was not the choice of Daniel. In fact, they were not in the same party. Daniel left the PDP when his choice, Gboyega Isiaka, was not given the PDP ticket. They moved to People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN) and lost to Amosun. It was a difficult time for Daniel who later returned to the PDP and got the recent appointment.
But Daniel has said that while he’s quitting politics, he remains with Atiku in his struggle for mandate.
There are however, speculations that his resignation letter from the party dated March 14 and addressed to the PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus, may be a licence for him to join the APC.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the politician at a recent meeting with some of his loyalists at his Asoludero residence in Sagamu, Ogun State threw up the speculation about his possible defection to the APC.
But in a terse statement which went viral on the social media, Daniel said: “I have not, will not and will never abandon Atiku. Atiku is different from PDP. I have resigned from PDP and lost interest in partisan politics having put in about 20 years of my life in a thankless process.
“I will commit my God-given resources to help the less privileged through my foundation and will contribute to the body of knowledge through our not for profit Political Academy. That will be a thankful process.
“I will continue to support the political process in a non-partisan manner. I am clear with my position, without any ambiguity. There is no need to insinuate, speculate, extrapolate, anticipate or draw conclusions on my behalf. I did not expect such a simple personal decision can generate such national discourse and for that I remain grateful to God.”
But only time will tell whether or not Daniel is on his way to the APC, especially now that his kinsman, Abiodun, is on his way to the Government House.
It is, however, worrisome that politicians will openly have their hands in two different parties at the same time.
The Electoral Law should be strengthened to stop this. There is also the need for party supremacy and discipline. The APC appears to have taken the lead in this regard with the sanction imposed on Okorocha.