Gbenga Daniel: The Day I Became His CPS

Gbenga Daniel: The Day I Became His CPS

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 3:35 pm

Otunba Gbenga Daniel, left, and Adegbenro Adebanjo

By Adegbenro Adebanjo


I left my office in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Governor’s Office , Oke Mosan Abeokuta, Ogun State around 1 Pm on February 1,2009 . I had a lunch date at an Amala joint with my big sister Tayo Agunbiade, Special Assistant to the Governor . She took a liking to me immediately I joined the Administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel in April 2004 as Special Assistant, Public Communications from TELL MAGAZINE, and she became my big sister.
Off we went to the joint on Abiola way in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital . And we quickly settled down to what was on offer – Hot Amala , fish and Ogufe –
I was dealing with the big head of a fish and waiting to cancel out the Ogufe thereafter .
Then a call came in from Kayode Samuel, Commissioner for Information and Strategy.
I greeted him and was regaling him with the length of the big fish I was dealing with.
I noticed that he was not as enthusiastic as he used to be when we threw banters .
I sensed he wasn’t alone and I listened to his instructions : “Gbenro , His Excellency wants you to come right away to the Government House . Now.” Okay sir I retorted . I quickly discontinued my meal and washed my hand while regretting the fact that I had to abandon the big fish . I bade my sister bye and promised we would repeat the Amala adventure some other time.
Just as I started the car engine , KS called again : “Gbenro just compose a short profile of your self and send Now.”
I thought I was traveling or they needed the information for some of the books we were working on .
So I did as instructed.
On my way to the Government House I tuned the Radio to OGBC ( then Gateway Radio) for the 2 PM News . And the first item:
A new Chief Press Secretary for the Governor of Ogun State Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has been appointed . The New CPS is Mr Adegbenro Adebanjo, who until his new appointment was the Governor’s Senior Special Assistant for media Matters relating to Special Economic Projects and New Investments . A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kayode Samuel, …….
I was stunned . I had no inclination whatsoever about when , why , and how the decision was reached by the Governor and members of his inner caucus . I never expected it nor lobbied for it directly or indirectly.
The Mercy,favour and the Grace of God were at work and found me .
I parked , said a little prayer asking for help from God , I rounded it off with a short Thanksgiving and blurted out OBANIJESU.
I then proceeded to Government House to resume as CPS .
The rest they say is now history.
To God alone be the Glory

Once again Happy 66th birthday to the Boss , Otunba Gbenga Daniel, one of the key builders of Ogun State.


Otunba Gbenga Daniel: Navigating New Frontier

Otunba Gbenga Daniel, whose sobriquet OGD first caught major public attention in 2001 when he was angling to do the impossible by unseating the incumbent governor in Ogun State, has now fully come into his own as a dominant force in the scheme of things in the state and on the national arena. Of course when he was given the opportunity by the people of Ogun State to serve as their Governor between 2003 and 2011, he gave it his all and in the process unfurled a people centred government where policies and programmes at all levels were deliberately engineered to favour the people and for the common good.

Daniel who sees politics as a means to an end, and that end is good governance which should engineer a better society, is unrelenting in his quest for a better society. He translated this mantra into concrete reality in those eight years. He left the State better than he met it and cemented an unbroken cord with its people. At 65, after almost twenty years of service in the same political establishment, Daniel has now decided to change course and team up with people of like minds in a new political platform. And like it was where he was coming from, it will not be politics for politics sake in his new lair. It will remain a call to service, and a mission to maintain an unbroken connection with the people, seek the common good and add value to humanity.

Those who have followed Daniel’s public and private trajectory will not be worried by his transition from one party to another since they know that given his antecedent the common denominator for him will always be the pursuit of the common good and service to the people. Before politics, the accomplished University of Lagos trained Engineer, technocrat and businessman set up a non-governmental organisation, the Gateway Front Foundation, GFF to formalise his determined desire to reach out to all and sundry and change the course of life of the ordinary people for better. And after leaving office Gateway Front Foundation is still flourishing under the close watch of Daniel and his wife, Yeye Olufunke, carrying out its core mandate of reaching out to the less privileged in the society and contributing to the making of a better society especially at the grassroots. The Daniels have continued to use it as a vehicle for good for the society.

And the new platform cannot and will not vitiate Daniel’s imprimatur of good governance which remains clearly discernible and unassailable ten years after leaving the most important political office in the Gateway State. Indeed they are still building on some of his legacies while others have become barometers to measure good governance. It is therefore no surprise that the Agro-Cargo Airport conceptualised and kick-started by the Daniel administration is now being revisited by the Prince Dapo Abiodun administration.

The Cargo airport is a testimony to the power of vision and foresight. Daniel, after doing the ground work here in Nigeria through the Ogun State Economic Summit, led a team to Dubai and the United States to canvass international buy-in for the project. The general consensus at home and abroad was that it was a well thought out developmental project which should advance the economic base of Ogun State and become major employment generator. But debilitating and unconscionable politics stopped its programmed implementation after the exit of Daniel and his team. However since a good idea can only be temporary halted, the Agro Cargo Airport will yet come into its own to the advantage of the people of Ogun State and Nigeria.

And those who have now become Daniel’s new political associates would have to contend with his penchant of factoring the people into all policies, projects and programmes. This stood out in bold relief during the Dualisation of the Abeokuta –Siun –Sagamu Expressway in the course of his administration. Daniel insisted that work should only commence when the people whose houses stood in the right of way of the project had been properly resettled. The administration built brand new houses in place of their huts for the affected villagers, a gesture that further cemented his bond with the people.

They can also count on Daniel’s far-sightedness. Very early in 2003 , at the beginning of his administration when the digital revolution had not fully come into its own, Daniel assembled a team to generate a blueprint on how Ogun could latch on to the then evolving digital revolution. The initiative led to the establishment of four ICT Polytechnics and the Human Capital Development Programme, HUCAP whose main fulcrum was the training of requisite manpower to give the State the edge. The ICT Polytechnics have outlived the Daniel administration training the required manpower for the state and country. Some of the people who were trained abroad under the HUCAP initiative are now serving in very high offices in different parts of Ogun State and Nigeria. One of them is managing the digital configuration which the first University of Education in Nigeria- The Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu Ode-, established by the Daniel administration, is deploying for ease of university administration.

Under Daniel’s watch Ogun became the investment and sports destination of choice and raised the bar of human capital development. The legacies of Daniel’s eight years stewardship are still as solid as Olumo Rock and imperishable in the landscape of the State and the hearts of its people. He is seen as Mr. Equity because of his evenhanded distribution of projects across the three senatorial districts and four main divisions of the State. So equity will also be one of the trump cards, Daniel will constantly throw into the mix in his new frontier.

It is obvious that he will also deploy his strong network of friends, associates and relationship with key leaders built over the years and which traverses the length and breadth of the country to the advantage of the new platform. OGD also has a large following in his base and across the south western states, and this should be a great advantage. It is also expected that his organisational acuity and tenacity of purpose and painstaking pursuit of excellence will also come into play. For with OGD whether in business or politics, mediocrity is an anathema. He does not believe in half measures. He gives his all and always ensures that things are done properly and excellently with the right Intellectual underpinning. This Daniel is not an autocrat; he listens and aligns with superior argument.

And the most important part of the OGD persona is his orientation that politics is only meaningful when programmes and policies benefit the people and the polity and advance the cause of humanity. On this he does not shift ground and none can persuade him to do otherwise. He will always ensures, like he did in Ogun State, that the people are factored into the process all the way. The new platform to which Daniel freely subscribes to will also be gaining a product that is believable, a product that knows his onions and that will add meaningful value to the ongoing process of building a better country.

And as Otunba Gbenga Daniel, OGD, reaches another , let’s celebrate this accomplished engineer, astute business man, professional in politics, humanist, technocrat and one of the major contributors to the development of Ogun State and Nigeria.
We also wish him all the best as he begins the navigation of a new frontier in politics.

NB : The piece was written to commemorate his 65th birthday and it has been reposted on his 66th birthday as it captures the essential OGD .

* Adebanjo served as Senior Special Assistant, Public Communications and later as Chief Press Secretary in the administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel

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