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Secession not solution to our problems, says Daniel

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Gbenga Daniel

Former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel has said the bulk of socio-economic and political challenges confronting Nigeria, especially the worsening state of insecurity, could be resolved economically if the will is there.

Daniel, who recently defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) while addressing the media yesterday, disagreed with the country’s excess borrowing, saying, “The bulk of our problems could be resolved with minimal borrowing. This is because the bulk of our expenditures have not been planned to remain in our country otherwise we would have been out of the current economic quagmire.”

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The former governor who was recently named by the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) as a member of the contact/strategy committee made up of 61 members also said the escalating state of insecurity across the country could be resolved through good economic management.

According to him, “What do people want on the street, the teeming population of Nigerians, especially the working population, don’t really need millions of naira, but the means to live. All the security challenges we have today are from the street. Nigeria has plenty of cheap labour but we have to find the means to engage them and until we do that we are just joking with the security situation.

“It is better to engage all the able-bodies and give them little money to solve their challenges than to leave them on the streets.”

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The former governor said there are a lot of solutions to the economic challenges facing Nigeria.

On the subsidy matter, Daniel said, “People who say we should not remove subsidies are making sense. Their argument is if subsidy must be removed then provide the alternative. To me, the alternative is good governance, crushing of the mafia, provision of jobs and the political will to block necessary loopholes.”

Daniel also endorsed the resolutions of the 17 Southern governors on banning open grazing and restructuring. He said, “If the meeting had been extended to governors from other geo-political zones, I believe governors from the Middle Belt region would have made the same resolutions.

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The former Ogun State governor also said the Yoruba Nation understands what they want and they are united in their demand. “Ordinarily, nobody wants to pull out of Nigeria. Our people know what they want but the extremists know what they are also doing. What those calling for secession are saying is that they want a country where there will be fairness, justice and equity. This is the explanation.”

He said the outcome of the Southwest APC leaders held at the State House Marina on Sunday was in sync with the position of the Afenifere leaders. “Those who are also agitating for secession are getting impatient with the way things are. They do not want a situation where they are seen or perceived as second-class citizens in their own country.

The former governor said due to the nature of Nigeria’s politics, we needed to inject zoning into the Constitution.“

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“The country is governed by law and order and until the 1999 Constitution is amended there is nothing we can do. The onus is now on us to challenge the National Assembly to do the needful on the Constitution and then pass it to the Executive for assent. If the Executive now fails to assent the amendment then we will know what to do.”

Daniel however appealed to those calling for disintegration to be patient. He said secession is not the solution to the problems of Nigeria. “If Nigeria must thrive, we need to consider zoning, it should be encouraged.”

On why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Daniel said, his journey to APC was well known. “I tried to contest for the national chairmanship of PDP but when I lost I moved on. But for the PDP to have denied Southwest the post of national chairmanship then was not for good. Even at that we still moved on and tried to educate our people.

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“What however triggered my movement out of the party was in 2019 when the late Buruji Kashamu used the court to emerge as PDP governorship candidate in Ogun State. The fact is that I cannot recommend him to the people of the state. What I did then was to look for better material for the people as governor, which I found in Governor Dapo Abiodun and that was the beginning of my movement out of PDP.”

He also enjoined the media not to underestimate its responsibility in the task of addressing the problems facing Nigeria. “If Nigeria made progress, 50 per cent of the responsibility is not in the hands of politicians but the media. If the media executes its job based on conscience, Nigeria will be better. Those of us who defected to APC did so not because of political ambition but we can no longer sit and fold our hands and watch the way things are going. We need to join hands with others to save the country.”

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