+All The Dirty Details
The political bickering between estranged friends, former governors of Ogun State, Otunba Gbanga Daniel and Senator Ibikunle Amosun which had been on since 2007, got deepened seven years ago when the latter seized the multi-million-naira hotel owned by the former.
Amosun had few months after he was sworn in set up a truth commission to probe the activities of Daniel and his aides between 2003 and 2011.
The duo of Amosun and Daniel were once jolly good fellows who had teamed up to oust the then Governor Segun Osoba from power in 2003 election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The political partnership between Amosun and Daniel worked out as both of them achieved their political desires.
While Daniel emerged the governor of the state in 2003, Amosun clinched the seat of the Ogun Central Senatorial district.
But the party ended due to some irreconcilable disagreement between them.
We gathered that there was an agreement between the duo that Daniel would hand over to Amosun after his first term, but, dramatically, the arrangement changed.
After the exit of Daniel from office in 2011 after serving two-term of eight years, Amosun, by providence, got the seat through serious struggles which almost cost him his life.
Close aides of Amosun hinted that the former governor vowed to avenge Daniel’s alleged sins against him which made Amosun to upturn all of his predecessor’s policies as soon as he consolidated in power.
To start with, Amosun set up a committee headed by his deputy and was mandated to look into the allegations of unethical practices in some of the agreements the Daniel’s administration entered into on behalf of the state.
Eventually, the committee made its recommendations and the Amosun government revoked the Certificates of Occupancy (Cs-of- O) granted to Gateway Front Foundation (GFF) and the Golf Resort Hotels in Abeokuta, the state capital. The recommendations were contained in the Ogun state of Nigeria Gazette No. 6 Volume 37.
The gazette stated that the government of Ogun was taking over the said properties in the public interest, “as there is allegation that state funds were used in the construction of the hotels.”
The government, however, maintained that “no money shall be paid as compensation to Daniel, GFF or Golf Resort Hotels Ltd until the said allegations are determined.”
Consequently, the hotel was taken over by security personnel, barring the former governor from gaining access to his private property.
The hotel which is located at Presidential Boulevard along Oke-Mosan, opposite the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta was said to have been erroneously constructed on an illegal land belonging to Golf Resort.
Amosun was said to have taken the advantage of the alleged error and pounced on the former governor.
The records had shown that, during the seizure, property worth millions of naira was stolen by some people.
Ogun State Police command, however, arraigned a- 34-year-old farmer, Ariyo Fadipe before an Abeokuta Magistrates’ Court for allegedly looting the controversial hotel.
The suspect was reported to have sneaked into the uncompleted hotel and reportedly stole property worth five hundred million naira.
The prosecutor, Inspector Famous Edigbue, told the court that the offences were committed sometimes in April 2014 at about 6:00p.m. at Golf Resort Hotel, Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta.
He said that the accused person burgled a building belonging to Daniel and stole several items valued at five hundred million naira.
He added that the accused stole 300 pieces of 32 inches plasma television, two coffee table plated with gold, 40 pieces of three horse power air condition, 30 pieces of B205 swivel chair and 20 C63 bar table.
“The accused, a farmer whose farm is close to the golf resort burgled the building where all the items were stored and goes there from time to cart away the items.
The police through “tip-off” traced the accused and caught him in the act with four 32 inches plasma television,” he said.
Edigbue said that the offences contravened Sections 516, 410, 411 (2) and 390 (3) of the Criminal Laws of Ogun, 2006.
The accused of no fixed address pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge of burglary and theft.
The defence counsel, Barr. Adebayo Ogungbemi applied for the bail of the accused in liberal terms.
The Magistrate, Mr Babajide Ilo granted the accused bail in the sum of 500,000 with two sureties in like sum and ordered that the accused be remanded in Ibara prison till perfection of bail.
Meanwhile, while the stealing case was going on, the 2015 election approached and the game appeared changed.
Dramatically, Daniel gained access to the hotel again and continued works on it.
Between the time of the election and few months after, when the election went in favour of Amosun for his second term, the hotel was reopened for Daniel.
But, after a while, a team of policemen was dispatched to the place and sealed it again.
Findings, however, showed that, there was a negotiation between Amosun and Daniel to secure some votes for Amosun in Daniel’s strongholds as a collateral for the return of the hotel.
And further findings showed that, the agreement was witnessed by some prominent personalities in the state and it was gathered that, Daniel delivered his votes.
Expectedly, Daniel resumed to work at the hotel but was shocked to find out that the governor had not lifted the ban on the hotel.
The hotel had almost fallen into ruins and was already taken over by weeds when the emergence of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, brought him a relief.
After Abiodun became governor, Daniel regained the control of the hotel and works have since commenced to restructure and reposition it.