An aspirant for the national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has blamed the leadership crisis in the state’s chapter of the party on the loyalists of the sacked national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff.
Daniel, who was governor of Ogun State from 2003-2011, spoke with journalists on Wednesday shortly after he collected his nomination papers at the Abuja secretariat of the PDP.
He described the crisis as a play-off of the Sheriff-Makarfi tussle that lasted 14 months before the Supreme Court eventually sacked Sheriff in a July 12 judgment.
Two factions emerged from a recently conducted congress in Ogun, with both factions laying claim to the leadership of the chapter.
The national leadership of the PDP had, on August 23, set up a Caretaker Committee for the chapter, with Mr. Tunde Odanye as chairman.
But in a swift reaction, another group, led by a serving senator representing Ogun East senatorial district, Buruji Kashamu had rejected the Odanye-led caretaker committee from the outset.
Daniel however said the crisis in the chapter would not affect his chances of winning the chairmanship seat in the December 9 national convention.
“This crisis is not peculiar to Ogun State because many state chapters are experiencing crisis. Only that the crisis in Ogun is more reported than others”, Daniel said.
The ex-governor described his ongoing trial for alleged corruption as mere persecution, saying that also, would not work against his aspiration.
He insisted that he remained innocent of all the charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), until proven otherwise by a competent court.
“I don’t want to go into the politics of our own state but I am very sure that there is really no issue about my trial. If there is issue, I will not come to say I want to be chairman. And when you look at what is going on now in our country, who is in PDP that is not being tried?
“Virtually everybody who is in PDP is being tried for one thing or the other. They are being arrested on a daily basis and I think the media has a lot of work to report what is going on. As far as I am concerned, I cannot pronounce myself as innocent but I know that I am innocent”, he said.
Otunba Daniel slammed some members of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT) for attempting to exclude him and a few other aspirants from the chairmanship race without consulting the affected aspirants.