Controversy has trailed the alleged endorsement made by former President Ibrahim Babangida of the candidature of former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniel, for the office of National Chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
An unsigned press statement sent to Premium Times on Wednesday alleged that the former president and one of the founders of the PDP, had thrown his weight behind Mr. Daniel in his bid to become the national chairman of the party.
IBB, as he is fondly called, reportedly described Mr. Daniel as the “breathe of fresh air.”
The statement said Mr. Babangida made the declaration at his Hilltop residence in Minna, Niger state on Wednesday when Mr. Daniel led a delegation on a visit to IBB in furtherance to his (Daniel) nationwide consultation.
According to the statement, speaking during the visit, Mr. Daniel said he had come to confer with the former president on his ambition, noting that no serious politician in the country would embark on such an important national task without seeking the wisdom and blessing of the former president.
Mr. Babangida was quoted to have said he was ”quite elated when he learnt that Gbenga Daniel was interested in offering his service to the country.”
“I was elated when I first heard that you were interested in volunteering yourself for this great service to our country, you represent the breadth of fresh air that the party deserves at this stage.
“I know OGD (Daniel) very well and I know his unparalleled capacity for work. I have a strong conviction that with OGD as chairman, the party can be turned
“I am supporting you because I know you very well. OGD, you’re my Chairman in waiting.”
Premium Times, however, learnt from one of the aides of Mr. Babangida that what the former leader said should not be misconstrued as a tacit support for Mr. Daniel.
“He hasn’t thrown his support for anyone,” the aide who declined to be named in the story said.
He also said what Mr. Babangida said during the visit, “does not amount to throwing his weight behind him.”
He said like Mr. Daniel, “other aspirants will also visit him and he will have something to say about them too. IBB is home to all and as a founding father of the PDP, he’s at home with all persons.
“No doubt IBB is close to Daniel, he is also close to Tunde Adeniran, Bode George and Raymond Dokpesi, who will all run for Chairman,” he said.
The other names mentioned by the aide are also seeking to the national chairman of the largest opposition in Nigeria at a convention set to hold later this year.
Mr. Adeniran is a former education minister, Mr. George a former deputy national chairman of the PDP, and Mr. Dokpesi owner of Daar Communications which owns AIT television and Ray Power radio stations. Read more Premium Times