One tool Senator Ibikunle Amosun uses to wage wars against those he perceives as foes, real or imagined, is ferocious vindictiveness. While he reigned as Ogun State governor between 2011 to 2019, he wielded this evil stick against his estranged friend turned immediate predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, with whom he fell out due to political differences.
Amosun was so ferocious in his attacks against Daniel that he even implicated himself in his revisionist quest to destroy Daniel as brought his ancestral background to scrutiny. He shocked citizens and residents of the Ogun State when he said his predecessor is not an indigene of the State; and that he insinuated that he was instrumental to falsifying Daniel’s records and his claim of Sagamu indigeneship at the time he wanted to contest the governorship seat of Ogun state in 2003.
“They came to us then, we were the ones they ran to and we helped them to get where they are claiming today as their home,” Mr. Amosun said. This was just one of Amosun’s daggers drawn to strike Daniel to political death.
For the prominent two-term governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, it was like reuniting with a long lost love and witnessing the ridges and furrows carved by time onto a face now old and decrepit. Daniel could not stem the tides of sorrow as he broke down in tears and wept profusely after visiting his abandoned hotel for the first time in almost a decade.
The hotel, variously dubbed Conference Hotel and Golf Resort Hotel located in Òkè Mosan, Abeokuta was poised to be the best in the state. Work was already at an advanced stage in the 150-room 5-star edifice when it was sealed in 2012 on the orders of Ibikunle Amosun who had replaced Daniel as the state governor the previous year.
In what the Daniel camp alleged was a witch hunt taken to extremes over political differences, Amosun refused all entreaties by major stakeholders to release the hotel and even posted personal security to make sure no living thing entered or exited. The contractors working on the project were chased from the premises. The official line from the Amosun camp was that Daniel illegally secured the land on which the hotel is being constructed and even used state resources to kick off the project.
Despite some court orders in Daniel’s favour, Amosun remained obstinate as the Certificate of Occupancy on the land was revoked and not returned for several years. There was even talk of moves to take over the structure and convert it to a state utility. At a time when the hotel located along Presidential Boulevard, Abeokuta was ninety percent complete, it came as a rude blow to Daniels whose entreaties to Amosun fell on deaf ears. To add pepper to a smouldering wound, the Ogun government even refused to pay him a kobo in compensation for the resources he’d already expended on the project.
Eventually, with more important matters at stake ahead of the 2019 elections and his tenure winding down, the governor’s attention turned elsewhere. By the time his personal security that had been barring the place for more than two years finally packed their bags, the once glorious edifice had become a sorry sight. What was conceived as a place of relaxation for the elite had become a nest of weeds, rodents, reptiles and roaches.
Unsurprisingly, no sooner had Amosun handed the reins of power to Dapo Abiodun than Daniel made a beeline for his abandoned hotel. What he saw there reduced both him and the onlookers to tears. His trusted followers and business associates were on hand to witness the mass vandalization of the property. Everything was in a state of disarray.
From the toilets and electrical fittings which were either missing or in various states of destruction, to the imported lifts and generators which looked like expensive scrap, the whole place was a mess. A visibly shaken Daniel could not contain his emotions as he surveyed how a multi-billion Naira investment became a haunting monument to politically-motivated neglect.