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Ogun Airport Was My Master Plan, But Abiodun Is Getting The Accolade – Gbenga Daniel

 

Senator representing Ogun East, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, says the ongoing International Agro-Cargo Airport, Ilisha-Remo, was part of his administration’s master plan before he left office as Ogun State Governor in 2011.

He said “we did everything we needed to do, we got all the approvals before we left,” but the incumbent governor, Dapo Abiodun, now gets the accolade on the project.

Daniel, popularly known as OGD, lamented that there’s a whole lot of his achievements that the press “refused to report,” while in government including his efforts on the airport project.

His government, Daniel said, had a very “bad press,” adding that “we were working 24/7, but noboby is seeing us.”

He spoke in an interview with The Nation.

“For instance, we are thanking our current governor (referring to Dapo Abiodun) for now working on the airport. But this was part of our master plan, which we decided, we did everything we needed to do, we got all the approvals before we left,” he said.

He denied that his defunct newspaper, The Compass, was established as an instrument of a political fight with Bola Tinubu, then as Lagos Governor.

Daniel said “First things first, you must remember that I took over from a newspaper mogul, Chief Olusegun Osoba, and I was not expected to get good press, because this is one person who has either been chairman of Guild of Editors, and the sympathy was really not with me, it was with my predecessor. And people were actually thinking that I was going to crash within a few weeks. Ah, no, this one doesn’t know, where is he coming from? So I had what you can call a very bad press, and there was indeed a need for me to find a solution. Unfortunately, we did not have the level of social media that we have today.

“If that existed, nobody would need the traditional media. But you know, you people at that time, once you blocked us, you blocked us here, you blocked us there, I was finished (laughs). If we were working 24-7, nobody would see this. They would say you are not working because you people have blocked everybody. So that was what happened.

“I’m not a newspaper person. But, at that stage, we needed to have a platform to also record what we were doing. We did a lot of work that people still do not know. For instance, we are thanking our current governor for now working on the airport. But this was part of our master plan, which we decided, we did everything we needed to do, we got all the approvals before we left. But you people (press) will not report it. Many people don’t know that while I was governor, we secured three free trade zones in Ogun state. One is the one we had with Ondo State which we call Olokola Free Trade Zone. That’s where Dangote Refinery was supposed to be but because you people did what you had to do, we lost that one to Lagos.

“But I said to people, well, Lagos is still the same. If it’s lost to Lagos, it’s fine. In any case, where we wanted to put it is inside Ijebuland. All these places where they are in Lekki is still part of Ijebuland, under Lagos. So we’ve not lost anything. We’ve done the Kajola Transportation Free Trade Zones, where what we wanted to do at that time, we persuaded the presidency that Iddo Terminus was finished. There is no reason going to take stuff coming from the hinterland to Iddo market to add to the congestion and we said we wanted to bring it to Kajola. And then we created the free trade zone around Kajola. It’s called Kajola transportation free trade zone. That is why we’re now having dry port as it is.

“It was our initiative. We’ve done the Ogun-Gwandong Free Trade Zone. The Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone is what we did when China decided that they wanted to do three free trade zones in Africa. It was Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa that contested for it. We in Ogun State still contested for the one in Nigeria and we got it. (That was commissioned during our tenure) So in each of the three Senatorial Districts, we have one free trade zone and virtually functional. In fact, the biggest one would have been Olokola if not for a lot of other things that happened, the OKLNG and all of that. So we did a lot of work which were not reported. You’ll be shocked if I tell you that in the course of our administration, we established probably about seven tertiary institutions and campuses. I can count for you. We established Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo.

“We established the Gateway Polytechnic in Sapade. We established another one in Igbesa and another one in Itori. We established the Tai Solarin University of Education. We established the School of Nursing in Ilaro. We took the old Tai Solarin College of Education to Omu. It’s now known as Sikiru Adetona College of Education in Omu.

“We established Gateway Industrial & Petrochemical Institute (GIPI) in Oni. What didn’t we do? But you people didn’t report it. We also did a lot in terms of industrialization. You know that, once upon a time, the Sagamu Interchange was just a bare land where people threw all sorts of tyres. That axis now is probably the biggest industrial zone in the country. We named it Flower Gate Industrial Estate. That is when companies like Nestle, Coleman Cables, CTK, the biggest international breweries, and all the big names now in industry came there. That is the fastest growing industrial arena in the entire country as we speak today. So there’s a whole lot that you people refused to report for us (laughs).”

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