EFCC Trial Won’t Affect My Chances, Says Gbenga Daniel

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  •  Vows to end impunity in PDP

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Former Governor of Ogun State and a national chairmanship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Gbenga Daniel, has said his pending case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will not be an obstacle to his ambition to become the national chairman of the party.

He said as far he is concerned, what he is facing at the EFCC is persecution and not prosecution.

Daniel, who spoke with journalists shortly after picking the chairmanship nomination form at the national secretariat in Abuja, said he would ensure that all the mistakes made by the party before are corrected to put it in good position to win the 2019 elections.

According to him, “I don’t want to talk about my trial. People call it prosecution but I call it persecution.
I think there are a few things that are instructive. This trial had been going on for the past nearly seven years. I have been to court probably 40 times. It is prosecution but they still have not finished presenting their case.”
The former governor said he feels that he is innocent of the charges and will prove it in the court, adding that under the law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty

“I think that is instructive. Inasmuch as I don’t want to talk about it, the only thing I want to say is that according to the Nigerian constitution, a person remains innocent until pronounced guilty or otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction.

“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 the national chairman of our party. And when you look at what is going on now in our country, who is in PDP that is not being tried?
“Virtually everybody in PDP is being tried for one thing or the other. They are being arrested on a daily basis and I think the media have a lot of thing to report about what is going on. As far as I am concerned, I cannot pronounce myself innocent but I know that I am innocent,”he said.

Regarding the move by some members of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) to broker consensus among aspirants from the Southwest, which apparently schemed him out of the race, he said no such decision has been reached by an organ of the party.

On the intra party crisis in the Ogun State chapter of the party, he said majority of the party members in the state á now united under the new state caretaker committee that is in place.
Daniel said if elected as a national chairman, he is going to champion a campaign against impunity and to return power to the people.

When asked whether there was a valid court order stopping the inauguration of a new caretaker committee in the state, he said the Supreme Court has affirmed that Senator Ahmed Makarfi is the authentic chairman of the PDP and that every decision he takes is legally binding.

The former governor said as party man, he does not think that it is every disagreement in the party that one should go to the court just as some people in the party are doing.