Eight Years After…Former Governor Gbenga Daniel Opens Abeokuta Hotel
The heart of man, like that famous biblical injunction alluded, is desperately wicked. One of the first things Senator Ibikunle Amosun did when he became the Governor of Ogun State in 2011 was to repossess the sprawling Conference Hotels and Suites owned by his immediate predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. While Daniel was a member of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Amosun belonged to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Importantly, they were bosom friends and there is a viral picture of Amosun and the incumbent Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, campaigning with Daniel during electioneering. But all of that didn’t matter to Amosun in his desperate bid to get back at Daniel for whatever he did to wrong him.
For the duration of his two-terms of eight years, the hotel project, which was nearing completion and already had about 300 permanent staff, remained under lock and key till May 29, 2019. No amount of lobbying and truce meetings would make Amosun change his mind. He stood his ground forgetting that the office of governor he occupied was transient.
On May 29, immediately after his inauguration, Governor Dapo Abiodun stormed the hotel and ordered it reopened. For a hotel that hundreds of millions of naira had been sunk into, what remained was a carcass as burglars had stolen the electrical fittings, electronics, chandeliers and other valuables.
Though pained, Otunba Gbenga Daniel was stoic about the scenes of atrocious pillaging that confronted him. He said, “To forgive is divine. You all know I don’t waste time to forgive and I guess everybody connected with my hotel closure has regretted it. The most important thing is that I am alive. Some other people that found themselves in such a situation never made it alive. I took everything as the way God has planned it and I thank God for everything.”
Located a few metres from the Ogun State Governor’s Office, the multi-storeyed edifice housing about 200 well-appointed rooms, a standard swimming pool, an underground lounge, has now become fully operational. It was commissioned yesterday. Among other dignitaries at the event was the Governor Abiodun, party stalwarts and OGD’s friends from the business world.
The successful engineer turned politician described himself as an accidental hotelier, saying, “I was challenged to become a hotelier. Institutions in Ogun state produce over a thousand graduate and we needed to open out the economy and so as a governor then, I started inviting investors and individuals to come to invest in the state and when the opportunity came, I also decided to put my input by erecting this edifice and it didn’t just start today. It is my passion.”