61 hearty cheers to OGD
OTUNBA Gbenga Daniel, fondly called OGD by admirers, is a political juggernaut, a philanthropist of note, a transformational leader and an astute businessman. He clocked 61 years on April 6, 2018. He was born into the family of Reverend Adebola and Madam Olaitan Daniel in Sagamu, Ogun State. His skill as an accomplished manager and strategist began to manifest while at the Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta between 1969 and 1973. To demonstrate his skill for athletics, young Daniel represented the school in various competitions. He also represented his school at various times in debate and quiz competition. This made him popular among his contemporaries. His oratory and eloquence is deeply reflected in him till today.
Daniel graduated from Baptist Boys High School in flying colours and proceeded to the School of Basic Studies at the Polytechnic, Ibadan for the Advanced Level programme. Having passed his Advanced Level programme, he gained admission into the School of Engineering at the University of Lagos to read civil engineering. In his early years as an undergraduate, he won several scholarship awards and gained the recognition of the legendary Professor Ayodele Awojobi as one of his best students. While he was still an undergraduate, he was included in the committee of friends of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was the youngest member. As a youth corper, he served at the School of Engineering, Lagos State Polytechnic where he demonstrated his skill as a good administrator and thoroughbred professional. His thirst for further education made him to enrol at the University of Lagos for a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) between 1980 and 1981.
A distinguished Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Otunba Daniel cut his professional teeth with Metal Construction Limited, Apapa, Lagos. He started as an Assistant Commercial Manager and later moved to H.F. Schroeder Limited, Lagos, where he became the Assistant General Manager and later Deputy Managing Director in the 30 years old history of the company’s operations in Africa. However, as a firm believer in the precept “Who dares, wins”, he harnessed his well oiled skilled in transportation, engineering, power generation and general engineering in search of greater challenges and wider fields to plough. That urge in him gave birth to Kresta Laurel an engineering firm that is based in Lagos. Otunba Daniel whose mentor is the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory, once declared in his first term inaugural address during his swearing-in ceremony as governor of Ogun State at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta on May 29, 2002, quoting Chief Awolowo, “the aim of good government is the welfare of the entire people under its jurisdiction”.
He pledged to secure the people’s hard won political freedom with economic rights by enunciating and implementing programmes that would free “the teeming masses of our people from hunger, ignorance, disease and powerlessness.” Otunba Daniel believes in providing succor for the needy. He pledged to the people of Ogun State that good times are back. According to the hardworking former governor, basic amenities such as water, electricity, healthcare, housing and others would be provided for the masses. He pledged that there will be job opportunities while education which is the bedrock of any nation will be provided for every child. Old and moribund industries shall spring. The indefatigable leader assured the citizens that basic healthcare shall be provided. Part of his manifesto was to provide solutions to housing problems. He claimed that the passion for progress shall be pursued with collective action. Taking a step of faith and action as aptly described by Edwin Whipple an American social critic “the saddest failures in life are those that come from not putting forth to power and will to work,” Otunba Daniel assembled a team comprising men and women who have excelled in various fields of human endeavour. His vision was to make Ogun State a model state under an innovative and effective government.
He created agencies to boost the state working machinery, including the Ogun State Road Management Agency, (OGROMA) which was charged with the responsibility of constructing roads and maintaining all existing roads and rehabilitating those in poor condition, and the Ogun State Employment Generation Programme.(OGEGEP) Bureau of State pensions, Ogun State Rural Medical scheme, (OGRUMED) Ogun State Agricultural And Multipurpose Credit Agency, (OSAMCA) Gateway Holdings and a host of other agencies. (see the rest on www.tribuneonlineng.com)
- Jacobs writes in from Ibadan