TheNEWS versus Gbenga Daniel

The Independent Communications Network Limited, ICNL, publishers of TheNEWS magazine has released a Press Statement titled, Otunba Gbenga Daniel Lied Against TheNEWS. The , ICNL is incensed at a publication of Governor Gbenga Daniel’s newspaper, Nigerian Compass,

entitled: “Awujale: TheNEWS Lied On Oath Picture.” (Read also Ogun Lawmakers Threaten; We Have Gov Daniel’s Naked Photos)

The COMPASS claims that the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, is angry with TheNEWS over the publication of a photograph in the magazine’s cover story, entitled “Daniel’s Voodoo Politics.” 

Aside the bizarre use of the traditional institutions to fight his political cause, it is weird to say the least, for the COMPASS newspare to allow itself to be used as Gbenga Daniels attack Dog. While we appreciate the age-old adage that he who pays the piper calls the tune, seasoned journalists should know how to tell the news without being the news themselves. Before we show the full press statement, here is an extract of the controversial TheNEWS article:

Daniel’s Voodoo Politics  

Not a few Nigerians now perceive Governor Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State in a negative light. But he did not start out like that. What happened along the line?  When Gbenga Daniel became the Governor of Ogun State in 2003, many Nigerians were happy that an upwardly mobile, respected, well educated, progressive, peace-loving and pro-active go-getter had come to the saddle. They hoped that the style of leadership and achievements of the accomplished businessman would, in a few months, become a benchmark for his peers and whoever wanted to aspire to the leadership of any of three tiers of government in Nigeria.

Six years on, the jaws of his admirers have become slack, as they wonder how a man they all saw as the hope of a generation, an avatar of an era has degenerated into a dictatorial and allegedly fetish megalomaniac. Not a few see him also as a war-monger. Many believe that Daniel has become a veritable specimen in the psychoanalysis of leaders and their deterioration.

They hinge their reason on his intolerance of dissent; broken promises; his penchant to use and dump people; authoritarian disposition; persecution complex; exit fears and illusion of grandeur. Most disastrous of all, his critics argue that all these have contributed to his less than appealing performance.

In the beginning, Governor Daniel showed some promise. This, according to his admirers, was as a result of his educational background. Professor Ayo Olukotun, who teaches Political Science at the University of Lagos, wrote an article, entitled “Gbenga Daniel’s Example,” in The Guardian of 6 April 2004: “Daniel was something of a star engineering student of the University of Lagos where he won many prizes for academic excellence under the the late Professor Ayodele Awojobi.

He had also transformed, upon leaving the University, an obscure company dealing in generators and elevators into one of the most successful indigenous companies in its class in Nigeria.’’

The company that Olukotun referred to was Kresta Laurel in Maryland, Lagos, and the premises of which Daniel’s personal residence is situated. Before his death, Chief Bola Ige, a past Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, according to a source, once visited the place and “wondered how a young man could have that taste”. 

Interview – Oath: How I Snubbed Daniel

Mr Remi Hazzan, Deputy Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, tells BAMIDELE JOHNSON and TOKUNBO OLAJIDE how he rejected requests to swear an oath of allegiance to Governor Gbenga Daniel

Q: At what point did you start hearing of people taking oath and swearing before deities?
A: Sincerely, I’ve heard of it before the latest incident, especially among those who seek sensitive political offices, that there is a traditional way of pledging allegiance. But I did not take it into cognisance as much because at that point that I heard of it, nobody approached me to do such. So, I just took it as one of those numerous rumours in government circles.

But not long ago, I had to give it another serious thought. Apparently, last year when I emerged as
the Deputy Speaker, there were overtures along that line, but I declined them. But two months ago, some of our party excos at home called me and said: ‘Honourable, we’ve been asked to proceed to Ososa (in Ijebu) to pledge allegiance to the governor because he is of the view that it is the only way he can guarantee that we are loyal and we are not going to, in any way, betray him.

But I said for me, I won’t do it. Because, I told the fellow, God has given every man the power to choose, so it is going to be your own decision whether to do it or not. But those who wanted to do it did it, some stayed away and didn’t do it and were labelled a disloyal set of people. That incident brought back the memories of the rumours that I heard at the point of joining this administration. So, it didn’t really start with this Wale Alausa saga.

That issue of party excos at ward level and the local government level swearing to an oath gave a lot of credence to stories that we have heard before. I believe that the rumours then have been confirmed in all ramifications that oath-taking has been with the OGD administration for long. 


The attention of Independent Communications Network Limited, ICNL, publishers of TheNEWS magazine has been drawn to a story published in the July 14 edition of Governor Gbenga Daniel’s newspaper, Nigerian Compass, entitled:“Awujale: TheNEWS Lied On Oath Picture.”

The paper claims that the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, is angry with TheNEWS over the publication of a photograph in the magazine’s cover story, entitled “Daniel’s Voodoo Politics.”

Since the current edition of TheNEWS hit the newsstands, Governor Daniel has been sending text messages to people, including our Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Bayo Onanuga. Some of the messages have been forwarded to us. What we find quite puzzling is that the content of those text messages now
constitute the official response from the Awujale’s palace to our story.

It is clear, therefore, that it is Governor Daniel who is speaking through the Awujale’s palace!
Before we go into the specifics, we are constrained to warn Governor Daniel about his barefaced manipulation of the traditional institution in
Ogun State
. At the rate he is going, by the time he leaves
office, Daniel would have done irreparable damage to the reputation of the traditional institution in the state and some responsible men, who still attend meetings of his Elders Forum.

We want to state unequivocally that contrary to the notion Daniel seeks to promote, we have tremendous respect for the Awujale and have deliberately refused to bring him into the oath saga.

We have always believed that the shameful oath saga is the business of Daniel and the Ogun State House of Assembly members to sort out. Nowhere in the story did we pin the oath palaver on the Awujale.

Suffering from their self-inflicted burden of shadow-chasing, Daniel and his aides seek to portray us as disrespectful of the Awujale. This attempt will fail like previous attempts by the belligerent and incompetent governor to cast us in bad light.

Indeed, on page 24 of the edition Daniel is complaining about, we published a photograph of the Awujale with the caption: “Awujale: Denies involvement in oath saga.” Nigerians will also recall that in March last year, TheNEWS honoured the Awujale the way no Nigerian media house has ever done for his principled stance during the Abacha years and for generally carrying himself with commendable grace.  

As for the picture the Governor accuses us of manipulating, we affirm that we reserve the right to remove the background of a photograph if we think the background is not good enough, too dark or will not add value to the picture. Daniel is not a journalist. The fact that today he is rich enough to own a newspaper does not mean that he has cured himself of journalistic ignorance. We will, therefore, like to help him out of this debilitating ignorance.

In any picture, it is the subject photographed that is most important, not the things or people around it. It is globally acknowledged that a picture could be cropped, ringed or ‘bled’. We can not be accused of any wrongdoing since we did not tamper with the object photographed, but the background. Two, the caption also does not say Daniel was pictured while taking blood oath in the palace of the Awujale. 

We could not be daft not to know that such a thing will not happen in the Awujale’s palace. The caption: “Daniel: goes for oath-taking to guarantee loyalty” is only a summary of the governor’s devotion to oath taking, something he has not successfully washed himself clean of despite deploying all his propaganda machinery and resources.

However, on page 21 under the photograph of Wale Alausa, the caption is very definitive: “Alausa while taking a blood oath.”

In the same edition, on pages 12, 16,17 and 48, we substituted the background of photographs and opted for our own better backgrounds. The people whose pictures appeared on those pages, we are sure will not complain, because they know it is not an issue.

Is it not interesting that Daniel is not complaining that we lied against him anywhere in the entire story but is talking about not allowing an unworthy background to stand? Or does he want to teach us our job the way he teaches them at Nigerian Compass?

We are, however, not surprised knowing Daniel’s reputation as a man so heavy on impotent propaganda, but abysmally short on substance.It is not the first time the bungling Ogun governor, who seems to be manifesting a delusional streak, will accuse us wrongly. Early this year, he accused us, without proof, of taking money to do a cover story against him. His reason: The story was published on glossy paper!

He ignored the fact that for three weeks before that story we had been publishing on glossy paper. Amazing pettiness from an breathtakingly idle governor.

The governor’s paranoia over the oath saga is clear enough for all to see. He is running scared. But he brought it on himself when he told his newspaper to publish Alausa’s nude photograph. Are we to blame now that the table is turning against him?

Our sincere advice to Daniel is to concentrate his energy on running Ogun State the way his counterpart in Lagos State, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, is doing to national acclaim. That will certainly profit Ogun State people and not their governor’s pre-occupation with shadow-chasing. 

Read also I took oath in Daniel’s house –Alausa