Former Ogun state governor and national chairmanship of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has allayed fears that his ongoing case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will affect his effectiveness if he emerges the party boss.
Speaking to reporters after collecting his nomination form for the post at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday, he also decried what he said was persecution against him and other PDP members.
He said he has been to court in respect of the case over 40 times over a period of seven years but the prosecution still has not concluded its case against him.
Daniel also affirmed that he could not be said to be guilty until a competent court pronounces him so.
Initially reluctant to speak on the matter, he said: “I don’t want to talk about my trial. People call it prosecution, I call it persecution.
“But 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 that is still prosecuting but they still have not finished presenting their case. I think that is instructive.
“In as much as I don’t want to talk about it, the only thing I want to say is that according to the Nigerian Law and 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 an issue, I will not come to say I want to be chairman.
“And when you look at what is going on now in our country, who is in PDP that is not being tried? Virtually everybody who is in PDP is being tried for one thing or the other.
“They are being arrested on a daily basis and I think the media has a lot of work to report what is going on.
“As far as I am concerned, I cannot pronounce myself as innocent but I know that I am innocent.”
On the crisis in Ogun state chapter of the PDP, he regretted that people were quick to approach the courts when they had not exhausted internal party machinery for resolving disagreements.
Worst still, he observed, courts which lack jurisdiction on matters that had been adjudicated upon by the Supreme Court were also found of issuing orders against the apex court’s judgement.
He observed that as far as Ogun state was concerned, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee (NCC) is the authentic leadership of the PDP.