Former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, on Sunday, said he had forgiven those behind his 11-year corruption trial which was struck out last week by the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division.
Daniel, who governed the state between 2003 and 20011 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, was accused of abuse of office, among others, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The former governor was arraigned on October 12, 2011, on 43-count charges of alleged stealing and mismanagement of about N7 billion when he was the state governor.
Daniel was re-arraigned on April 16, 2012, on a 38-count for allegedly stealing and mismanaging N211.3 million after the court dismissed the earlier case over the failure of EFCC to seek leave of court to amend the information it had presented.
The commission took the matter to the appeal court in Ibadan, challenging the lower court’s judgment for striking out the case.
However, the Court of Appeal discharged and acquitted Daniel on all the 15 charges levelled against him by the EFCC, putting an end to the litigation against Daniel.
Speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the Maiden Choir Festival and Special Thanksgiving held at the Abraham Tabernacle (Baptist International Worship Centre) in Sagamu, Daniel said he was not a saint, but he should not be punished for the offence he did not commit.
“To be honest with you, what can I do? I have forgiven them without exception. In fact, today, most of them are now my friends,” the former governor said.
Daniel said while the trial lasted, he was strong and felt that God would vindicate him.
He also dedicated his victory to the judiciary for not “succumbing to the pressure” during the trial.
The former governor said, “Let me end this thanksgiving by saluting the judiciary; I believe that the judiciary being the last chance of a common man is the only succor that our country continues to have.
“I am praising the judiciary today that, despite the challenges they have, the difficulties they have encountered because it is not easy to decide who is wrong or who is right in our country, but for the judiciary to stand and decipher and come to the kind of judgment they gave, I want to dedicate this victory to them. They failed to succumb to pressure.”
In his short exhortation, the Retired Prelate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, congratulated Daniel for his triumph over the trial.
Makinde implored Christians to always imbibe the habit of praises and thanksgiving to God at all times.