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 Tinubu has begged me for forgiveness — Bode George

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PostSubject: Tinubu has begged me for forgiveness — Bode George   2015-04-26, 05:58

In this interview with ENIOLA
AKINKUOTU, the leader of the
Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos
State, Chief Bode George, speaks
about the just concluded elections
and other national issues
In your clear assessment, what
do you think led to the defeat of
the Peoples Democratic Party in
the last elections?
The PDP was not defeated. We
were manipulated out and history
will judge what I am saying. When
(Chairman of the Independent
National Electoral Commission)
Prof. Attahiru Jega came up with the
use of card readers and Permanent
Voter Cards, technically, you would
have thought: ‘Thank God, we are
in the 21st century, we have
arrived.’ Take my state, Lagos, for
example, 5.9 million people were
registered to vote but until the
week before the election which
was fortunately postponed, we had
3.8 million PVCs delivered to Lagos.
That means 2.1 million people were
cut off. In areas where there was
insurgency, there was between 80
and 90 per cent distribution rate.
Most of Jega’s areas had no
problems. Thank God Jega is a
professor. Let’s assume that he is
teaching a 400-level class in a
university. He teaches Classes A, B
and C. In Class A, he has completed
the syllabus but in Class B, he
completed 60 per cent while in
class C, he only completed 30 per
cent of the syllabus and they are all
going to write the same
examination. Is that justifiable? Is
that equitable? Thus, just looking at
that, would he in his own mind, be
satisfied that he did a good job?
Remember he first had February 14
as the election day. We thank God it
was shifted. Yet he attributed the
shift to the insurgency and the
military wanting to operate. In his
heart of hearts, can he face his
Creator and say what he did was
fair? Technically, we must move
with the rest of the world but this
manipulation was so vicious. I come
from a highly politically-inclined
family. The late Herbert Macaulay
was my mother’s grandfather. Thus,
we have always been politically
vibrant in my family. I remember
the politics of the 1960s. I sat back
after the elections and when I saw
the political setting, I concluded
that after 50 years of independence
and meandering, we are back at the
starting block where we were in
1960. What have we achieved? The
Northern Peoples Congress is now
the All Progressives Congress. The
National Conference of Nigeria and
the Cameroons is now the PDP
which was in control of the Eastern
Region and the Western Region.
We have come full circle and we are
back to the starting point. I love
this nation but when we look at
how things are being done, there is
no equity, justice or fairness. I am
praying we will alter the course
and take the ship of state in a
direction where every Nigerian will
be proud to commit themselves to
the unity and indivisibility of
Nigeria. After an in-depth post-
mortem analysis of this election,
we will know that we have taken a
journey that has led to nowhere.
Are you saying the elections
were not credible despite
President Goodluck Jonathan’s
acceptance of defeat?
On the day of the presidential
election, at about 1pm, when the
card readers were not working,
suddenly Jega said we should go
manual. If you check the time it
takes for a person to be accredited
and the initial 500 people per
polling unit and later 750; you
would be shocked that over two
million people were accredited in
Kano within the remaining time
and they all voted. We must have
been a more developed country
than America to pull that off. The
result that came out of Kano was
1,903,999 and then I shuddered. If I
have to go to a classroom to teach
and analyse this result, I would say
there is no improvement at all and
it took us straight back to the 1960
setting. We are now back to the era
whereby people vote based on
tribal sentiments. This was the kind
of thing (former Head of State) Gen.
Yakubu Gowon wanted to stop and
that was why he came up with the
National Youth Service Corps
programme to put all of us in a
melting pot so that a Nigerian
colour could emerge but we have
not achieved that. Will this not
haunt Jega? He should go into the
inner-most chamber of his house
and beg God for forgiveness. I am
ready for a debate with him with
facts and figures. There needs to be
a total overhaul of INEC because if
not, it means one section of the
country will always determine who
becomes President. Does that
augur well for peace?
When President Goodluck Jonathan
conceded defeat, he said he knew
the election was manipulated and
that he was not a coward but he
had sworn that he would not allow
any Nigerian to be killed on his
own watch; thus, he threw in the
towel and wished Nigeria well. His
action doused a lot of tension.
There was heavy manipulation in
Lagos. Why would Ajegunle,
Ajeromi/Ifelodun’s ballot papers be
found in Kosofe Local Government?
Why would Kosofe’s ballot papers
be found in Ojo Local Government?
Why were hoodlums snatching
ballot papers and shooting into the
air? I have been calming frayed
nerves because there is a
graveyard silence in Lagos and
people are not happy about the
results. I have said we should not
conflagrate Lagos. We must follow
the example of the civility
exercised by our President, gather
our information as humanly
possible and head for the tribunal.
But the South-East and the
South-South gave the PDP
almost 100 per cent votes. Your
party also got millions of votes
from Rivers and Delta states.
Most of the states in those places
were originally PDP. The founding
founders of our party were people
who were of diverse backgrounds:
Alex Ekuweme, Bola Ige, Adamu
Ciroma and Abubakar Rimi came
together with others to form the
mega party that was Nigeria in all
It is on record that President
Jonathan got over N21bn the
week he announced his
intention to run. Lagos is also
said to have got the largest
chunk of the money in the
campaign chest. But PDP leaders
allegedly used the money to buy
mansions for themselves
instead of campaigning for
Jonathan. This was said to have
led to your party being
outwitted by the APC. What is
your response to this?
When we do a thorough post-
mortem analysis, you will get the
details. Those who collected the
money would have to explain
themselves. No kobo was sent
here. I have also heard of
complaints both from the APC and
the PDP. It shows you the level of
poverty of the mind and of the
stomach. People think politics is all
about self. The great orator, Cicero,
said we are not born for ourselves
alone but for service. If all they
know is ‘grab it’, how will the
money last them? The Yoruba say
money is for spending. Those who
stole the last time, where are they?
I was inundated here with
complaints of people collecting
money and fleeing. It was done by
the APC and the PDP. We will do an
analysis and reappraise. Some
people have disappeared like a
submarine. We will do analysis.
People cannot be fully trusted but
the people given the resources will
have to account for it.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd)
has a reputation of being an
incorruptible person. Do you
think he can clean up the
The new government hurriedly put
themselves together. They have no
taproot; no culture. All they are
after is power. On May 29, they will
have the power. When I listened to
Gen. Buhari’s economic postulation,
I laughed. The world is in the 21st
century. No one is talking about
establishing Nigerian Airways or
automatically turning a naira into a
dollar. He said he would look into
all the governors that have used
their state Houses of Assembly to
approve stupendous benefits for
themselves. He said he would
cancel it. But this is not a military
government. My oga will now know
what it means to deal with a
National Assembly and their
idiosyncrasies, state governors,
political parties and their
idiosyncrasies. I know Buhari to be
a man that does not want any stain
on his public posture. But when I
was young, my mother used to say,
‘show me your friends and I will tell
you who you are.’ Let my oga show
me his friends and I will tell him
who he is. Let him start to clean his
own household because it is filthy.
I am from this state and I have been
involved in politics since 1998. Bola
Tinubu and I have settled our
quarrel but facts are facts.
Friendship is different. If I still see
him, I will tell him to his face. His
acquisitive tendencies know no
bounds. He decided to bring (Akin)
Ambode to manipulate the system
and throw a lot of funds around.
Where is the growth in Lagos?
Are you saying Asiwaju Bola
Tinubu can stop Buhari from
doing well?
Are they not in the same party?
Who calls himself the national
leader of the party? If Tinubu says
let’s go South and Buhari says lets
go East, what happens? You cannot
have two captains on a ship. I told
you the APC has no taproot but it is
just an experimental party. I know
Buhari will not want to
contaminate himself but what of
those who have fast hands in the
tillers? We are waiting for him to
announce his cabinet. Four years is
a short time in the life of a nation.
He is almost 73 and he should fear
nothing. All he needs to do is to
leave a good name behind.
You once said if Tinubu finds his
way into national government,
you will go on exile. Now that he
has, when will you start packing
your bags?
There is nothing he can do to me. I
am not afraid of him and he knows
that but I am now 70 and most of
my children are abroad. My little
girl is also abroad. I will spend
more time there doing my
memoirs because if I am here, I will
be dealing with too many things.
The book will include my 16 years
of politics in Lagos and my youthful
You and Tinubu are believed to
be archenemies but a member
of your party, Buruji Kashamu,
has described him as a role
model for Yoruba and the
architect of modern Nigeria.
How do you see Tinubu now?
One little boy who just delved into
politics said I am a mole of Bola
Tinubu. He must have woken on the
wrong side of his bed. Bola and I
are not enemies; we are in two
different parties with different
ideologies. His concept of
operation is at variance with mine.
We are not enemies; we did not
grow up together. I even went to
his village in Iragbiji to campaign
for our party in Osun State. I met his
Oba there and they even showed
me his primary school. One of his
friends with whom he lived in
Ibadan was my classmate at the
University of Lagos.
Initially, he thought I hated him so
much and convolutedly conspired
to use a judge to put me in prison.
Whatever you sow, you will reap.
The Supreme Court said the
judgment was a conjecture which
means it never existed. They did
not know they were helping me to
go and rediscover myself. Of course
it was painful. We later met at the
Adamasingba Stadium Ibadan, at
the burial of my good friend, Alao
Arisekola. The Governor of Oyo
State, Abiola Ajimobi, who is a
younger brother of mine, sprang up
and said, ‘Why are you and Tinubu
not greeting each other?’ and I said
Bola is on a different planet from
mine. Oba Otudeko was also there
and he said, ‘today at the burial of
our mutual friend, Arisekola, we
should end our hostility’ and I told
them that he was involved in the
conspiracy to lock me up. They
called Bola, he shook my hand and
said he was sorry. It was in public.
Since then, if we meet in public, we
greet each other but our concepts
of politics are different.
For me, there is no enmity, just
differences in political approaches.
For me, democracy is about the
people, service and the majority of
the people choosing who will lead
them. His own concept is imperial.
He decides who should go to sleep
and who gets what. Now, there is
Gen. Buhari. If I remember the kind
of person he is and the Bourdillon
dictator, I wish them the best of
There are still those who believe
that if the PDP had chosen
Musiliu Obanikoro, it would
have performed better at the
polls because he is a grass roots
politician that would be able to
face Tinubu. What is your take?
Obanikoro face Bola Tinubu? When
people say such things, it baffles
me. Let him (Obanikoro) come out
openly and say it. Without mincing
words, whenever he needs
something, he (Obanikoro) comes
here to prostrate but you see I am
an irredentist of the truth. When I
know that you don’t have the
qualities needed for a job and you
are asking me to support you, I will
tell you the truth. So, he went out
to say he was going to campaign on
his own and I wished him the best
of luck. The people decided at the
primary because Jimi Agbaje was
unique. The public wanted him and
they voted for him. It was not about
Bode George. If I were a weak
leader, Obanikoro would have got
away with all his shenanigans.
Why did the PDP play the ethnic
card, pitting the Igbo against
the Yoruba after the Oba of
Lagos made threats against the
Igbo? This is believed to have
contributed to your party’s
That is arrant nonsense. I am happy
you asked this question. Before his
statement, candidates had
emerged and we were getting
ready for election. According to the
way I was brought up in Lagos, the
centre of commerce, everyone is
welcome. That is why Lagos is
different from every other city in
Nigeria. If you come from
anywhere, we accommodate you
because buying and selling was our
business. Thus, leaders of the
South-South and Igbo came and
said we should select some of their
indigenes for the National
Assembly and House of Assembly
elections. I told them we do not
select in the PDP except for where
you have an advantage. For
example, in Ojo, there are many
Igbos. In Ajegunle, Ajeromi/
Ifelodun, it is a mixture of Igbo and
people from Delta. In Amuwo
Odofin, there are a lot of Delta, Edo
and Igbo people.
As the leader of the party, I sat
down and asked my people, what is
democracy? It is about
representation. These people live
here, have properties here and pay
their taxes here. If they win, they
will be representing their
constituency that is made up of
their own ethnic group. Already,
some of them were members of
their local government executive
committees. They participated in
the primaries and won and for the
first time in the history of this state,
we have some Igbos who are
representing Lagos at the National
Assembly. They are not
representing the South-East but
their people in Lagos. Therefore, it
was not a matter of us playing the
ethnic card. It was my friend, the
kabiyesi, that was pitting the
Yoruba against the Igbo. When it is
time for local government
elections, it would be foolish of us
to go to Agege, where there is a
large northern population, and
present a Yoruba man as our
candidate. If you want to win, you
put their own person there. Lagos
is the melting pot and we are
showing the rest of Nigeria the
way. Tribalism must be buried and
totally abandoned and that was
why I said we have returned to the
1960 pattern of ethnic voting.
For the first time, the Lagos PDP
is on its own without federal
backing. How will you survive in
the opposition?
We will survive through dedication,
loyalty, sincerity of purpose and
absolute commitment. It is going to
be tough but this is when you will
sieve the boys from the men.
The failure of your party
nationally has been traced to the
defection of five governors,
which President Jonathan did
not handle properly. With the
benefit of hindsight, what
lessons can you take from this?
I will not like to talk about my
personal views because we have
not had our party post-mortem
analysis. Who did what, when and
how should be an internal matter. I
am a leader of the party and I
remain a full member of the caucus
and a life member of the Board of
Trustees and National Executive
Committee, hence, I will not wash
our dirty linen in public.
What will Jonathan be
remembered for?
He will be remembered for a lot of
things, one of which is his
meekness which is not a sign of
weakness. Even at the peak of
power, he kept his cool and history
will judge. He did not behave like a
bull in a China shop.
Your wife is the Director-General
of the National Drug Law
Enforcement Agency. Will you
allow her to continue with the
Buhari administration?
If Gen. Buhari asks her to continue, I
will not stop her. That is a very
sensitive organisation and requires
absolute trust of those in
government. We are not alone in
the fight against drugs. The
Europeans and Americans are
heavily involved in it. She is
brilliant and has gone through all
the trainings. She is very
competent. If they want her to
continue, it is fine but we have to
look at those she will work with. I
know Gen. Buhari. I will not say
more than that.
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PostSubject: Re: Tinubu has begged me for forgiveness — Bode George   2015-04-26, 07:08

dat all. He will.
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PostSubject: Re: Tinubu has begged me for forgiveness — Bode George   2015-04-26, 10:25

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PostSubject: Re: Tinubu has begged me for forgiveness — Bode George   2015-04-26, 12:17

You said it all
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