Ayo Fayose, former governor of Ekiti state on Sunday revealed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo masterminded the incarceration of Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over tussle for the party’s national chairmanship position.
Chief George had in an interview with Daily Independent accused Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos state governor and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo who was the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Tinubu’s government as the men behind his incarceration during the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) crisis.
Although he was sentenced to two years imprisonment, alongside five others, by an Ikeja High Court on October 27, 2009, without an option of a fine, he appealed the judgment after serving his term and the Supreme Court quashed the conviction in 2013.
Speaking with Daily independent correspondent, Fayose said it is wrong for George to be accusing him of sabotaging his efforts to become the national chairman of PDP, saying events has shown that God has not destined him for the position.
According to him, as Ekiti governor, he was in Ota when Obasanjo who wanted to become the chairman of the PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT) said he will ensure that he caused trouble for Bode George so that he will not have time to contest for the PDP National chairmanship position.
He said “Let me say that Chief Bode George is our leader; I don’t want to fight him. Sincerely, I don’t want to fight him. He imagined that I was the one that didn’t allow him to become PDP national chairman; that is his grouse. I want to say to him, if God has destined him to be national chairman, he would have been. Fayose is not God that can stop anybody”.
“He keeps saying I stopped him and I keep saying to him too that when I wanted to become governor in 2014, he did not support me. He worked against me. He worked with the likes of Jumoke Akindele to work against me. He worked with Dayo Adeyeye at a time. But let us be very honest, politics is all about interests. So, I don’t want to blame him”.
“He said he gave me N250, 000. I can’t remember him doing that but even if he has given me money, I have given a lot of people contesting elections money. I have done favours to Chief Bode George when I was sitting governor. Do I come to the streets and start saying I bought Chief Bode George this and that?. That is not equally matured. Any politician saying I give this person money is a man of little mind. I don’t want to say oga is a little mind but I don’t expect oga to be saying I gave Fayose N250,000. What is N250,000?”
“When he was in prison, I went to see him. He will recall that when Baba (Olusegun Obasanjo) said he will go to prison, I was the one who went to him to come and tell him. Then I was a sitting governor. I left Ota and came to Lagos to meet him that Baba Obasanjo said he will send you to prison; that arrangement has been made for you to go to prison. He can’t deny that”.
“I was in Obasanjo’s bedroom in Ota when he told me ‘that Bode, he will pay for it dearly. He will end up in prison. He wants to be national chairman, let’s see how he will do it’. When I heard from Obasanjo, I ran to Chief Bode George to inform him that Baba Obasanjo had insisted that Nuhu Ribadu, the then EFCC chairman should file your paper quickly, saying ‘what Bode will be facing, he will not have time for national chairman’.
“It was in Transcorp Hilton that that crisis happened where Obasanjo and Anenih had issues. It was because Obasanjo wants to be BoT chairman and Bode George wants to be National Chairman”.
“ It was on the issue of this national chairman that sent Chief Bode George to prison. Chief Bode George wants to be national chairman; Obasanjo wants to be BoT chairman. The late Tony Anenih eventually became the BoT chairman. Obasanjo believe that Chief Bode George was going to disturb his bid, that was why Chief Bode George was charged to court”.
“You will see that he was exonerated at the end of the day. Most of the people out there don’t have these facts. So, if God has not given you the national chairmanship position that time and he has not given you this time, just know that it is not the will of God for you”.
On the statement by Bode George that he is behaving like a greatly disturbed child, Fayose says “If Chief Bode George says that I am a greatly disturbed child, I take it as a compliment because we learned from the master. Oga Bode George trained us, we followed him in politics”.
“So, if we are behaving like a disturbed child, he will be more like a disturbed great grandfather. If you look at his age, he ought to have retired now and that does not disrespect to him. When I get to his age, I will stay away. I have children”.
“I think Oga Bode George is close to 80 years now, that means he is about the age of my mum. Should he and I be struggling? He should be older than me by 18 years and I am older than Makinde by nine years. So, when you compared the difference you will know that mine is excusable, but his is not”.
“But as a matter of principle, he is our leader and we will still consider him as that. But when you eat on the dining table and you don’t know when to retreat, stupid flies will drive you away from that dining table”.
“Chief Bode George is supposed to be the right arbiter to resolve this matter. If those languages are coming from him, then it is unfortunate. When an elder is found where they are supposed to be, there will be less crisis. If I join issues with him, I will be going out of the real issues, so, I don’t want to join issues with him”.