A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olabode George, has challenged any Nigerian who accuses his party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, of corruption, to cast the first stone if they’re truly above board.
The politician said that whatever Atiku might be accused or suspected of, he has learnt his lessons and is not likely to toe the same path.
George, who spoke on Sunday during a live radio programme, Discuss With Jimi Disu,
argued that as an ageing man, Atiku must have learnt from his past, and that he is better poised to lead the nation.
He said that Atiku is currently resting overseas where he is also fine-tuning his campaign strategy.
Referring to Presidential Muhammadu Buhari as his oga while they were both in the military, George said that he held Buhari responsible for the “shambolic things” that attended the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, asking the President to “rein in his party members so that the will of the people could be done.”
George said though Buhari might be a person of integrity, “the general perception of the President as the leader of the All Progressives Congress makes him culpable for any perceived shortcomings of the party, such as the outcome of the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.”
George argued that the outcomes of the elections were a “rip-off of the people of Osun and Ekiti states of their legitimate votes.”
“This is the perception of the international election observers,” George maintianed.
Asked if he thinks that Buhari is truly not in full control of his administration, George counselled the President to listen to the people through the footmen he should have appointed to gauge public feelings about his government.
George expressed doubts that Buhari won the 2015 presidential election fair and square, alleging that then President Goodluck Jonathan did not consult the party before he conceded defeat to Buhari.
“His concession came out of the blue. We were all surprised when we heard the breaking news that GEJ had conceded defeat,” George said.
Asked what the PDP apologised for at the peak of its desperation that it lost the 2015 elections after 16 years as the ruling party, George said the party’s national apology came after the PDP had realised its “mistakes.”
He said that the outcome of the PDP national convention was an attestation of its change of character and its readiness to correct the wrongs of the past and rule well.
On the Moshood Salvadore decamping from the PDP to APC in Lagos State, with Salvadore accusing George of being responsible for his eventual joining the opposition in the state, George said that Salvadore was forced to leave the PDP after he “veered off the rules of the party.”
He, however, refused to elaborate, saying that the case is still in court.
He disclosed that he was Salvadore’s mentor when the latter joined the PDP, and that he also advised him to contest the state PDP chairmanship when Salvadore showed interest.
He accused Salvadore of installing party leaders in certain areas in the state, a situation that George said led to fracas in which someone died.
George also denied any insinuation that he wanted to help Salvadore acquire some federal property, the failure of which, some people alleged, led to grudges between them.
George, who said that he would soon retire from active politics, said (the incumbent Lagos PDP chairman, Dr. Adebola Dominic, would work to capture Lagos for the party in the 2019 governorship election.
He also disclosed how Femi Otedola met him and said that he wanted to contest the Lagos governorship election on the PDP platform; and how it was Deji Doherty and Jimi Agbaje that eventually applied for party ticket, with Agbaje becoming the party’s candidate ultimately.
He expressed confidence in the Jimi Agbaje candidacy, saying that the PDP candidate’s silence since he won the primaries wasn’t unusual, and that he was only following the INEC rules that campaign can’t commence until the time scheduled.
The party leader said that Mr. Agbaje’s refusal to speak up against vexing issues of public interest in Lagos is no insinuation that he won’t be an effective governor if elected.
On his opinion about restructuring, George said that PDP has agreed that Nigeria must be restructured, and that it is a policy of the party for each region to have control over certain percentage of whatever it produces.
“Abuja would still be there, but it won’t be the all in all as we have now, and each state will be compelled to live on the resources it generates, instead of waiting hand and foot on Abuja,” George says.
Bode George did not respond when a listener tweeted to remind him that despite his reservations about Buhari, he should realise the President’s “magnanimity” in retaining Mr. George’s wife, Roli, as the Director General/Secretary to the Board of the NDLEA, even when both of them are in the opposition.
He, however, said it was mundane for anyone to ask Buhari to produce his WASSCE certificate, insisting that Buhari should rather be judged on the basis of his performance as President.
“As a retired General, Buhari attended many institutions, some of which are equivalent to postgraduate studies.
“Nigerians should therefore judge him on the basis of his performance and not on the veracity or otherwise of any certificate,” George said.
He would, however, not respond to his host’s question as to who to blame for Nigeria’s woes between the present and past administrations.