By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Henry Umoru
The planned visit by the national executive officers of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday to Chief Bode George, at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos, did not materialise even as he waited endlessly for them.
A reliable source close to George, who was at the prison for a visit, said he (George) was in high spirit in spite of his conviction and was expecting some delegates from the party to visit him preparatory to charting a way forward in solving his problems.
However, he said some unnamed members of the party’s Board of Trustees were at the prison on a solidarity visit.
According to the source, â€œthe party has said they will not in anyway interfere in the judicial process, but will not let him off as well.â€
It was learnt that the failure of the national leadership of PDP to show up at the prison was because of the official position of the party on his issue.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Alkali, the party noted that: â€œIt was unnecessary and counter-productive to impute political undertones to judicial pronouncements, especially when the issues at stake have no direct political bearings.â€
The party, according to Alkali, would ensure that judicial process run its full course.
The party said though the former chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who was sentenced alongside five other board members, reserve the right to appeal the judgment, it stressed that there was no sacred cow in the administrationâ€™s strive to operate a zero-tolerance policy on corruption.
Part of the statement reads: â€œThe PDP has observed with amusement the recent activities of some commentators in the media and the undue politicisation of the judgment of an Ikeja High Court involving some former members of the Board of Directors of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
â€œThe PDP, therefore, finds it amusing that some politicians have taken advantage of this judgment to cast aspersions on the party as if it was not the PDP government that has provided the enabling environment for the independence of the judiciary.
â€œWe also find it strange that some critics are still unwilling to give credit to the Federal Government even when significant milestones have been achieved and are glaring for all to see.
â€œRather than engage idle politicians who have no fresh ideas to offer on the direction of our country, we shall continue to stick to our principles of allowing every judicial process run full circle.
“We also wish to state that Chief Olabode George and the others reserve the right to appeal this judgment just like every other Nigerian and they must not be denied this right for the simple reason that they are involved in politics,â€ it added.
Meanwhile, the Vanguard source who was at the prison said in spite of the tight visiting schedule of the facility, some of his loyalists and party supporters still thronged there to show their solidarity.
Vanguard also gathered that as a prisoner, the PDP chieftain has been given prison official number but yet to wear the uniform as reported.
He said: â€œwhen he joined us at the visiting office, he was wearing a native Buba and Sokoto, not any prison uniform.â€
Already, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is putting finishing touches in its response to the â€˜bail-pending appealâ€™ filed by the convicts to get temporary relief from the court that sentenced them.
The anti-graft agencyâ€™s counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, said he will file the processes at the Ikeja High Court Registry today.