PDP: Obasanjo’s withdrawal is a family affair — Bode George

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Chief Olabode George, a former national vice chairman (South) of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, was recently
absolved of graft conviction by the Supreme Court which set aside a Lagos High Court ruling. In this interview, George said former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s decision to temporarily withdraw his activities from the PDP at all levels remains a PDP affair. While picking holes in the decision five governors of the PDP to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and begged them to return, he said the APC would not constitute a threat to the PDP in 2015. He expressed satisfaction with the apex court’s verdict and said he does not begrudge any one involved in the conspiracy against him. Excerpts:


What is your reaction to  the decision of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to withdraw from the activities of the PDP because of Chief Buruji Kashamu?
I do not want to get into that kind of discussion because it will be a whole night of another letter. When you go to the market place to discuss your family matter, then you are gone. This is a PDP problem, we will discuss it in the PDP enclave, it is not meant for public consumption.

We will do the analysis and find out where we went wrong, what happened, how it happened and how we can prevent it from happening in the future. That is the way I was trained. But if it was against the opposition, I will say it in the open.

This is a family issue that must be discussed at the family meeting because these are serious issues that must be discussed in-house, so that we can correct the anomaly.

Correcting the anomally
So, I do not want to get into the quagmire of saying who is right or wrong. My grandmother used to tell us if you go to the market place to criticise your parents, then you will have to rethink whether to return to that house or not. So, for me, it is an issue for the PDP family.

There is not doubt that there is crisis in the PDP within the South-West but where do you want to start from considering the fact that you have been away for sometime?
When you have been part of a system, no matter how long you have been out you will know how to handle situations when you come back. We need to sit down and X-ray all the problems.
For me, having been part of those who built the party, all these things happening have happened before. There is nothing new under the sun but we must be fair and honest to ourselves. At the meeting, we will lock the door and tell ourselves the truth.

On the issue of what we are going to do, we suggested that there should be a caretaker committee to reconcile all the warring factions in the South-West before heading to the zonal congress. Let all the warring factions calm down because I know all that happened but everybody is important.

My mission now is to beg all the aggrieved members. The Yoruba are politically knowledgeable people and very sophisticated politically. If you go and explain to them, they will understand because they know who is lying to them. It is possible for us to chart our course.

We know there are no zonal executives for the PDP in the South-West, we will resolve that. With all the silly mistakes that have been made in the party, how can there be peace? I am happy the president is now at the steering wheel, we will meet and we will tell ourselves real family issues. We are not going to apportion blames but we will state categorically what needs to be corrected.

On the five PDP governors who defected to the APC
I have spoken to some of the governors who were so angry and left. I cracked a joke to them that you are a landlord here; suddenly, you were so angry that because some rats have infested your house, you decided to go and become a tenant somewhere else. Now, when the landlord needs his house, what would you, tenant, do? We will be stupid to say we do not have crisis in the PDP.
I also want to beg the aggrieved governors; they must know that two wrongs do not make a right. They were initially correct about the dissolution in their states but they were wrong in jumping ship. We are all humans but we will talk.

On APC’s perceived threat to PDP in 2015 polls
I have said it before that General Buhari and Bola Tinubu are like day and night, they can never meet. This experimentation the APC Army wants to start, we started it in 1998. You can still see the friction within the PDP. If you think Nigerians are ready for experimentation, it is false, it will not be possible. The APC leaders have not even allocated offices to themselves and that is where the crisis will start. Do you think Nigeria is ready for that?

No human being is like God, to err is human, but to forgive is divine. We (PDP) must sit down as a party and ensure that we head in the right direction and forget about whistling in the dark.

How do you see the Supreme Court’s verdict which set aside the lower courts’ ruling against you in the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) alleged corruption saga?
I want to first of all thank the God Almighty for making that day a special day because for five years, it was a dark cloud. I also want to thank God that eventually, the truth has been revealed because it was not a matter of the judgment, which was very well written and captured. One thing the judgment did to me was that it gladdened my mind and reinvigorated my commitment to this country that there is hope for this country and that there are still people in this country who cannot be bought.

If you recall, most of the times that I said we did not commit any crime, but it was a convoluted conspiracy. Can you blame the opposition for capitalising on it? People within the PDP family were part and parcel of the conspiracy. The enemies within are worse than the enemies from outside because how could it have happened? First, there was no law existing, a federal agency went to Lagos State, they know the political opposition to us, but they were part of the conspiracy. It is a lesson.

That has come and gone but nothing happens without the knowledge of the Almighty God and it was that faith that kept me through. I was given a cup of vinegar to drink while in prison but God turned it into a cup of honey and so, who am I to complain? It is now historical but there will be a day of reckoning. What can I say but to thank God Almighty?

I almost lost hope thinking that the whole judiciary was rotten and corrupt but I am still convinced that there are good people in the judiciary who still have integrity. Once there is no justice, there will never be peace.
Like I said, I have no malice, I have no hatred towards anyone but the story must be told so that the younger ones coming must be able to learn that if you live on the path of perfidy, you are not going to last long, there will be a day of judgment. So, my reaction is that I have left that behind me because it was a rare privilege to have gone to the university of life. I am back. I cannot take revenge because vengeance is for God.

Do you intend to sue anyone?
People have been telling me to sue but I leave all to God. Even within the PDP, they directed some of our party members to take me to court asking that my name should be struck out as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Who directed them from the party secretariat? It was the national chairman.
Where were they when I built the party in the South-West? If you look at those who perpetuated it and sold it to the enemy camp, none of them today is in any position of responsibility.  I do not believe that Nuhu Ribadu was part of the conspiracy because he absolved himself from their conspiracy. I will continue to talk about it to educate the younger ones but someday, what goes around, comes around. So, I do not intend to take any legal action against anyone.


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