By Wilson Adekumola
The former Deputy National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Olabode George, has disclosed that what has happened between him and the President-elect, Asuwaju Bola Tinubu has gone noting that he has no personal gudge with him.
According to Vanguard, Chief George made this disclosure during a meeting held by some elders in Lagos State to mediate between Bode George and Bola Tinubu over their strained relationship.
George, the former Military Governor of Ondo State has been a major antagonist of the former Lagos State Governorand over the yearsvowing to go on exile if Tinubu becomes Nigeria’s president.
Some elders in Lagos State, however, held a meeting with the PDP leader and calling on Bode George to throw his weight behind the President-elect just as they asked him to collaborate with Tinubu as he is swore-in on May 29.
It was gathered that the former judge of the Lagos State High Court, Justice Ishola Olurunnimbe (retd) brokered truce between George and Tinubu at the meeting.
Attendees at the prolonged meeting that was extended to Saturday were leader of the Governance Advisory Council, GAC, the apex leadership of the party in Lagos State, Prince Tajudeen Olusi; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; former Deputy Governors of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele and Prince Abiodun Ogunleye.
Others present are former acting Secretary of the PDP, Chief Remi Akitoye; former Minister of Communications, Major General Tajudeen Olarenwaju (retd); Chief Gbadebo Dallas and Mrs Onikepo Oshodi.
While speaking after the meeting, the former chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority, hailed the elders for sueing for peace adding that it is a positive step towards a new Lagos.
On the request made by the APC leaders urging him to bury the hatchet against Tinubu, the PDP leader said he has nothing personal against the President-elect.
Bode George said, “Let me say there is no political differences. Justice Olorunnimbe is like a father, we respect our fathers in Lagos. When I got an invitation from Papa Olusi that he wanted to come and see me the first time, I told my friend who delivered the message that I should go and visit him and not the other way round. But Papa Olusi said said he had to come and see and that it had to do with the situation in Lagos.
“This is the second time Papa Olusi is visiting. We had detailed discussions that bothered on the unity of Lagos. I must say we re-established the fact that the culture of Lagos is to accept and accommodate other tribes.
“Secondly, on the details of us working together, because a divided house will be a defeated house, I have explained to Baba Olusi that there is no problem about working together. The kind of platform we are trying to have is for a unity of purpose in Lagos State, irrespective of party affiliations.
“On the bottom line, you are a Lagosian though we can different political affiliations.
“Now, they came for three things: they talked about the running battle I had with Tinubu and I have said I absolutely have no battle, nothing personal between him and I.
“What had happened has gone, vengeance is not mine but the almighty God. We will have differences, we will disagree but we must not be disagreeable.
“They made a request which we are all looking at. They requested that someday we should also congratulate Asiwaju and we said yes, but that I belong to a political party. They are all in the courts now. Let us finish the court cases. Whichever way that goes, the issue of congratulating him or not will come to fruition. I have nothing personal and nothing happens without the almighty God. As a believer, that is my school of thought.
“This union and discussion we have had is a positive step towards a new Lagos.”
While explaining the purpose of the visit, Chief Olusi said, the meeting was to seek the collaboration of George and other elders for the development of Lagos State.
He said, “This is a gathering of eminent Lagosians and this is my second coming to meet with Chief Olabode George. The president-elect of Nigeria is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, he was a former Senator from Lagos but we know that the relationship between the President-elect and Chief Olabode George is not cordial. We think it is important that as leaders of the community, we should take steps to improve the relationship. Therefore, I got an appointment with Chief George on May 1, 2023 to discuss and request for a further meeting.
“I also requested that a former justice in Lagos State, Justice Olorunnimbe (retd) be here to put his elderly posture as well as his experience in ensuring that we have a cordial discussion with Chief Bode George.
“The meeting has been cordial and useful; and I can tell you that we have agreed on the mission of this delegation that we, in Lagos with Chief Bode George, should give our support to the President-elect as soon as he assumes office on May 29 as the president of Nigeria for the good of Lagos and betterment of the country.
“That is the purpose of our discussion and it has been successful.”
Also speaking, Justice Olorunnimbe (retd), who brokered the peace parley, expressed joy that the meeting was fruitful.
The former judge said, “The discussion was cordial, frank and interesting. There is a concensus that we, as leaders of the community must cooperate. Chief Bode George, in his usual human approach hosted us and we had a fruitful discussion which will benefit all of us.
“Let me make it known that this is not a political meeting but a meeting of elders of the Lagos community, discussing with another elder statesman, who all of us have great respect for.”