Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Olabode George, a former national vice-chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, has said a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, is not qualified to be Nigeria’s president.
Mr George, who was a guest at Arise TV’s The Morning Show programme Wednesday, accused Mr Tinubu of appropriating the resources of Lagos State and using it to destabilise the PDP.
“When I listened to [Adeseye] Ogunlewe saying he is the best candidate for this country, that kept me thinking. Because if you go into your archives you would have seen the comments, vicious comments made by Ogunlewe against Bola Tinubu. Because he’s there now?
“Why can’t people be consistent? Why are you dancing like a masquerade in the market? If we take the eight years he spent as governor in Lagos to put on a scale between one and 10, he’ll not score more than 1.
“We are still talking about the way he has appropriated the resources of this state. Alpha-Beta that he is still using to appropriate the treasury of Lagos state, is still on. For God’s sake, so is that the kind of man we want? No sir.”
Mr George, 75, was responding to the former minister of Works, Mr Ogunlewe, who appeared earlier in the programme and threw his weight behind Mr Tinubu as very qualified to lead Nigeria in 2023.
Mr Ogunlewe, 77, was formerly a member of the PDP before his defection to the ruling APC in 2019.
Mr Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, was the governor of Lagos State between 1999 and 2007. Although he has not officially declared his intention to run for president in 2023, several support groups championing his candidacy have sprung up over the past few months.
“I am ready to debate with Ogunlewe anywhere, even in the graveyard at 3 0’clock in the morning. He’s talking absolute nonsense,” Mr Goerge continued.
“The best man to be Nigerian president? I will do whatever is necessary to review and renounce my citizenship. That kind of fellow? You think Lagos is better off? You all live here. See the traffic. Once the rains are here look at the state, no drains. look at what they put at the Bar Beach.
“What about the toll gate? They paid him about 30 something billion for the toll gate, and the Lagos State government is now coming to say they have now taken over the full control of the toll gate. What the heck is going on? This is my state.
“We have people who are former governors, if they had behaved like what he is doing there would have been nothing for him. So to have it in my head that that character will be nominated, please go and check all of them, something is wrong with them.”
The Lagos State government terminated the concession agreement on the Lekki Epe expressway with the Lekki Concession Company in 2013. Although the government did not provide the full details of the transaction, it is estimated that it paid about N30 billion to retrieve the concession right on the expressway from LCC.
Mr George also questioned Mr Tinubu’s academic credentials, urging him to present them for scrutiny.
“I’ll bet you any amount of money. Let Bola bring out the certificate of his primary school, his secondary school, and the university he attended. We want to see them.
“Because I remember in 1998 or 1999 when we had the elections. When they raised his schooling papers that he filled to INEC. They now asked him to produce all those papers. He said he went to Government College Ibadan and the Children Hope School in Ibadan. We went there we checked. Where is your certificate? Nothing. When they were going to hoist him, he quickly said that it wasn’t him that signed it, it was Afikuyomi that filled it.
“If you have genuine certificate, you went to a particular school, you must have friends because you won’t be the only one in that college. I am shocked that Ogunlewe will be saying this in public. He knows for real that this fellow doesn’t have all the certificates and I’m not hiding it. Let him bring them out. The days of lying and telling a load of bull is over, whatever you have tell us.”
In 2013, a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court dismissed an application seeking to compel the Inspector-General of Police to investigate Mr Tinubu over allegations of certificate forgery. According to the court, the applicant failed to file the suit within the stipulated time as mandated by the rules of the court.
In a letter Mr George had written to the PDP hierarchy, he had alleged that Mr Tinubu had planted stooges in the party to destabilise it.
”First of all, I didn’t know how that document got to the press. That was meant for discussion at the meeting because it’s a family meeting. I will not divulge my own information in the public. If you have a family quarrel, you don’t go to the marketplace to try and start discussing your issues. I was shocked that the thing got out to the press,” he said.
”But having said that, I’m prepared to defend what I said. I won’t talk publicly because there are people who are involved and it should be an internal consumption for the party people to listen. We know the role he’s playing both in Lagos and outside. He would send some people to come and join our party, to be able to get information about all the plans we are doing. Because he has this humongous amount of money, stolen from the treasury of Lagos State.
”I’m still saying it, that he is the greatest headache in politics in Nigeria today. How can one single man be acquiring almost N9 billion every 30 days? It just doesn’t make sense. And they haven’t done anything. I’m expecting him to have been invited. The man who managing director of Alpha-Beta, he also sent a memo signed by him, of what is going on with the Alpha-Beta, nobody has done anything. It’s a shame.
“So how he affects our party is for our internal consumption and I won’t discuss that in the public. If it is us versus Bola, I am ready but we should warn our people, we know because of the humongous amount of money that he has stolen, he is ready to, like a cancer, getting into everywhere. It’s not right.”
Mr Tinubu’s media officer, Tunde Rahman, did not respond to requests for comment on Mr George’s claims against his principal.
Last year, a former managing director of Alpha-Beta, Dapo Apara, had accused Mr Tinubu of using the consulting firm for money laundering.
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