I remain a threat to APC – Bode George
Former Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George has implored President Muhammadu Buhari to order the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to probe former governor of Lagos State, and a chieftain of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially, his tenure as governor of the state and involvement with subsequent APC-led administrations in the state.
He made the call in this interview with Tunde Thomas, saying that nobody can retire him from politics ahead of his time. George also spoke on other national issues.
Some APC stalwarts including the party's chairman in Lagos State, Chief Henry Ajomale have declared that the party will use the forthcoming council polls in Lagos State to retire you and other PDP leaders like Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe from politics, what is your reaction to this?
This is laughable. Nobody can retire me from politics.
Although I'm a septuagenarian, that doesn't mean I will retire from politics. There are people that are older than me that are still in politics. People like Chief Tony Anenih, Chief Olu Falae and others. Even the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo played politics until his death, same for the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
APC is a party of jokers. These people are day-dreaming if they think I will quit politics. Ajomale and other APC leaders are afraid of me. They feel threatened that I, Ogunlewe and others have become a thorn in their flesh as we have consistently been challenging and exposing them about how they have been mismanaging the resources of Lagos State.
Lagosians are suffering due to the maladministration of APC government. The Lagos State of old which Ajomale was part of was saner. There were more projects and developments than now. I went to school here in Lagos, and also some other people, and then there was quality. But Lagos of today, things have been turned upside down. There has been a systematic marginalization of Lagos State indigenes in key appointments by the APC.
Politics is not my first line of profession, but I have interest in it and I owe it as duty with other patriotic elements to rescue Lagos from APC misrule. If they are talking about retiring me and others from politics, is Ajomale not older than me? He should retire before me.
However, if I decide today to quit politics, I have no regret about what I have done in politics. I'm a full fledged engineer of 47 years in politics. I have a second address, but some of these people have no other job except politics. It is interest that is sustaining me in politics and there are people looking up to me, and I can't afford to abandon them especially in the mission to rescue Lagos State.
During the last general elections, PDP put up a superlative performance, and we knew how many local governments we won during the general elections. Even the last time council elections was held in Lagos PDP won, but APC later manipulated the result using LASIEC, but this time around APC should know that things have changed and Lagosians are not stupid.
As the saying goes, everyday is for the thief but one day is for the owner. One day Lagosians will get tired of APC shenanigans, and people like Ajomale will pay a bad price for it. Cheating, no matter how long, there will be a day of reckoning. In his own heart of heart, can Ajomale tell God that APC has been winning all the elections in Lagos State free and fair?
For the local government election that is due to come up, we will insist that results must be announced at the point of collation, and not at LASIEC headquarters in Birrell Street, Yaba. That is against the rule of the game.
I will decide on my own the day I want to quit politics. Papa Ayo Adebanjo, Adenihun Ajayi who are older than me are still in politics - for Ajomale and APC to say they will retire me from politics is a mere beer parlour talks.
For how long has Lagos State government saying they will conduct local government elections? But they have keep on changing the goal posts. This is a sign of fear by APC, and this is a big shame on APC.
Are you saying that APC is afraid of losing the election, and that's the reason the council polls is being postponed every now and then?
They have been shifting the dates, and this is a sign of fear of defeat. What is so difficult about council elections that is taking LASIEC eternity to conduct it? LASIEC is sympathetic to APC's cause, and they know that if elections are held today, PDP will crush APC.
It has been over a year that they have been telling us that council polls will be conducted, but instead of that they just put caretaker committees to run affairs of the council.
But what give you the impression that PDP is very popular in Lagos having lost the state to APC since 1999?
APC has been manipulating the results. PDP is still very popular in Lagos State. We won several local governments hitherto controlled by APC during the last general elections, and unlike before we now have PDP members in Lagos State House of assembly as well in the House of Representatives.
I was at a recent function of the party in Lagos State recently, and I was shocked by the huge turnout of Lagosians. I couldn't believe the crowd.
We have some enemies within PDP who are working for APC but we have identified them and we are going to isolate them.
If the council elections are conducted today, we are ready for APC.
Although we are no longer in control of the federal government, but we are going to prove our mettle, and APC will be shocked.
In the general elections last year, PDP even beat Ajomale in his constituency at Osodi-Isolo. He should not even be talking about PDP.
After PDP thrashed Ajomale in his constituency, I had expected him to resign. APC is a party of one man who imposes his will on others and that's Bola Tinubu.
Lagosians like I said earlier are now wiser. It is no longer business as usual - the days of rigging and manipulation by APC is over in Lagos.
PDP was even poised to win the state last year but for some people that deceived former President Goodluck Jonathan. They collected money from him but failed to deliver.
Though we were sidelined by these group of people led by Obanikoro, but to God be the glory we worked tirelessly for the party and this is why we were able to have PDP members in Lagos State House of Assembly and House of Representatives today.
Those who deceived Jonathan and other PDP leaders should explain how they failed to deliver. If Jonathan had not been deceived and he had dealt with the right people, PDP would have been in control of Lagos State by now.
A Lagos State-based organization recently accused the APC-led administration of marginalizing Lagos State indigenes in appointment of key officers in the state administration especially since Governor Akinwunmi Ambode took over, do you agree?
Since 1999 we have been raising this alarm. At that time when I started shouting about this injustice, they called me all sort of names but now I am being vindicated.
Although Lagos State is a melting point in Nigeria, in the last election, we in PDP looked at the demographic figures, and where we had concentration of non-indigenes PDP picked its candidates from these non-indigenes, and where we had the indigenes in majority we field them there and this strategy worked, as you now have non-Yoruba speaking people now in Lagos State House of Assembly, and also representing Lagos State at the National Assembly.
While it is good to extend hand of fellowship to others, and relate with them as fellow Nigerians, it is however not good to sideline indigenes in key appointments. APC should not turn Lagos State into a no man's land. Indigenes should be given their dues, and it will be unfair to deny them their rights. How would a bona fide Lagosian finish school and be looking for job, and yet when a non- Lagosian finish, he will be given job in Lagos State while an indigene is denied appointment. This is against the spirit of equity and justice.
But APC has been oppressing Lagosians. Look at the case of James Faleke that contested Kogi State governorship election, but the same man is still at the House of Representatives representing Lagos State, how do you explain that? It is an insult to indigenes of Lagos State. It shows you how APC's emperor, Bola Tinubu has been running the party.
How many of the commissioners in Lagos State are really indigenes, but let a Lagosian go to another state looking for job or political appointment, they will tell them Lagosians can't come and take our people's jobs here. You can then see the level of injustice being done to Lagosians.
With the crisis in PDP in Lagos State, that is,talking about factionalisation between members loyal to state chairman, Captain Tunji Shelle, and those loyal to Musiliu Obanikoro's faction led by Kamal Olorunoje, do you think your party has any chance against APC in the council poll?
There is no crisis in PDP in Lagos State. We are all one members of the same family. Shelle is the authentic chairman of the party in Lagos State and with elders like me, Senator Seye Ogunlewe and others giving support.
Forget about Olorunoje or whatever name he call himself. Nobody recognise him and his paymaster Obanikoro. They are not good party members. They are ambitious, and lack respect for elders and constituted authorities. Nobody reckon with them in the party, and they amount to nothing. They are rebels. If they become sober, and repentant, we will be ready to work with them, but if they remain recalcitrant, nobody misses them, they are good riddance to bad rubbish. More than 99 per cent of our members are with Shelle. We are all one happy family.
I want to assure you and Nigerians that APC's days are numbered in Lagos. PDP will use the local government election to prove that APC crash is imminent in Lagos State. - The Sun.