…’I’ve No Running Battle With President-Elect’ -George

In the interest of peace in Lagos State and for the betterment of the state and the country at large, elders of Lagos State have brokered a reconciliation between the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Deputy Natıonal Chairman, South, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George.

This is following a prolonged frosty relationship between the President-elect, Asiwaju Tinubu and Chief George.

The elders, led by a retired justice of the Lagos State High Court, 94-year-old Justice Isola Olorunnimbe, included the chairman of the highest advisory body in the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Governance Advisory Council, GAC, and Lagos prince, Prince Tajudeen Olusi, two former deputy governors of the state – Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who is also the Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to the President on SDGs, and Prince Abiodun Ogunleye – Chief Layi Ogunbambi and a retired civil servant, Alhaji Satari Arileshere, met behind closed doors with Chief George at his Ikoyi office on Saturday.

Speaking with newsmen after the closed-door meeting, which lasted till late in the night, George said that he bears no grudge against the former governor of Lagos State.

Recall however that over the years, George has been a major critic of the President-elect and has threatened to go on exile if Tinubu becomes Nigeria’s President.

But some elders in Lagos State at the weekend, met with the PDP leader and impressed it on him to support and collaborate with Tinubu as he assumes office on May 29, not only in the interest of the Centre of Excellence, which produced the President-elect, but in the overall interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Others in attendance at the meeting were former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, former acting Secretary of the PDP, Chief Remi Akitoye; former Minister of Communications, and trustee of Omo Eko Pataki, a socio-cultural organisation, Major General Tajudeen Olarenwaju, rtd, Chief Gbadebo Dallas and Mrs Onikepo-Oshodi.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Chief George commended the elders for the peace parley, insisting that it is a positive step towards a new Lagos.

On the thrust of the meeting, requesting him to support and collaborate with the President-elect and cease further fire against Tinubu, the Atona Oodua of Yorubaland said that he has nothing personal against the President-elect.

He said, “Let me say there is just 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 he had to come and see me 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, we are Lagosians, though we can have 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’s. 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.”

Speaking on the purpose of the meeting, the GAC chairman informed that the meeting was to seek the collaboration of George and other elders of Lagos for the development of Lagos State.

Prince Olusi 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 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, rtd, 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.”

Giving a brief comment on the meeting and it’s outcome, retired Justice Olorunnimbe described the meeting as fruitful.

The reverred justice said, “The discussion was cordial, frank and interesting. There is a consensus 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 Lagos community, discussing with another elder statesman, who all of us have great respect for.”


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