As part of the efforts to build bridges and ward off the incessant attacks on the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, by the former Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George, the loyalists of the former Lagos State governor yesterday visited George in his Lugard Road, Ikoyi office to solicit support for the incoming President of Nigeria.
George, a fierce critic of Tinubu, had vowed to go into exile if the former Lagos State governor who was the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged as Nigeria’s president in the 2023 general election.
“I have not changed my mind, if he (Tinubu) is the president I will go.
“If Tinubu wins, by that time I will be 80 years old. What am I doing here? I will wish you people well,” George had told ARISE NEWS Channel in November 2022.
Speaking after Tinubu was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential election, the PDP chieftain said although he was yet to decide on his destination, his self-imposed exile remains in the works.
George added that he plans to retire to “anywhere in any part of the world” because Tinubu’s victory “might be a hell of a problem.”
“That is still on my plan. If I decide on what to do, I wish you well. I’m not looking for a job, I have everything I want and how much can I eat? I also have my children and they are no longer kids,” he said.
“They are all mature so what am I looking for? My wife is there. She will take good care of me. I will stay in Nigeria depending on the outcome of this (post-election litigation) because I know there might be a hell of a problem.
“You know I am a military lord so I can go anywhere in any part of the world and I will be looking at you people.
“I have even decided that having put 25 years each in the military and politics which is 50 years of my life in the public domain, I need rest so whatever I see at the end of this thing. I’m retiring from partisan politics and will be enjoying the rest of my life.”
But in an apparent move to ward off further criticism, Tinubu’s loyalists and leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos yesterday met with George.
The delegation was led by the chairman of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC), the foremost political platform in the state, Prince Tajudeen Olusi.
The GAC is an influential group comprising critical stakeholders of the APC in Lagos State.
It determines who gets what in Lagos politics.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who was supposed to be part of the delegation could not make it for undisclosed reasons.
Also on the delegation is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs and former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adoke Orelope-Adefulire.
Though the meeting was closed-door, THISDAY was reliably informed that the APC leaders were seeking George’s support for Tinubu as he assumes power on May 29.
It was also gathered that the APC leaders were mounting pressure on George to cease further media attacks on Tinubu.
At the meeting, George said that he was happy that the delegation visited him and insisted that he had nothing personal against Tinubu.
Accompanied by former Deputy Governor, Mrs. Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor, and Major General Tajudeen Olanrewaju (rtd), among others, George, however, made it clear that because of his position and membership of an opposition party, he would not congratulate Tinubu until after litigations related to the election are concluded.
George who expressed appreciation to the delegation, admitted that “we had detailed discussions on the unity of this great state of Lagos. I must say we established the fact that the culture of Lagos is to accept and accommodate all kinds of people and tribes. And if you get to Lagos State, there is no known tribe in Nigeria that does not reside here. That’s what makes Lagos the commercial nerve centre of the whole of West Africa.
“Secondly, on the details of us working together, because a divided house cannot stand, we will work together on this. And I’ve said I have absolutely nothing personal between me and Tinubu,” George added.