The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has denied apologising to the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Bode George.
George had said, during an interview with a national newspaper that Tinubu was responsible for his imprisonment but had apologised to him at the burial of the Deputy President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Abdul-Azeez Arisekola Alao, last year.
George had said, “Bola thought I hated him so much and convolutedly conspired to use a judge to put me in prison. We later met at the Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan, at the burial of my good friend, Alao Arisekola.
“The Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, who is a younger brother of mine, sprang up and said, ‘Why are you and Tinubu not greeting each other?’ and I said ‘Bola is on a different planet from mine’.
“Oba Otudeko was also there and he said, ‘Today at the burial of our mutual friend, Arisekola, we should end our hostility’ and I told them that he was involved in the conspiracy to lock me up. They called Bola, he shook my hand and said he was sorry. It was in public. Since then, if we meet in public, we greet each other but our concepts of politics are different.”
However, Tinubu in a statement on Tuesday by his media adviser, Mr. Sunday Dare, said he never apologised to George since he had nothing to do with George’s incarceration.
The ex-Lagos State Governor explained that although they both met at Arisekola Alao’s burial, their conversation had nothing to do with an apology.
He said, “Mr. George claims the alleged apology was made at the burial of Chief Alao Arisekola. On that date, personalities such as Oba Otudeko and Governor Ajimobi approached me because I did not greet Mr. George initially.
“They pleaded that, in the memory of the man we were all gathered to honour, I should greet Mr. George. At their request, I turned back and came to greet him by saying, ‘Good afternoon Egbon (senior)’. That was all.”
Tinubu argued that he could not have been involved in the incarceration of George since it was the Federal Government that instituted the case against George, a former Military Administrator of the old Ondo State.
He said rather, it was people within George’s party that orchestrated his two-year jail term in Kirikiri prison.
He explained that George, who has since been exonerated by the Supreme Court, was convicted of ‘invoice splitting’, which had nothing to do with politics.
He said, “Mr. George seeks to imbue me with more power than I could possibly have. I am flattered but in all humility, I must protest the false assessment. If he can remember, the government of the day was that of the PDP.
“I have never had or sought much influence in those circles. He was charged by the government ruled by his own party for an offence concerning financial irregularities at the Nigeria Port Authority, an appointment he received from that same government.
“It is an incredible tale indeed to state that somehow, I could direct a party that tried to dismantle the progressive political structure of my party to bring down one of its key members.
“The more plausible explanation for his legal tribulation was that a member of his own cabal blew the whistle on Mr. George’s antics for reasons that only he and that person truly know. The rest is now history.”