Former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, has taken a former deputy national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George to the cleaners for being virulent in his opposition to the presidential ambition of All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu, one-time senator and former governor of Lagos State, recently broke the news of his intention to contest for President come 2023, to the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, and to the Nigerian populace, through the media.

But George, also a former military governor of Ondo State, had kicked against Tinubu during an interview on Arise TV, saying the latter did not deserve the highest office in the land.

But replying George, also on the Arise TV interview programme, Osoba said Bode George’s position was not borne out of objective opinion but was simply a product of bitterness and personal vendetta.

When asked to react to Bode George’s tirades against Tinubu, a bemused Osoba said, “You know Bode George is my junior; we grew up together.

“Even when his father died, I was one of the top people at his father’s burial. Olabode George is bitter against Bola Tinubu. He believes that Bola Tinubu had a hand in his problem.”

Osoba, one of Nigeria’s foremost journalism veterans, apparently was making reference to the the 2009 jail conviction of George.

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A Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Joseph Oyewole had found George, a former chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and five others guilty of a 163-count charge of conspiracy, disobedience to lawful order, alleged inflation of contracts, and contract splitting.

They were jailed 28 years without an option of fine, though the sentences were to run concurrently.

Bode George served out two years of jail period following which, on appeal, the Supreme Court eventually discharged and acquitted him.

Recalling George’s ordeal against the backdrop of Tinubu’s declaration of presidential ambition, Osoba said the PDP chieftain could not have made an objective submission, having held on tenaciously to the belief that Tinubu had a hand in what happened to him.

“I know he (George) is very bitter and he displays all that bitterness. He has had occasions to attack me (too), unfairly.

“But as usual, I take Bode George for what he is,” Osoba appraised.

Besides, the Ogun former governor said it was normal for George who is a chieftain of the PDP to oppose Tinubu’s presidential ambition, talking on the surface.

“He is in PDP; he has a right to make his own comment but at the same time, we are APC, he is PDP.”

Chief Osoba, however, advised Bode George to return to his party and motivate interested persons to come out and declare their own presidential ambitions, rather than be a busy body in APC affairs.

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On George’s claim that Tinubu did not deserve to become president, Osoba replied him, saying, “Tinubu is a bonafide citizen of Nigeria and deserves to contest for the highest political office in the land.

“As long as as you are a Nigerian and above 18 years, you have the right and are qualified to contest any office in this country.

“He (Tinubu) has exercised his right and the following day, the governor of Ebonyi State (Dave Umahi) exercised his right too.”

He thus remarked that 2022 would “be a very, very interesting year in the politics of this country”.

In another breath however, Chief Osoba has mourned the passage of the former Head of the defunct Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.

In his tribute, Osoba described the late Shonekan as a giant of the private sector, who made his marks in Nigeria.

While reacting to Shonekan’s death, Osoba said, “One of the giants of the private sector is gone; he made his mark as a corporate guru in the then UAC where he rose to be the chairman and Chief Executive Officer. May God bless his soul.”