A former deputy national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Bode George, has announced he would retire from partisan politics from 2023.
George, a former governor of Ondo State said his decision was out of the calls from his children who wanted him to take a rest from the national services.
The PDP leader, who spoke in an interview with Business Day, said “I was discussing it with my first child and while we were talking, he said, look daddy, we need you more now. You know I just had surgery. Maybe after the surgery he is beginning to think differently. He said daddy you spent 25 years in the Navy. By 2023, you would have spent 25 years in politics. That is 50 years of your life in service to this country. He said he thinks that is enough and that they need me more now.
“When I looked at it, what he said made a lot of sense to me. I am even 76 now. If I have put such a number of years into the service of the nation, I think that is okay. I will remove myself from partisan politics. So, I will not be for party ‘A’ or party ‘B’ and I will be the father of all. If there is anything that is not going right, we will proffer solution and discuss.
“By 2023, I will be 78 years old. Well, Generals don’t retire, we only fade away. But my body system is sending me an alarm. I was a state governor when I was 42. Now I am 76 years old. So from 2023, I won’t be participating in partisan politics and you know another person will emerge.”
While speaking on the controversies surrounding the recently released report of the EndSARS panel, the elder statemen said the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, should handle the matter with carefulness in order not to damage his image.
“When you pass through the tollgate now, you could see that they are doing some wiring and testing, I want to advise Sanwo-Olu, this happened during his watch; I was a governor; I think I left in 1990 and I have been in and out of Ondo State. You know that time it was Ondo and Ekiti states if I had misbehaved, would I have the guts to go back there. So, I want to advise him, Sanwo-Olu is a big name and his mother comes from Lagos, the Cole family, a very big family and a Godly family, you can’t put and cover such for a long time.
“The recommendations that they have made, first of all, even if they are pushing him to reopen the tollgate, the truth has come out now. From January next year, political activities would start, governance is over because by December we will start having all the elections. So, I don’t know because there are too many rumours flying all over that Bola Tinubu now wants his son to come and contest for the governorship of Lagos. So, they turn it into a family affair but let him think that he has a family name behind him both from his mother’s side and his father’s side. And that the truth has been told; of course, people will talk but my own contribution is, let him study that document and be straight with himself and his God and take appropriate action.
“To err is human but to forgive is divine. It is not a repetition, it happened; lives were lost and he should read that document cover to cover and make amends and apologise to the people of this state. You know Lagos is mini Nigeria. There is no tribe that exists in this country that you will not find in Lagos. So, if Lagos sneezes, Nigeria catches a cold. So, let him look at it from that and take a cursory look and in-depth analysis and correct the ills. If there is a need to apologise to the people, of course, he has to apologise.
“Let him be bold enough as a child of God and say he is sorry for all the stories that came out and do something for those who lost their lives. Of course, I believe the military itself because I was in the service you don’t take orders from any governor or anybody. The only fellow that gives you order is the commander in chief and when he gives his orders straight to the minister of defence from the minister of defence straight to the chief of defence staff. So, that is our chain of command, no civilian will just call the military out to come and do something, how? So, people wanted to know how the military get involved. If it was a mistake, it should never happen again. Number two, if some people are pushing him to reopen tollgate, he should go back and do a rethink. Like I said from January 2022 politics will be on the rise.”