The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has denied allegations that he ever apologised to the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Chief Bode George.
It was learnt that Chief George in an interview last weekend claimed that he had forgiven Tinubu for his alleged role in sending him to prison after receiving the apology at Arisekola’s burial last year.
However, in a statement issued by his media office, Tinubu said George’s account of their meeting at the burial of Chief Alao Arisekola last year was a twist of the facts as he said that he, Tinubu, was only beckoned by some dignitaries to greet George who he claimed he had earlier ignored.
Tinubu in response said:
“I was informed about a recent interview by Bode George in one of the national dailies and felt it necessary to clarify his claim that I begged him for forgiveness. I don’t know when and how I ever offended Mr. George. I have never wronged the man or even thought of it. I sought no forgiveness because no forgiveness was needed.
“I think somehow he is still trying to implicate me as instigating the criminal proceedings once lodged against him. From my recollection, Mr. George was found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction based on convincing evidence of wrongdoing. He insults the judiciary by implying that his conviction was wrongly derived.
“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 nor 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, NPA, 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.
“I believe he was convicted of “ Invoice Splitting” a violation of financial regulations. This malpractice is a deliberate circumvention of the law so that the culprit may approval expenditures above his mandated authority to do so and without proper oversight.
“In the end, it was Mr. George’s own hand and actions that led to his incarceration more than anything I could ever have done.
“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 honor, I should greet Mr. George. At their request, I turned back and came to greet him by saying “Good Afternoon Egbon”. That was all.
“If Mr. George wishes to interpret that as an apology, he has the right to do so. I also have the right to state categorically that no apology was made or even intended.
“I think he is trying to find a way to walk back from his election hyperbole that he would go on exile if the APC won the Lagos State governership election. He realizes that Lagos under the APC is a very good place to live afterall. If he wants to remain in Lagos, he does not have to manufacture an excuse or explain away his bad words. Neither the APC nor I have any aims against him. In the election, the people rejected his party and his brand of politics. That is enough for us. We move on to greater progress. We have no time or inclination to trouble ourselves by troubling Bode George. Any trouble he is experiencing is a product of his own mind.