Vociferous former Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and leader of the party in Lagos State, Chief Olabode George, in this interview, casts a retrospective look on his quashed sentence by a Lagos High Court and recalls how events played out during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, among others. Excerpts With the crisis in PDP in Lagos State,that’s talking about factionalisation between members loyal to state, Captain Tunji Shelle, and those loyal to Musiliu Obanikoro’s faction, led by Kamal Olorunoje, do you think your party has any chance against APC in the council poll? There is no crisis in PDP in Lagos State. We are all members of the same family. Shelle is the authentic chairman of the party in Lagos State and with elders like me, Senator Seye Ogunlewe and others giving support. Forget about Olorunoje or whatever name he calls himself. Nobody recognizes him and his paymaster, (Senator Musiliu) Obanikoro. They are not good party members. They are ambitious, and lack respect for elders and constituted authorities. Nobody reckons with them in the party, and they amount to nothing. They are rebels. If they become sober, and repentant, we will be ready to work with them, but if they remain recalcitrant, nobody misses them. They are good riddance to bad rubbish. More than 99 per cent of our members are with Shelle. We are all one happy family. I want to assure you and Nigerians that APC’s days are numbered in Lagos. PDP will use the local government election to prove that APC’s crash is imminent in Lagos State.
At a time, you were jailed and held inside Kirikiri Maximum Prison, but your conviction was later upturned by the Supreme Court. How would you describe your prison experience? The Supreme Court looked at the whole trial and conviction and eventually exonerated us. The Supreme Court upturned my conviction and that of others charged with me. The Supreme Court judges in their pronouncement said we should not have been tried at all. My trial and conviction by the lower court, which I would like to describe as persecution by my political opponents who were jealous of my rising profile, almost made But I thank God that I didn’t lose my mind during the trial and incarceration at Kirikiri Maximum Prison. The spirit of God kept me going. My wife was solidly behind me. My children and all members of my family stood by me because they knew my trial was a conspiracy. It was absolute conspiracy.
What I experienced and passed through in the prison, I don’t call it politics. Rather, I would call it politricks because these people attempted to drag me down. One thing I’m sure of is that nobody will escape justice for his or her misdeed. There is always nemesis. My enemies will reap the fruits of their evil plans on me. The young man who tried me at the lower court, I pray that one day he will reap his own reward. For 18 months, I was in the prison. My political enemies, who plotted the trial and conviction, thought they were putting me in a cage or drowning me for life, but the prison experience strengthened my faith. shrouding politics were the twin monsters that scared people away from party politics.
“If the two monsters are eliminated, more people will surely begin to see virtue in politics and thus, embrace the service,” she
noted. At a point in her career, Nelson had to shoulder the responsibility of overseeing women affairs under the Tinubu administration, where she served as Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. Recounting her experience, the ex-commissioner averred that “women are better leaders than men.”
According to her, “the good and the bad exist among humans; be it male or female. But then, I am very much impressed with the increased involvement of women, both in politics and administration, considering their immense contributions to societal development unlike what obtained in the past when the men dominated all sectors, including politics.” Does she actually Believe that politics is a money – making venture or service to humanity?
“I see politics as a way of giving back to the society because every individual gains from the society in different ways,” she declared. She restated her views on the level of the prevailing moral decadence in the society today, stating that parents should serve as agents of change and socialisation towards their children. For her, there should be closeness between parents and children notwithstanding the business schedule the parents may have.
“I always ensured I never missed any of my children’s visiting days despite my busy schedule when I was a commissioner. Parents should always give to children what they feel they need rather than what they want,” she advised. Nelson is well known for her simple but elegant fashion and her low-cut looks, which she attributes to lack of time to visit the salon and impatience to sit under the dryer for long hours. More so, her headgear style is one that cannot be overlooked in a gathering.
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