Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Bode George has insisted that national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, begged late military ruler Sani Abacha for an appointment.
Concise News reports that in an interview with The Sun, George provided more details and said persons like former Osun governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola cannot claim ignorance of the story.
His reaction follows comments by some Tinubu’s associates absolving him of allegations that he sold out to Abacha.
George said: “I have nothing personal against Tinubu. I don’t hate him. We may not be in the same political party and there is no big deal about that. Nigeria’s constitution guarantees freedom of association. On this issue of Kola’s claims, I’m saying nothing but the truth. Kola Abiola was right.
“Tinubu begged Abacha to make him an administrator or a state commissioner. I was in the military that time, and I was in Aso Rock with Gen. Abacha and Gen. Oladipo Diya who was then chief of general staff to Abacha. I was the principal staff officer I to Gen. Diya. I was then a commodore in the Nigerian Navy.
“Tinubu came to Aso Rock to lobby for these positions but already the military had taken decisions that Abacha’s regime was going to be purely a military regime unlike that of Babangida who appointed civilians as deputy governors to military governors then.
“Tinubu actually came to lobby to be made a commissioner but when he was told about the military decision, he became sad. He wasn’t happy and that was when he went to join NADECO and other pro-democracy activists. If Abacha had given him the positions he lobbied for, Tinubu would have been part of Abacha’s government.
“Unfortunately, some of these people defending Tinubu and now attacking both myself and Kola Abiola don’t know all these that I’m revealing. I’m saying it again categorically that it was when Tinubu didn’t get an appointment from the Abacha’s government that he, out of frustration and anger went to join NADECO.
“I challenge Tinubu to a public debate on this. I challenge Tinubu to a public debate on any national television station either here in Nigeria or abroad. I’m even ready to face him on CNN or BBC on this issue. I’m calling out Tinubu, he should take up my challenge. Even if he said we should go to a graveyard to face one another on this issue, I’m ready to face him.
“For those defending Tinubu, have they seen Tinubu coming out to speak personally or issue a personal statement on Kola Abiola’s claims and my support for Kola Abiola? I’m talking about people like former Lagos state APC chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, former NUPENG president, Joseph Akinlaja and others who have become Tinubu’s defenders on this issue.
“If these people don’t know about what transpired during the June 12 crisis, they should keep quiet instead of defending what is not defensible, I say once again, Tinubu should come and face me in a public debate on this issue if he believes I’m not saying the truth.
“If Abacha had agreed with Tinubu, Tinubu would have become deputy governor to Oyinlola. Both Oyinlola and Tinubu are brothers. They are both from Osun state. Tinubu is from Iragbiji while Oyinlola is from Okuku. Nigerians should ask Oyinlola if I’m lying. Facts are facts, Tinubu can’t deny that he lobbied Abacha to be made a commissioner or deputy governor to Oyinlola. I’m putting all these together in my memoirs, which will be out very soon.”