Chief Olabode George: Friend or Foe? - The Top Society

Chief Olabode George: Friend or Foe?

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Chief Ibiyinka Olabode George, affectionately known as the “Lagos boy,” earned his moniker during his tenure as military governor of old Ondo State from 1987 to 1990.
After studying electrical electronics at the University of Lagos, he enlisted in the Nigerian Navy, contributing to its modernization efforts and undergoing rigorous regimental training in Apapa. Thereafter, he and others were shipped to the Royal Naval Engineering College in England to do a conversion course on weapon systems, and later on missiles, radar. In the cause of his training, he attended so many military institutions in so many countries – Italy, France, Germany, England and even the US.
He was at War College in the USA till 1987,where he rose to the level of Director of Weapon Systems, Naval Headquarters.
Upon his return to Nigeria, he was made the Military Governor of Ondo State for three years from 1987 to 1990.
After leaving office as Ondo State military governor he was redeployed to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru. Chief George later got transferred to the War College, Kaduna where he was made Director of Logistics and Analytical Support.
Before quitting the military his last assignment was working as staff officer to the then General Chief of staff to General Sanni Abacha administration Lt General Oladipo Diya.
After his meritorious years in the military, Chief George had a foray into politics, through the influence of Mrs Stella Obasanjo, who was his classmate at the University. The late Stella Obasanjo introduced him to her husband shortly after Obasanjo was released from the prison and pressure was mounted on him to become Nigeria’s next president.
Their relationship blossomed, leading Chief Obasanjo to appoint him as the National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (South West) to bolster support. In this role, Chief George was tasked with overseeing the affairs of the ruling party, particularly in a region where it had faltered during the 1999 presidential election, losing ground to the Alliance for Democracy. With all six states in the zone won by the opposition, Chief Obasanjo found himself without a political stronghold, a vulnerability exacerbated by taunts from Northerners who asserted their pivotal role in his presidency and wanted him to dance to their tune.
Chief George knowing the significance of his position put every political machinery to work to ensure he achieved his objective of being in office. He succeeded in wooing some members of the opposition parties into the PDP in the South West, who joined the PDP along with their supporters, that created a bastion for the party and became popular with the people of that geo political zone. A party that was once loathed became a party to romance, his efforts paid off in the 2003 general elections when the PDP took over the control of five out of the six states of the South West leaving only Lagos, which the PDP found difficult to take over.
Chief George’s outstanding performance merited a promotion within his party, elevating him to the position of Deputy National Chairman South, and subsequently, to the role of Deputy National Chairman.
As a committed patriot, he has been actively involved in the pursuit of a functional Nigeria where equity and rule of law have a prime place. Each time the country is in a quagmire, he lends his voice in stabilising the polity. He has never shy away from making inputs and suggesting a way out for the country, especially as regards issues relating to the economy, security and politics.
He is a great statesman and political thinker whose personality is admired by critics and supporters.
Born on November 21, 1945, in Lagos, George, the great-grandnephew of Nigeria’s first politician, Herbert Macaulay, consistently offers insightful counsel to the government in power. While his constructive criticism has earned him praise in certain quarters, it has also drawn condemnation in others.
Speaking about the way the country was composed, he noted that, the country needs to be restructured to give each ethnic group sense of belonging,”I was a delegate to the National Conference of 2014. That was the only National Conference this country has ever had convened by a civilian administration that started and ended without any fiasco.
” Unanimously, all those resolutions were adopted on the plenary session at the floor, all thrown open. The history of this country must not go down without a big thank you to Justice Idris Kutigi and former President Jonathan. Jonathan never interfered to manipulate, and say do this, do that. Baba Kutigi was decent, humane, a thoroughbred Nigerian.
“He rose above the frills of tribalism or annoyance; no matter what people said, even in anger, he would reply with smiles, He brought down all the tension in that hall. I had never seen Nigerians so united. The most sensible thing to do is for the government to revisit that document, throw it to the National Assembly and let them open it up because justice, fairness and equity must be the tripod that will stabilise this country. What was perceived as the majority versus minority, north versus south was resolved.” Chief George said in an interview.
In certain instances, he has targeted individuals for their misconduct and lack of patriotism in addressing national issues, including the current President of Nigeria, Chief Bola Tinubu. While some perceive them as bitter rivals and accuse him of harboring animosity towards Tinubu, Chief George has repeatedly clarified that his criticisms stem solely from a disagreement with the president’s handling of matters of national importance.
Although his stance may not be universally embraced at present, history will ultimately assess his contributions to the nation’s affairs.

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