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BODE GEORGE: Between The Godfather And A Shepherd, By Prof. Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes


The Punch columnist Abimbola Adelakun last week attempted a very dubious and sophomoric analysis in a very contrived and failed comparison between Chief Bode George and Senator Bola Tinubu. You cannot compare daylight with darkness. In its depths of character, in its idealistic focus and in its total steering of leadership, the People’s Democratic Party hardly bears any semblance to the All People’s Congress.
While PDP, in both leadership and vision, is more of a corporate entity, spurred by collective responsibility, enhanced by a conscious unifying leadership, the APC is more of a thriving absolutist regime stripped of pluralistic checks and balances.
It is in this opposing characterization you can then appreciate who is better designated as a godfather and who is not. Put it simply, Chief Bode George or anyone else for that matter has not and cannot play the role of a sole arbiter in the PDP whether in Lagos or Kontagora. The pluralistic fixities of the party will not allow it. The fervent Democratic contentions in the structures of the party will never permit such aberrational dictates of any godfather forcing a narrow vision upon everyone else.
1n this wise the established prominence of George in the PDP largely inheres in the salutary obviousness of a shepherding leadership that guides and nurtures followership in consultative instinctiveness. Whereas a Tinubu may instruct and dictate in capricious deliberateness, George must cultivate respect and approval through logic and observable conviction. While Tinubu can holler in the grand fulminations of a major-domo, straigthening out a captive troop with a mighty lash, George must counsel and maneuver in rational articulations, analyzing the contours of a position, illustrating the flaws of another, invariably guiding everyone towards a collective comprehension. George can guide but he cannot sanction.
This is not godfatherism. Here there is no single potentate decreeing a narrow wisdom in perverse mastery and appropriation of the political space. We should cultivate more of the Bode George’s stylistic guidance which allows the pluralistic thrivings of collective contribution. Here every voice is heard. Here, every opinion is encouraged and pushed to the collective platform for scrutiny and general resolve. This is the heart of democratic principle.
For Abimbola in some warped and poisonous benightedness to invoke a prison term in pejorative attachment to Chief Bode George is startling, condemnatory and outrightly libelous. For a columnist who ought to be conversant with the issues of the state to feign ignorance that Bode George has been discharged and acquitted by the Supreme Court is rather ignoble and sad. It is a reprove of reality, a blind tendentious escapism of a partisan pen.
Perhaps Abimbola does not comprehend the full portent of a discharge and acquittal. Let us educate her. A discharge and acquittal from the Supreme Court of our land is the greatest badge of innocence and moral elevation. It is a binding testimony of pristine innocence, a moral badge of civic beatitude. It is as if the imprisonment itself never happened!
In Bode George’s example, the pronouncement of the Supreme Court has absolutely voided any former odium of imprisonment. Before the law and the sane altar of moral illustration, Chief Bode George now stands in the firm robustness of a man of truth and conviction who was hauled into undeserved imprisonment by little men sworn to partisan venom. Surely, Bode George is a classical victim, a sacrificial testimony of a warped, distorted system.
But in Bode George’s acquittal and discharge, the judicial system has also shown a capacity for self-rectification and ultimate sanity. The truth is now firmly established which can never be tarnished by some impudent and puerile pen
Professor Tejumade Akitoye-Rhodes
Chairman Lagos Collectives

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