Chief Olabode (Bode) Ibiyinka George, the former chairman of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and ex- deputy national chairman of the PDP has been released from Kirikiri Prison in Lagos after serving a two-year jail term for disobedience to lawful order and contract inflation.
He was met at the prison by his wife, close family members, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, the Oyo State Governor, Dr. Ade Dosunmu, PDP governorship candidate in Lagos state, other PDP party officials, and supporters who had arrived at the prison very early in the morning with bands, posters and banners praising him and welcoming his release.
Later a thanksgiving service was held for him where PDP officials and some senior government officials were present. It is also reported that he is also now being called "The Joseph of Our Time" by PDP members. A reception is also being planned for him
There have been criticisms over the celebrations of Bode George's release, especially after a full page advertisement in a newspaper listed a programme of events, which included a thanksgiving service and reception, to welcome him back from the prison.
The advertisement, signed by 25 people, said, “Welcome the Lion Heart, Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, Atona Oodua. After darkness comes a glorious dawn. The good Lord, who has given you victory over adversity, will surely strengthen you in every way for a greater tomorrow.”
Some analysts have criticised the pomp and pageantry around Bode George's release and said that it amounted to justifying corruption and questioned the ethical standard of the Nigerian society.
An analyst speaking to Punch newspapers said, “It makes rubbish of the anti-corruption drive. It is an unholy reception. There is no problem with going to church to thank God for bringing him out of the prison, especially the way the Nigerian prisons are, but not with fanfare that will send a wrong signal to the members of the public.”
However, his supporters believe that his conviction was politically motivated.
In August 2008, Bode George and four others, were arrested by the EFCC and arraigned on 163 counts of conspiracy, disobedience to lawful order, abuse of office and alleged illegal award of contracts worth N84 billion while he was chairman of the NPA. The EFCC reduced the charge to 63 count and in October 2009 he was found guilty on 47 counts and sentenced to jail for 30 months.
The total sentences added up to 28 years in prison, but the counts for disobedience to lawful order were ruled to run concurrently for six months, and the counts for contract inflation were to run concurrently for two years.
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Obiora Abuja, 159 February 28, 2011
SHAME! SHAME!! SHAME!!! wrt Bode George's release. I am changing my mind about whether to vote for Jonathan or not. If this election is going to be one man one vote then GEJ should be very careful on scandals like this. If GEJ is making friends with criminals like Bode George, Obasanjo, Babangida, Anenih, etc,with the hope that they will support his ambition, then we are in trouble, because it means he plans to rig the election through these crooks. I am GEJ's friend but I am changing my mind.
Abdul Rasheed LONDON, UK February 27, 2011
Is he going to be allowed to keep the proceeds from his fraudulent activities? What a country; and you say you have democracy! How can you have democracy when the country is uncivilised? This was what used to happen during the ages of the Roman Empire, where the peoples were more or less peasants!
Olatunde London Rainham, England February 27, 2011
Well lets see where all this ball game will lead them to i belived that what goes rounds comes rounds one day God Almighty will give us someone to lead us into situation like Libya/Egypt country ? only to fish them out and stop them,for ever
OBJ Houston, Texas, USA February 26, 2011
What a country? Criminals are held as hero. This clearly showed the wrongs of our nation and the direction PDP is leading Nigeria to. Maybe, the ex-convict should be the Minister of the treasury or governor of the central bank, or even better, the president of the nation. We want our children to know that you must be a criminal to be successful in a nation that glorifies crime. Way to go PDP.
chigozie Lagos, Nigeria February 26, 2011
I never expected anything less from his supporter. No amount of funfare can erase the fact that he is a criminal.