By CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
Yinka Odumakin spokesman for Major General Muhammadu Buhari
“The reception is shameful and condemnable. It shows that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and its leadership are immune to shame, that is why they will roll out drums for an ex_convict like Bode George. If we don’t stop PDP at the polls, our children will not know the right from the wrong and the poor will continue to suffer.”
Malam Nuhu Ribadu
“It is really a shameful thing that has happened. Instead of hiding their heads in shame they (PDP leaders) have the effrontery to celebrate corruption, in fact it is a national shame.”
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
“PDP’s action sends a wrong signal to Nigerian youths that it is alright to steal or mismanage public funds, since it can even turn them into a ‘hero’ like Bode George. There is nothing wrong in rehabilitating a prisoner.
But turning an occasion that calls for penitence and soberness to a carnival of sorts is a disservice to Nigeria, and a clear signal that the wobbly anti_corruption war of the Goodluck Jonathan administration is finally dead. It also ridicules Nigeria in the eyes of the world.”
Mr. Joe Igbokwe
“They (PDP leaders) continue to mock Nigerians, they continue to insult our collective intelligence, they continue to tell us that impunity is no crime, they continue to make Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations, they continue to disgrace the beautiful people of Nigeria, they continue to provoke Nigerians without remorse, they continue to tell us that they own Nigeria.”
NLC Vice President, Comrade Issa Aremu
“It shows that we still have much work to be done on anti_corruption. Yes, everybody cherishes freedom.
But what is needed here is sober reflection. The family and others celebrating his freedom should ask, whywas he jailed in the first place? He was jailed for abuse of public office, for corruption, this is certainly what we should be proud of and be celebrating.
He is not Nelson Mandela who went to jail because he was fighting to liberate his people. I think those that are celebrating his freedom should play back the sermon of the priest at his church service and do a thorough sober reflection.”
President-General of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, Comrade Peter Esele
“It is sending a bad message that it pays to be corrupt. It is sending a wrong signal to the nation’s youths that corruption pays. We are also sending a very wrong signal to the international community about our anti-corruption fight. It is only in Nigeria that somebody who was jailed for corruption should be celebrated.
No mater how you look at it, it is bad for our morals, bad for us a nation. It is very sad. Could you believe the former President who set up the agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that diligently jailed, Chief George, attended the church service? Among those that were at the church service were those are leading us and are preaching against corruption.”
Lagos based lawyer and rights activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu
“My view is that there is nothing at all wrong with somebody celebrating or thanking God for coming out of the prison safely. I have been there, I know what it means for somebody to come out of Nigeria prison safely. However, we must show a level of humility and sobriety. For him to thank God for his life, its is a worthy celebration.
The manner by which the programme was organised is not good for our country.”
Captain Tunji Shele, Publicity secretary, Lagos PDP
“The ACN is envying the victory of our leader over their planned evil machinations and their ally. It is our belief that he did not commit any offence to warrant sending him to jail at all. He was never adjudged to have stolen any money.
His offence was a misdemeanor, that is, he was said to have disobeyed a constituted authority, an offence which should attracted probably a fine. So, we felt he was being prosecuted and persecuted. Apart from this, I must tell you, the conspirators thought that the election will hold in January, they clandestinely ensured that his sentence fell within January, when they hoped the electioneering process must have been completed. But things changed, I know, Chief Bode George is an important figure in the PDP in Lagos, the south_west and in Nigerian in general.”
Mr Ayo Opadokun, former NADECO publicity secretary
“The PDP has boldly declared that corruption is at the centre of public policy. Given the kind of reception organised for Bode George, I dare say that a negative impression has been passed to the youths that crime pays.
It is against Yoruba tradition and culture for a rogue_someone who steals, a criminal_to be treated like a decent person. He should be treated as an outcast.
Usually, only a few people would even associate with him. I feel terribly bad that his friends and confederates have continued to lie and present the criminal trial and conviction as politically motivated.”
Afenifere Renewal Group chieftain Mr. Dipo Famakinwa
“The celebration of Bode George is a shame to the nation. It is a big slap on Nigerians, a debasement of our values. Now is the time to liberate the country from the likes of George. It was a shameless gathering and George should seek forgiveness from the nation.”
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How prominent Nigerians saw PDP’s lavish celebration of Bode George’s freedom