George was, last Saturday, released from the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons after he completed a two-year jail term.
The lavish reception that was organised for him by the PDP and which was attended by Obasanjo had attracted criticisms from Nigerians.
But Obasanjo, in an interview with journalists in Abeokuta on Friday, shortly after a public lecture to mark his 74th anniversary, said that he was tricked to attend the reception organised for the ex-convict.
The former President, who had earlier in the interview denied his alleged “do-or-die” comment on the April polls, said, “You got it wrong again. I was not part of the celebration of (Bode) George’s release.
“And let us get a few things right. When (Bode) George went to prison, the first thing that I did was to find out from his lawyer what really went wrong. What the lawyer said was not what I found out eventually.
“Then, he (Bode George) sent a passionate message to me from prison, urging me to attend a family church thanksgiving and I believe that for whatever reason, if any family is giving thanks in the church or in the mosque and they invite me and I am able to go there, I will go, whether it is for marriage, for burial, house warming or christening a child. But when I got to the church, the atmosphere I found was more than a family affair.
“And I even took the opportunity to ask the state PDP chairman, ‘Is this a PDP affair?’
“And he told me it was not a PDP affair because I don’t see why the PDP, as a national party, as a party that is trying to form a government in Lagos State, as a party that formed the government at the national level and in at least 27 states in the country, should be celebrating criminality because whatever we may say, the reason Bode went to prison should be condemned by everybody and I have condemned it. He did not go to prison for a political offence.
“If he had been sent to prison for a political offence, then, he comes back and all his political associates may get round him and the PDP must do something noble and wholesome; but in this case, the PDP as a party must dissociate itself from celebrating criminality.
Obasanjo added, “When I asked the state chairman, he said, ‘You know Area Boys, they do hijack things lie this.’ But I believe if it is Area Boys, you leave it to the Area Boys and not to the PDP.
He denied the recent statement of “do-or-die” politics credited to him at President Goodluck Jonathan’s political rally in Lagos.
Source: Punch Newspapers