By Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo
A former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has said that what he told Chief Bode George in a statement on Saturday was just a piece of advice from a prince to a chief in Yorubaland to stop throwing stones at his benefactors.
Chief George had in a statement on Sunday accused the former governor of making “irritable vituperations” against him over a media interview in which he (George) attacked leaders of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) of which Oyinlola is the national coordinator.
But Oyinlola, in a statement issued by him on Sunday said his admonition to Chief George was that as an officer and a gentleman, it was uncharitable to repay good with evil by attacking his (George’s) benefactors who include former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“If you are allergic to the singing of birds you won’t build your house near the bush. If Chief George didn’t want me to react to him, he won’t call me and other promoters of the CNM all sorts of names as he did. Our ancestors in Yorubaland did not recommend kolanut as appreciation for the kind of negative words Chief George used against me and other leaders of the CNM including Chief Obasanjo.
“Chief George is my egbon by six years. I respect him and said so in my statement on saturday. I observed he also said he was “very senior” to me in the military. He used the word “very.” It will interest him to know that I joined the Nigerian Army on September 3, 1969 and was commissioned as an officer on September 11, 1971. I want my egbon to do his calculations and justify the word “very” that he used. However, the fact of his seniority to me in age and otherwise, has always informed the respect I have for him. But I also know that his Ile Ife title, Atona Oodua, makes some demands of him which include civility in words and action and loyalty to friends and benefactors. That was why I asked him to apologize to Chief Obasanjo and stop attacking anything and anyone that is connected to him.
“I must however, say that I found it surprising that Chief George said he made me governor of Osun state. How? I became governor by the grace of God and the overwhelming support of the people of Osun state. The results of that election showed clearly that my support was rooted in the people and not in outsiders who neither voted nor funded my election. I know my leaders whose support was greatly invaluable. They were with me throughout the unprecedented three primary which I won three times. Chief George started out as a backer of one of those I was contending with. He later switched over to the popular side which was mine. He did not vote in my election; he did not give me money. So how did he make me governor?
“I also like to state that I combine the fine qualities of a prince and a gentleman officer and therefore I am not an ‘omo’ that can be sent on any errand. Chief George will recall how I moved the entire Osun state PDP machinery in protest against the then President Obasanjo and walked away from the party’s national convention in Abuja. That was me and nothing has changed in the way I react when necessary. When I need to make my point, I do not need the prodding of anyone to do so. It is not everyone who acts based on such a conviction and I believe Chief George knows this.
“I am also interested in the content of the can of worms which Chief George alluded to. I believe members of the public also look forward to it from our dear Atona Oodua,” Prince Oyinlola said.