Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority
Chief Bode George was appointed Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1999. during his tenure as Chairman, he was able to achieve some notable feats such as his February 2001 call for increased security of the Delta ports as well as discussing the problem of delays in payment of large sums of money owed to the port authority by organizations such as the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, Nigerian National Shipping Line, Delta Steel Company and Central Water Transport Company. Also, in May 2001, Bode George called for the construction of new dry ports and warehouses to tackle congestion. In September 2001, Chief Bode George directed that all empty containers should be moved out of the Lagos seaports to free up space. In July 2002, he appealed to Truck Owners striking over clearance of goods at the Lagos ports to go back to work.
However, In October 2003, the senior management and the board of the Nigerian Ports Authority were dismissed. The incumbent managing director at that time, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, hired auditors to review major existing contracts. Their review found irregularities. It was passed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission under Nuhu Ribadu, which started investigations in 2005.
In August 2008, the EFCC under the new leadership of Farida Waziri arrested Olabode George in Lagos and arraigned him and four others on a 163 count-charge of conspiracy, disobedience to law and order, abuse of office and alleged illegal award of contracts worth N84 billion while he was chairman of the NPA. He was found guilty in October 2009 and sentenced to jail for 30 months handed out by Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole.
George’s lawyers filed an appeal and requested bail pending resolution of the appeal. The appeal was however refused by the court. As a prisoner, Chief Bode George and his colleagues were placed in the V.I.P. section of the prison, not required to wear prison uniforms and were allowed to have meals prepared by their families. On December 13, 2013, the Supreme Court discharged the conviction of Bode George. The court, headed by judge John Afolabi Fabiyi, said the EFCC had no evidence that George intended to commit fraud at the NPA, and the charges of “contract splitting” was unknown to law.
Military Governor of Ondo State
He was appointed Military Governor of Ondo State in1988 and lasted until 1990. While in power, he notably established the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo in 1990, a school that now has over 4,000 students. However, it was rumored that George spent the State’s budget lavishly and handed out inflated contracts in return for large kickbacks. In 2002, Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor said Bode George needed to face a criminal tribunal over his activity in Ondo state. He said, “Bode George and his fellow travelers who believe in military arbitrariness have to be told in clear terms that their time has passed, we are under democracy now.” In response, the PDP party Chairman, Alhaji Muhammed Muritala Ashorobi, said Bode George had an outstanding record as governor of old Ondo State, and the structures he built, including the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, were key monuments.
In 2001, George was made the PDP’s national vice-chairman in the southwest zone. Later he became PDP Deputy National Chairman, South, and then the National Deputy Chairman of the PDP.
However, while handling these positions, he was accused of different crimes including- imposing levies on prospective aspirants for political offices in February 2002, accused by the Anambra State Chapter of PDP of auctioning the PDP executive to the governor’s faction in August 2002, as well as being behind the reported detention of Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State and two other former governors by soldiers and policemen.
In July 2005, he was promoted to PDP Deputy National Chairman (South). In February 2007, Olabode George called for the resignation of the Vice President of the time, Atiku Abubakar, who had defected to the Action Congress (AC) party.
In March 2008, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbualafor dismissed Bode George from the Governing Board of the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI). In April 2008, the PDP National Disciplinary Committee (NDC), which Bode George headed, was also dismantled.