Call this The Trials of Bode George II.
Following revelations this morning that the Africa Students Union has moved to give an award to ex-convict and PDP chieftan, Olabode George, the organisation has come out kicking and screaming to protect its name. Speaking to Premium Times this morning fro the association’s headquarters in Accra, Ghana, the secretary general said it is “absolutely untrue, misleading and fraudulent.”
“It is clear there are elements dragging the name of our organization in the mud,” Mr. Awah said. “The Kwame Nkrumah African Leadership Award is a prestigious one and there are criteria for awarding it. At no time did we consider him (Bode George) for any award.”
Mr. Awah, who sounded livid on the telephone, said he was already planning to travel to Nigeria to meet with officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, with a view to identifying “the fraudulent elements” using AASU’s name to offer dubious awards to individuals for percuniary gains.
“What they have done is criminal,” he said. “We must expose and disgrace them so that others will learn.”
However, Olufemi Lawson, who announced the award, insisted to the website that the award will hold and George will be honoured.
Mr. Lawson said the President of AASU, Mohammed Bashir, a Sudanese, is aware of the arrangement, and that the organisation’s secretary general, Mr. Awah, was not in the loop because he had been busy with the Ghanaian elections.
Mr. Lawson said in selecting Mr. George for the award, he and his group “looked beyond the politics of Nigeria” and were impressed by his effort in youth development and education.
“This is a man who has awarded over 1000 scholarships and grants to indigent students,” Mr. Lawson said. “He deserves to be honoured.”
But shortly after Mr. Lawson spoke to us, we called Secretary General Amah again who insisted “there is no such award for Bode George from AASU.”
“Lawson is not an official of AASU,” Mr. Amah said. “He contested for the position of deputy secretary general and lost. He was defeated by a Liberian. Since then, he has been pursuing a fraudulent scheme, using the name of the organization to hand out dubious awards.”
Calls to George’s phone number have gone unanswered, as well as an SMS. We will certainly stay on this story.