For Musiliu Obanikoro, former minister of Defence, returning as a Minister in the President Goodluck Jonathan administration may be a really tough task.
This is because eighteen (18) senators of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Thursday opposed his nomination by the president for a ministerial position.
The lawmakers cited Obanikoro’s alleged involvement in the rigging of the Ekiti elections as a reason for their decision.
The APC senators led by minority leader, George Akume, alongside Sani Saleh representing Kaduna central; Ojudu Babafemi representing Ekiti central senatorial district and Danjuma Goje representing Gombe central, disclosed their stand to journalists on Thursday.
“Obanikoro is not qualified to hold public office based on his antecedent,” Babafemi said. “It is our position that such a person is not qualified to hold public office and we are going to oppose that. Three senators from Lagos have written to the President of the Senate David Mark opposing that,” he added.
Babafemi added that the case would be coming up on March 6 and the Senate President would ensure the matter was cleared in court and not the Senate.
The nominations of seven others were also deferred: Fidelis Nwankwo from Ebonyi State, Augustine Okwudiri Akobundu from Abia State, Joel Danlami Ikenya from Taraba State, Nicholas Akis Ada from Benue State, Patricia Akawashiki from Nasarawa State, Hauwa’u Lawan from Jigawa State and Kenneth Kobani from Rivers State.
The senate did not officially disclose reasons for its decision.
A 37-minute audio tape was released in February implicating Obanikoro in the rigging of the 2014 Ekiti gubernatorial election.
Others accused are Ayo Fayose governor of Ekiti State, Jelili Adesiyan, Minister of Police Affairs, Iyiola Omisore former deputy governor of Osun State, and a member of the House of Representatives.
The tape was leaked by Sagir Koli, a Captain in the 32nd Artillery Brigade stationed in Ekiti State and was recorded on June 20, 2014. The Captain said he recorded the politicians when he was asked to attend a meeting with his Commanding Officer, Aliyu Momoh, a Brigadier General, at Spotless Hotel, Ado-Ekiti.Follow Us on Social Media