The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Musiliu Obanikoro as a minister of the federal republic. The confirmation came after some deferments owing to tight legislative schedules.
Senate Minority Whip, Ganiyu Solomon, representing Lagos West Senatorial district, had addressed the senate proposing another deferment to allow for the conclusion of a pending investigation. Withstanding several interruptions from the members, Senator Solomon reminded the senate of a practice where screening of nominees are stepped down when home state representatives have issues to be addressed.
Though Senator Solomon was not explicit on the investigation that need to be completed, there are speculations that it is not unconnected with the “Ekiti rigging tape” which the nominee, Obanikoro was indicted to have planned the manipulation of the governorship election in Ekiti State last year.
President Jonathan has waved the leaked tape away as a fabrication.
Despite protests from senators from Lagos State, and other opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, the Senate allowed Mr. Obanikoro to “take a bow and go”, without answering questions, a privilege reserved for former federal lawmakers.
At this point, APC lawmakers responded by walking out of the session in protest.
Already, criticisms are trailing the handling of the screening by the President of the Senate, David Mark, who is accused of ignoring the complaints of the APC senators.
The confirmation has laid to rest weeks of suspense over the future of Musiliu Obanikoro. He was defeated in the governorship primaries of the PDP in Lagos state and was poised to rock the boat until he was promised of a return to the Federal Executive Council.
Some leaders of the PDP in Lagos state were reported to be opposed to the re-appointment of Senator Obanikoro as a minister. Coming days will be vital in seeing how the various interests in PDP Lagos state will go in burying the hatchet for the common interest of the party in elections.