The PDP chieftain said Jonathan has redressed the imbalance with Obanikoro’s appointment
A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olabode George, on Thursday revealed how the Trade and Investment Minister, Olusegun Aganga, was appointed to represent Lagos State in the Federal Executive Council.
He also explained why Musiliu Obanikoro, a former senator and ambassador, was appointed Minister of State for Defence.
Mr. George, an indigene of Lagos State spoke to journalists at the Presidential Villa; Abuja in response to the claim by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, that President Goodluck Jonathan did not deem it fit to appoint a minister from the state despite securing 1.2 million votes during the 2011 presidential election.
The governor, while marking his 2500 days in office, had on Wednesday alleged that Mr. Aganga, the representative of the state in the federal cabinet, was not an indigene of the state.
“If I recall correctly, I think it is section 147 of the constitution that says that every state shall be represented by a minister indigenous to the people of those states. Mr. Aganga as far as I know is from somewhere in Edo State not from Lagos. He is not an indigene of Lagos to his credit, he has supported our initiatives here, and he has supported the free trade zone,” Mr. Fashola had said.
Mr. George said it was no longer news that the minister was not an indigene of Lagos State and that it was shocking that the governor was bringing up the matter at this time.
He explained when Mr. Aganga, who he confirmed hails from Edo State, was appointed to represent Lagos in the cabinet, it was the Oba of Lagos that suggested he should be given a birth certificate to show that he came from the state.
He however said the minister, who is also a pastor and who grew up in Lagos, rejected the idea.
“You know I’m shocked that Fashola now came up with this. It is like somebody waking up from the wrong side of his bed,” Mr. George said.
“It is true and he (Aganga) has never disputed it that he is not from Lagos State. But he grew up in Lagos and we realized that and that was why we made a representation to Mr. President and we spoke about the need to have an indigenous Lagosian as a minister. He promised us. That is why today, we have Obanikoro as a Minister also from Lagos State.
“Aganga wasn’t, but I remember that it was the Oba of Lagos who said they will give him a birth certificate or some kind of certification that he also came from Lagos, but I don’t think he took it. You know he (Aganga) is also a pastor, he was honest enough, he didn’t take it, he know his parentage came from Edo State, but now we have a minister from Lagos and Aganga has done well.
“I don’t know why suddenly Fashola is waking up. I don’t know why it is so sudden, but in politics, 24 hours is a long time, I don’t know why he is waking up now, but at least we are satisfied that Obanikoro is representing Lagos.”.
The PDP chieftain said the imbalance had been redressed with the appointment of Musiliu Obanikoro, the Minister of State for Defence.
He explained the indigenes of Lagos State looked at the constitution and made representation to the president on the need to appoint an indigene of the state as minister.
He said, “We looked at the constitution, the constitution guarantees that there will be a minister per state indigenous. But it is the responsibility also of the President to give extra, apart from one for each state, there will be an extra for the zone.”
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