​​​I don’t begrudge Senators who opposed my nomination — Obanikoro

Former Minister Musiliu Obanikoro
Former Minister Musiliu Obanikoro

Following his confirmation as a minister, Wednesday, by the Nigerian Senate, Musiliu Obanikoro, a former junior defence minister, has said he holds no grudge against All Progressives Congress Senators from Lagos who stood against his nomination.

Mr. Obanikoro was reappointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to pacify him after losing his bid to become the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, gubernatorial candidate in Lagos.

His nomination came after he was named in a leaked tape as the principal actor in Ekiti State election rigging in 2014.

The Nigerian government has refused to investigate the claims.

On Wednesday, the Nigeria Senate approved Mr. Obanikoro’s nomination after repeated deferments, despite protests from senators from Lagos State, Mr. Obanikoro’s home state.

The Senate, presided by its president, David Mark, also ignored protests from other opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, lawmakers who moved to stop the clearance over the Ekiti scandal.

The Senate allowed Mr. Obanikoro, himself a former Senator, to “take a bow and go”, without answering questions, a privilege reserved for former federal lawmakers.

APC lawmakers responded by walking out of the session in protest.

Speaking via his Twitter handle, @Mobanikoro Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Obanikoro said the position of the Lagos senators strengthened Nigeria’s democracy.

“I want to use this medium to express my profound gratitude to my distinguished colleagues in the Senate for their kind support,” he said. “I am particularly grateful to the President of the Senate and other principal officers representing the Senate majority and minority.”

He added, “I have no ill feelings towards the Senators from Lagos who stood against me. Their position has amplified the strength of our democracy.”

“In times like these, we learn that there is no winner or loser and that our shared hopes are greater than the politics that divide us,” Mr. Obanikoro said.

Meanwhile, the Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, also named in the Ekiti election scandal, congratulated the new minister.

“Congratulations to @MObanikoro as he is confirmed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the National Assembly,” he wrote via his @GovAyoFayose handle.


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