Ekiti Saga: Pressure Forces Jonathan To Give Obanikoro A Poor Ministerial Position

President Goodluck Jonathan assigned ministerial nominees to their portfolios, dumping Musiliu Obanikoro, the shady former Minister of State for Defense, in an “insignificant” ministerial position.

Jonathan unveiled the ministerial deployments at a meeting of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja on Wednesday. Obanikoro was named as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II, a position starkly lower in prestige than his former position as minister of state for defense.

Several civil society groups, columnists and opposition senators had opposed Obanikoro’s nomination on account of his involvement in an illegal scheme to use the military to rig last year’s governorship election in Ekiti State.
Sahara Reporters had obtained an audiotape where Obanikoro and some PDP men ordered Brigadier General A.A. Momoh to have his troops detain supporters of then incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi in order to boost the electoral prospects of the PDP’s governorship candidate, Ayo Fayose.

Despite the widespread opposition to Mr. Obanikoro’s confirmation, Senate President David Mark wangled a senatorial clearance for the former junior rank Defense minister. Mr. Obanikoro’s senate clearance was stalled twice, before Mr. Mark used underhanded tactics to get him approved. Most opposition senators walked out of the chambers to protest what one of them termed “the Senate president’s act of bad faith.”

A source at the Presidency told Sahara Reporters that President Jonathan was so shaken by the widespread and strong opposition to his nomination of Obanikoro as a minister that he decided to assign the controversial former minister to one of the most obscure cabinet posts. “Even PDP stakeholders in Lagos and the southwest were against Musiliu Obanikoro,” the source disclosed.

During his stint as junior Defense minister, Obanikoro had access to a full range of military arsenal, which included naval choppers that ferried him around Lagos whenever he visited the state.

Obanikoro’s new humiliating post is equivalent to an ambassadorship, a source within the cabinet said.

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Evabeta Tega

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