Senate confirms Obanikoro’s Ministerial nomination

By Ayoola Mudasiru March 11, 2015 14:04

Senate confirms Obanikoro’s Ministerial nomination

The Nigerian Senate has confirmed the Ministerial nomination of Sen. Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro, along with three others.

The confirmation of the former Senator caused a lot of controversy as several members of the Senate wanted the screening to be deferred pending the conclusion of the court case against Obanikoro.

His re-nomination by President Goodluck Jonathan is being opposed mainly by Senators of the All Progressives Congress, APC, over what they perceive to be his role in the alleged use of soldiers to manipulate the 2014 Governorship election in Ekiti State.

Immediately Sen. Obanikoro entered the chambers, Senator Gbenga Ashafa representing Lagos East and also the Minority Whip raised a point of order, challenging Obanikoro’s screening, saying that “the views of his people are that the screening be deferred to a point in time when investigations have been concluded.”

Sen. Ashafa, who said Obanikoro has a pending case in court, brought out a copy of The Nation Newspaper to buttress his point. He also said David Mark, President of the Senate and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were joined in the suit.

Sen. Mark ruled him out of order, saying the court is yet to serve him in that regard, explaining that no court had informed him of such and that newspaper reports shouldn’t affect the duties of the Senate.

“You don’t serve me on the pages of the newspaper. As far as I am concerned, there is no case in court, so I rule you out of order,” Mark said.

After proceedings continued, Sen. Mark raised a motion, asking if Obanikoro should just take a bow and go, since there was an existing tradition that allowed former Senators upon appearing before the House for screening into any positions to do so.

An exception to this rule is if all the Senators from the individual’s State raise and objection, and this happened as all the Senators from Lagos State, being APC members, objected.

Mark was torn between two traditions and had to throw it to the Senate to take a vote, which passed the vote in favour of Sen. Obanikoro.

Others that were screened and confirmed by the Senate were Hauwa’u Lawan (Jigawa), Mr. Kenneth Kobani (Rivers), and Senator Joel Ikenya (Taraba).