Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has slammed the leadership of the Senate over the confirmation of Musliu Obanikoro as a Minister by the upper legislative chamber despite being indicted in a rigging scandal in Ekiti State. The party described it “as an act of impunity and corruption as well as show of shame that further muddles the image of Nigeria and the senate.”
Obanikoro had been alleged to have been involved in the rigging plot of Saturday, June 21, 2014 which was released in a tape said to have been recorded at a meeting involving the former governorship aspirant. However, when urged to investigate the allegation, President Goodluck Jonathan declared that the audiotape was fabricated, hence, no need for its investigation.
Condemning the act, APC said the Senate by its action had shown that it is part of the grand conspiracy to institute a legacy of shame and corruption in Nigeria.
Publicity Secretary of the party, Joe Igbokwe, while reacting to the development, Wednesday, said that the confirmation of Obanikoro showed the sinister intent of the senate leadership and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to institute deep rooted corruption and illegality in the country.
“It is obvious that the PDP presidency that nominated Obanikoro and the PDP members of the Senate that forced through decency and protests of Nigerians to approve his nomination are hell bent on corrupting both the laws and institutions of the Nigerian State by that howling act of rewarding criminality. It was obvious that the ministerial nomination and the controversial confirmation are means by which a corrupt and senseless party wants to mock Nigerians, mock its laws and mock decency to reward a character that should be docked for crimes against the state. It is just too absurd that a party should visit these illegalities on a nation.
“The country is once again, assailed by the lawless inclination of the PDP as a party that thrives in such criminality as election rigging and which uses same to reward perpetrators who should be jailed for high crime which the Ekitigate scandal amounts to. What the Senate and its PDP members forced through in confirming Obanikoro is the audacious reign of illegality and impunity and Nigerians have a golden chance to throw the PDP to the dustbin of history on March 28.
“We note that the out going President, who was alleged to have set up the Ekiti rigging plot has bluntly refused to investigate the Ekiti scandal but had rather nominated Obanikoro for ministerial position when he should be docked. It is also important to note that the PDP members of the Senate practically forced Obanikoro’s confirmation through the stout resistance of the APC senators, the human rights community, the press and the critical mass that see the entire process as rewarding crime and have therefore called for the withdrawal of Obanikoro’s nomination.
“While we call on the country’s media, civil society groups and the critical mass to continue to insist that this reward for criminality does not stand, we urge Nigerians to see In the appointment and confirmation of Obanikoro as PDP’s bold statement on impunity and corruption, which it had made cornerstones of its misrule and throw out the PDP with the vehemence of a people tired of such brazen promotion of criminality by a cabal that sees Nigeria as its private estate. We urge Nigerians to make a loud issue of the nomination and confirmation of an alleged election rigger as a minister few weeks to a critical election, as an insult to our collective intelligence and one of the primary reasons to throw out the PDP with an emphatic thud on March 28,” the APC said.
The Senate approved Obanikoro’s nomination as a minister on Wednesday after repeated deferments, despite protests from senators from Lagos State, Obanikoro’s home state, and other opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) such as former Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki, over the Ekiti scandal.
However, the Senate allowed Obanikoro to “take a bow and go” without answering questions, a privilege reserved for former federal lawmakers. He represented Lagos State at the upper legislative chamber from 2003 – 2007. In protest, APC lawmakers walked out of the session.