The Senate on Wednesday, failed to conduct the screening and confirmation of eight ministerial nominees, shifting the exercise till next Tuesday.
The postponement was announced two hours after all the ministerial nominees, including Senators Musiliu Obanikoro, Patricia Akwashiki and Joel Danlami Ikenya, among others, were already in the senate wing of the National Assembly premises, waiting to be called upon for the screening and confirmation exercise.
One man, whose screening might not be an entirely smooth scale, despite being a former senator, is Mr. Obanikoro, whom opposition to his nomination by President Goodluck Jonathan, is gathering momentum in the red chamber.
This much was confirmed by spokesperson for the opposition All Progressives Congress, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, who said there were two petitions against Obanikoro’s nomination.
The petitions, according to him, had been forwarded to Senate President David Mark.
The petition dated Thursday, February 12, which was submitted through Ojudu and Senator Gbenga Ashafa, highlighted Obanikoro’s alleged role in the August 2014 Ekiti governorship election.
It also detailed the use of armed soldiers to stop the Ilubirin Housing Project in Lagos, among others.
Ojudu also said that since there was a suit against Obanikoro in a Lagos court vide No: ID/433GCN/14, it would be prejudicial for the senate to screen and confirm him alongside other ministerial nominees.
He said, “There’s a court case against Obanikoro in Lagos and that case is coming up for hearing March 6. Should the Senate go ahead to screen Obanikoro next Tuesday, it means the Senate has prejudiced the case.
“That would be illegal because the tradition and the rule is that if there is a case before the court, the matter should not be entertained.
“This case is already before the Judiciary and it has to be with whether he’s fit and proper person, and whether he is qualified to hold public office.
“Even the case of whether he has dual citizenship is not for the Senate to determine. Bedsides, this case is not even about that. Whatever the matter is, there is a subsisting case against Obanikoro before a court”.