Obanikoro Daring The Lion In Its Den | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Obanikoro Daring The Lion In Its Den

Posted: Oct 19, 2016 at 7:11 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ejikeme Omenazu

Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro, former Minister of State for Defence, who was accused of corrupt practices and using his sons to secure government contracts, on Monday returned to Nigeria from the United States of America (USA), where he has been on self-exile, to face the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Obanikoro, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, was a Senator between 2003 and 2007 and was later appointed High Commissioner to Ghana by former President Goodluck Jonathan.  Since President Muhammadu Buhari administration, he has remained in US in the face of the corrupt allegations against him by the anti-graft agency. He was accused of being involved in the infamous arms scam, as N4.75 billion arms funds was reportedly traced to his account.

On his return on Monday, he presented himself to the EFCC in Abuja. He was arrested and detained for questioning.
The EFCC has been investigating a firm belonging to Obanikoro’s two sons, Babajide and Gbolahan, for allegedly receiving the N4.75 billion arms funds from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, between April 4, 2014, and December 15, 2014. Obanikoro had earlier urged Nigerians to help him beg Buhari to extradite him from the US and see how terrible the mission would fail, claiming that the charges against him were false. The EFCC, in return, had challenged him to return to the country to face trial and prove his innocence and that of his children.

Now that he has returned from self-exile and is with the EFCC, it is time for him to proof the agency wrong. As a guest of the EFCC, observers are watching how far Obanikoro can go to prove his innocence bearing in mind the charges against him.
Will he take the easiest way out through the plea-bargaining option? There may be a lot to lose both in reputation, money and properties if found guilty? Nigerians are watching as the development unfolds.

Obanikoro, a former governorship aspirant for PDP in Lagos, is not new to controversies. As a Minister of State for Defence under Jonathan, he allegedly drafted armed soldiers to stop a project which the Lagos State government had an interest. He allegedly urged Jonathan to give him the Defence portfolio so that he could deliver Lagos to PDP. Having lost the gubernatorial primaries to Agbaje, he said the exercise was a complete sham, accusing the winner of electoral fraud. Bode George, a PDP leader and Agbaje’s key supporter, blamed Obanikoro for allegedly using thugs to unleash mayhem and intimidate delegates. But, Obanikoro put the blame at the doorsteps of George’s loyalists. When he lost the primaries, Obanikoro forgot his pledge to deliver Lagos to PDP. He sat back and watched PDP and Agbaje sink with the tide, losing to Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Comments (0)

write a comment

Name E-mail Website