As the saying goes,” he who laugh last laugh best”. This appears to be Senator Obanikoro’s story at the moment. After so much opposition from the opposition lawmakers against his confirmation as minister, the man, Obanikoro eventually gets confirmed as a minister of the federal rebulic of Nigeria on Wednesday. The Senate, on Wednesday, concluded the screening and confirmation of eight ministerial nominees including a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, despite stiff resistance by members of the opposition All Progressives Congress.
The upper chamber had at the resumed sitting in the committee of the whole, extended special privilege of, ‘take a bow,’ to Messrs Hauwa Lawan, (Jigawa); Kenneth Kobani (Rivers); and Joel IKenya, (Taraba) while the opposition vehemently resisted the appearance of Obanikoro, a nominee from Lagos state, before the senate.
Senate President, David Mark, frustrated all attempts by Senators Bukola Saraki, Olugbenga Ashafa, Babajide Omoworare, George Akume, Olubunmi Adetunmbi and Ganiyu Solomon, among others, to frustrate Obanikoro’s clearance. The aggrieved senators cited various constitutional and senate points of order to draw Mark’s attention to the fact that Obanikoro was not eligible to be appointed as a minister because he had been implicated in some very sensitive issues that touched on serious national interest.
They also argued that there were some legal suits hanging on the neck of Obanikoro including an originating summons of a Lagos High Court instituted by a Peoples Democratic Party member, Kemi Lawal, which restrained the Senate against confirming Obanikoro as minister. Mark ruled all the opposition senators out of order amidst the rowdy session, and insisted that the purported order of perpetual injunction restraining the chamber from confirming the nominee had not been served on him.
Angered by Mark’s insistence that the screening and confirmation of the ministers must continue, all the opposition senators walked out of the chamber and addressed a press conference where they expressed their disappointment in the senate leadership handling of the issue. Notwithstanding the fact that the senators had left the chamber, the senate president still went ahead by ruling on the overwhelming voice votes of the remaining PDP senators who approved the nomination and confirmation of Obanikoro and the other nominees as ministers. Other nominees confirmed by the senate having been earlier screened last week included, Senator Patricia Akwashiki (Nasarawa); Prof. Nicholas Akise Ada (Benue); Col. Augustine Akobundu (retd.) (Abia); and Mr. Fidelis Nwankwo (Ebonyi).