The recent decision by the National Assembly to postpone the screening exercise of nominated ministerial candidates to Tuesday, March 3, has been received with jubilation within an anti-Musiliu Obanikoro faction of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos ostensibly led by Chief Bode George.
Reliable sources within the party revealed that some PDP stalwarts in Lagos are elated over this development as Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Ambassador of Nigeria to Ghana and former Minister of State for Defence, is perceived as power drunk and disrespectful of higher party authorities.
According to a top party official who spoke in anonymity, “It was jubilation galore when we heard the news because most of us in Lagos do not want Musiliu Obanikoro to represent Lagos State at the ministerial level. We believe that with him as a minister, he will want to lord it over us all and automatically want to unseat Chief Bode George as the party leader in Lagos. A direction that we are committed to resist vehemently especially when you consider the rising popularity of PDP in Lagos recently…
“We all saw his behavior when he was the Minister of State for Defence. He turned himself to a god,though he was a junior minister. If he is now made a senior minister, then nobody in PDP Lagos will mean anything to him”.
The source went further by drawing attention to the manner with which Senator Obanikoro handled his failure to clinch PDP’s gubernatorial ticket of Lagos State, the decision to challenge the gubernatorial primaries result in court and disdainful treatment of Lagos PDP strongman, Chief Bode George.
“Look at Koro’s reaction when he lost at the Lagos state PDP gubernatorial primaries. He felt because he was just coming from the federal level the gubernatorial ticket will be automatic not imagining he might lose to Jimi Agbaje, a relatively new PDP member then. After he lost, all hell was let loose on us. You all witnessed the kind of treatment he meted out on the state leaders of PDP, Chief Bode George and Ogunlewe, calling the respected men names”, he concluded.
It will be recalled that Musiliu Obanikoro had resigned from his ministerial post in order to seek the nomination of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the party’s governorship candidate for Lagos State. In the party’s primary, Senator Obanikoro lost the governorship ticket to Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
After losing the Lagos gubernatorial PDP primaries, it was reported that Obanikoro was promised a senior ministerial slot in the president’s cabinet as compensation via reconciliation meeting led by Vice President Namadi Sambo and Dr. Peter Obi held in Lagos in December 2014. Prior to this meeting, Obanikoro had publicly lambasted his party’s conduct of the Lagos primaries describing it as a ‘sham’. The former minister also engaged in war of words with Jimi Agbaje and the state leader of PDP, Chief Bode George, consequently making attempts to seek redress in court.
Beside his penchant for vocal outbursts and power lust, the concerned members of Lagos PDP, added that Obanikoro’s role in the ‘Ekitigate’ election rigging scandal has become an embarrassment to the party. With the ‘Ekitigate’ tape and video in the public domain, his role and involvement is working against the party winning the forthcoming election in the state. In fact, he can not be trusted as to his total loyalty to the party in Lagos State.
Another reason given why Obanikoro is not favoured as a ministerial nominee from Lagos is because Chief Bode George prefers the presidency retains the post as compensation for the PDP candidate in the forthcoming Lagos Gubernatorial election peradventure Jimi Agbaje loses at the polls. Or in the interim, why can’t he (Bode George) be made a minister instead, considering his ‘enormous’ Sacrifice