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Published On: Tue, Apr 15th, 2014

Obanikoro and the Nigerian army

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By Joe Igbokwe

Musiliu Obanikoro is Nigeria’s Minister of State for Defence. The day the former senator was appointed a junior minister was the day I wrote off this government. Obanikoro came to the limelight when he became the chairman, Lagos Island local government council few years back. During his tenure the vibrant and viable local government went bankrupt. In 1999, he was made a commissioner by Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the then Alliance for Democracy (AD). Commissioner Obanikoro, was made to lead a delegation of Lagos Muslims on pilgrimage in Mecca. What happened in Mecca is now history. Finally Asiwaju BAT decided to make him a Senator under Action Congress, but Obanikoro got to Abuja and betrayed his party by joining PDP. His last outing before he became a Minister was an Ambassadorial position in Ghana.

As 2015 elections draw near, I guess Obanikoro must have begged President Jonathan to specifically make him a Minister of Defense so that he can deliver Lagos and South West to PDP in 2015 through the use of military to create enough tension and siege in Lagos. In doing this I guess their thinking is that Lagosians will be so cowed and intimidated that they will put no resistance at all and PDP will take over Lagos and South West.

This is the reason why Obanikoro ‘invaded’ Ondo state during a House of Representatives by-election in the name of fighting for PDP. Recall that Nasir el-Rufai went alone to Anambra to monitor the last year guber elections and was stopped by the State Security Services but it was okay for Obanikoro to invade Ondo state with soldiers to steal votes for PDP. As if that was not enough, Obanikoro invaded Lagos with military personnel to stop Housing Projects in Lagos Island and the one close to Adeniji Adele and of the Third Mainland Bridge called Illubirin on the pretext that the land belongs to the Federal Government. Now what is the meaning of this? Is Obanikoro fighting for Lagosians or for his pocket? Is it for personal ambition or for PDP’s advancement in the South-west.

APC has commissioned an enquiry into the motive for this brigandage in Lagos and got a damning report that Obanikoro and his co-travelers have concluded plans to inflict maximum disorder and confusion in Lagos in preparation for the 2015 general elections. PDP and its spin doctors have found out that they do not have the Capacity and capability to unseat APC in the South West and hence the need to resort to brutal force and intimidation using the federal might. That is why Senator Iyiola Omisore, a suspect in the murder case of the late Attorney General of the federation Chief Bola Ige is the PDP Guber candidate of Osun State. That is the reason why Ayo Fayose, a thug and a bus conductor who is standing trial for murder in Ekitti State is the flag bearer of PDP in Ekitti State.

Successive Federal Governments under civilian dispensation have used the police and other agencies of government to win elections in Nigeria since 1979 and only the military has been spared of this mess. But now that Obanikoro has dragged the well-respected armed forces into politics, what do we expect in 2015? Can anybody see and feel the danger of dragging the armed forces into local politics? Can anybody imagine the consequences of this dangerous trend in the history of Nigeria? Yes the Army of Nigeria has been involved in the business of military coups in the past but not in local politics. This is the reason why Obanikoro must be investigated by the army and sanctioned if found guilty. Did President Jonathan authorize his brigandage in Lagos? Can a political thug like Senator Obanikoro be allowed to ridicule the Army of Nigeria? Can he get away with this lawlessness without sanctions?

My take on this is that Senator Obanikoro should be sacked from the Ministry of Defense. His actions and deeds since he assumed office is unbecoming of anybody that is privileged to be a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. As for 2015 elections Obanikoro and his soldiers or thugs will meet us in Lagos and the South West and I can bet that they will kiss the dust once again. I have said it before that PDP Lagos lacks common sense, strategy for critical thinking, they are not cerebral, and they are not pro-active. This invasion of Lagos will backfire in 2015 and Lagos PDP will cry again. This I can assure you.

Joe Igbokwe lives in Lagos

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