Obanikoro who resigned his appointment to contest for the Lagos State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship primaries in December lost out to Jimi Agbaje.President Goodluck Jonathan then re-nominated him along with seven others who are to replace former ministers that went to contest for governorship election last year.However, the former lawmaker who was in the Senate between 2003-2007 ran into trouble after an army Captain Sagir Koli released an audio recording in which Obanikoro was heard allegedly perfecting plans to rig the Ekiti election together with Police Affairs Minister Abdulili Adesiyan, Governor Ayo Fayose and Brigadier General, Aliyu Momoh.Last week, senators of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) at a press conference vowed to stall Obanikoro’s confirmation insisting that there are pending court cases against him before a Lagos High Court and confirming him will be subjudice.They also petitioned the senate president David Mark with all the three senators from Lagos State signing the petition opposing his confirmation.Yesterday the Senate screened four of the nominees including Senator Patricia Akwashiki (Nasarawa), Professor Nicholas Akise Ada (Benue), Col. Augustine Okwudiri Akobundu (Abia), and Eng. Fidelis Nwankwo (Ebonyi).Obanikoro’s name was listed as number six on the senate order paper but the lawmakers adjourned further screening to next week Wednesday.Before commencing the screening, the senate had held a closed-door meeting for almost two hours during which pressure was mounted by the Senate President to confirm the ex-minister.“We have to protect the integrity of this (National Assembly) institution. It is not about Obanikoro… it is about morality and that is why even some of us in the PDP are against his nomination,” a PDP senator who spoke off record said.“In as much as we respect the person of the senate president, we told him that on this issue, we are not going to side with him. We won’t be here tomorrow but the senate and National Assembly will continue to exist and that is why we must do everything possible to protect this institution,” another senator said.
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