by Damilola Jagun
A civil society group, All Nigeria Save Democracy Movement, is seeking to block the ratification of the Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, after being nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan for ministerial appointment.
Last week, the president sent 8 names, which included former Minister of Defence, to the Senate for approval.
However, the group has filed a petition to the Senate President, David Mark, through Senators Gbenga Ashafa and Obafemi Ojudu, stating several reasons why Obanikoro was not qualified to be appointed as minister.
In a statement released on Sunday, February 22, the group pointed out that Obanikoro holds dual citizenship of USA and Nigeria, and according to the provisions of the constitution, he is not eligible for the post.
It said: “Section 147 (5) of the Constitution, as amended, provides that no person shall be appointed as a minister of the government of the federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives.”
“Section 66 (1) (a) of the Constitution also states that no person shall be qualified for election to the Senate or the House of Representatives if – subject to the provisions of Section 28 of the Constitution, he has voluntarily acquired the citizenship to a country other than Nigeria or, except in such cases as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, has made a declaration of allegiance to such a country.”
“These provisions are so clear as to remove any ambiguity as to the spirit and letter of their constitutional/legal implications. By these provisions alone, Musiliu Obanikoro was not even qualified in the first instance to run for the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but managed to manipulate the system to get himself elected into the Senate in 1999, which in itself was fraudulent and criminal. As a matter of fact, his title of senator should be nullified having obtained same fraudulently,” the statement added.