According to PMNews & Premium Times, Musiliu Obanikoro, has confessed to several senators in Abuja that he did participate in an election-eve meeting in Ekiti in June 2014 in which a group of politicians and government ministers met with a Nigerian army general to rig the governorship election in favor of Ayodele Fayose, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The meeting, which is now known as “Ekitigate”, was secretly taped by an army captain who was subsequently forced to flee for his life.
Despite the scandal, President Jonathan went ahead to nominate Obanikoro into his cabinet for the second time, and the nominee is lobbying the Senators to give him a pass during his upcoming nomination hearing.
On Tuesday night, Obanikoro, who is also a US citizen, assured some of the Senators that his US lawyers had already filed the libel suit against SaharaReporters in New York.
On Wednesday, Obanikoro deployed a small rented a crowd of protesters to hold placards in front of the National Assembly to denounce the All Progressives Congress.
Obanikoro’s story is that he was simply making “peace” between the army and Ayo Fayose at the meeting, claiming that he was not party to any conversation about rigging. On the contrary, Obanikoro, who was at the time junior Minister for Defence, is overheard clearly on the tape bragging about the authority granted him by President Jonathan.
A presidency source said Obanikoro told President Jonathan he was present at the meeting but that a part of the audio-recording was “doctored”.
They said President Jonathan had called him to the meeting to discuss how to mitigate the damage created by the leaked tape. He told the Senators categorically that it was Jonathan himself who had sent him to Ekiti to help Fayose win the election. On the tape, Obanikoro says, at least twice, that he is on a “mission” for the President.