Musiliu Obanikoro served as Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in the immediate-past administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
In this exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES’ Samuel Ogundipe, Mr. Obanikoro, a one-term senator and former Minister of State for Defence, tells his own side of the story from his abode in the United States, as Nigeria’s anti-graft officials continue their investigations into his activities while in office, as well as those of his two sons, Jide and Gbolahan.
You dared the government to seek your extradition in a statement you released a day after your property was raided in Lagos, did you do that because you’re in America or because you’re confident of your innocence?
You know why I am laughing? Because they have trivialised government by all those senseless propaganda that they’re perpetrating all over the place. These people you’re talking about, they know they don’t have anything that will withstand judicial scrutiny.
They will never attempt any extradition. I, Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro, am inviting EFCC to petition America to extradite me to Nigeria. The whole world would now see their charade for what it is. It is even good for everyone to know the truth, including those who are sympathisers to the All Progressives Congress.
Because, in Nigeria, you’re either on this side or the other side. But this American system is unbiased. They’re neither for me nor for them. So, let them bring the tissue of lies that they have put together and submit everything to serious judicial scrutiny and let us see whether it will fly. I am inviting them to do that.
Let them tell us how APC elections were funded if it was not government funds that they used. So why are you persecuting people that lost election and maturely and showing respect for peace and tranquility of Nigeria submitted themselves to the rule of law and accepted the verdict of the people and you’re now turning around to witchhunt them?
Maybe they’re trying to tell Nigerians in advance that if they lose elections they will not let go. And I have two good examples to show that if the APC loses election they will never hand over, they would rather destroy the system than hand over government to the winner. My son was a victim in Lagos. We won elections and they refused to hand over without blinking an eye. The councillorship election of my son and chairmanship elections were won by the PDP and they took everything away from them—just like that.
But, as the saying goes, the law is like a sieve, so it can’t catch all offenders. Similarly, if you’ve done anything to breach public trust as a minister, shouldn’t you be made to pay for your actions in order to deter others from committing similar offence?
Mr brother, don’t let us be naive. There are petitions against [Minister of Transport, Rotimi] Amaechi and there are petitions against [Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Tunde] Fashola with the EFCC. They have decided not to touch them because they are in government and they are in APC. We are all Nigerians, are you telling me all APC members are clean? And I am telling you authoritatively as someone who had worked extensively in security institutions in Nigeria that government funds at the state level were used to help APC win elections.
You see, it is unfortunate that these people will use propaganda to destroy people unjustly. And, in this month of Ramadan, God will visit them in his own way. Read full interview in PremiumTimes