President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday re-appointed former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos), with six others as ministerial nominees and consequently sought Senate's confirmation for the new appointments.
Obanikoro, a former Nigeria's High Commissioner to Ghana, had resigned from the cabinet of the president last year along with former ministers of information and health, Labaran Maku (Nasarawa) and Onyecbuchi Chukwu (Ebonyi), to pursue his gubernatorial ambition on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He, however, lost to Mr. Jimi Agbaje at the primaries.
Also on the list, according to sources from the Presidency, are a former Senator Patricia Akwashiki (Nasarrawa) and a former National Treasurer of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Kenneth Kobani (Rivers State).
Efforts to get the full list of the nominees on Friday proved abortive as the Senate was still on break following its adjournment on January 14 and won't resume until February 17 after the National Assembly election. One of the aides of Senate President, David Mark contacted over the list denied knowledge of its arrival in the Senate.
It was learnt that Obanikoro's re-appointment was a fulfilment of Jonathan's promise to the former senator after agreeing to withdraw his suit in the court against the emergence of Agbaje as PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State last November. Obanikoro was said to have been prevailed upon to bury the hatchet and support Agbaje's candidature with a view to ensuring that PDP goes into the February 28 poll with a unity of purpose.
Like Obanikoro, nearly all the former ministers who quit the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to pursue governorship ambitions lost out at the primaries, resulting in the defection of some of them, notably Maku, to other parties. Maku has since picked the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Nasarawa State.
Other ministers who resigned and lost their governorship bids are Emeka Wogu, former Minister of Labour and Productivity (Abia), Samuel Ortom, former Minister of Science and Technology (Benue) and Godsday Orubebe, former Minister for Niger Delta (Delta)
Obanikoro was first appointed as a ministerial nominee on January 21, 2014, along with eight other nominees including former National Security Adviser and incumbent Minister of Defence, Aliyu Gusau (Zamfara); former governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna; former Nigeria's High Commissioner to China, Aminu Wali (Kano) and current Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil (Borno).
Others were incumbent Minister for Housing, Akon Eyakenyi (Akwa Ibom), incumbent Minister of Sports, Taminu Danagogo, his counterpart in Ministry of Environment, Lawrencia Mallam (Environment), among others.