A former Minister for State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has not defected to the All Progressives Congress contrary to reports and rumours particularly on social media, family sources and close associates to the politician have told PREMIUM TIMES.
“The former minister remains a strong member of the Peoples Democratic Party,” an impeccable source who did not want to be named said Sunday night.
“He only met with Asiwaju Tinubu for reconciliation,” he added.
Reports that Mr. Obanikoro, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, had decamped to the ruling APC surfaced in the media this weekend, with many of the reports crediting Mr. Tinubu as having brokered the move.
Mr. Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, was said to have received Mr. Obanikoro at his residence in Lagos and prevailed on him to decamp to the party.
But PREMIUM TIMES can now report that the defection was yet to happen, even though it was not entirely ruled out.
Another family source said even though Mr. Obanikoro had restored friendship with Mr. Tinubu, he’s still hedging his bet on how to make the next move due to the lingering political stalemate in the PDP.
“We know for sure that he will not work with the Ali Modu Sheriff in the PDP,” the source said. “The situation is very dicey in the PDP right now, so if eventually he would have to move to the APC, then we can’t rule it out.”
Phone calls and text messages to Mr. Obanikoro were not answered.
A close associate to the former minister said it is only a matter of time before Mr. Obanikoro defects to the APC.
“He may not want to deny it because maybe, eventually, he may go,” said the associate who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak on it.
“He has said that he can never work with (Ali Modu) Sheriff, I see that as just about time… many of them who say they will never work with Sheriff probably have their minds elsewhere. But they just have to be patient, Sheriff will only be there till June, when the party will hold its Convention, and it’s not possible that he (Sheriff) will take everything.”
Mr. Obanikoro, a former senator, also served, during the previous administration, as a minister of state for foreign affairs and Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana.
He was the subject of an Economic and Financial Crimes investigation of a N4.8 billion allegedly received from the office of the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, an allegation Mr. Obanikoro denies.
In October, he was remanded in EFCC custody after he turned himself in to the anti-graft agency.
On November 3, he returned about N100 million to the EFCC and was released a day later. PREMIUMTIMES.M