Gboyega Akinsanmi and Jonathan Eze
Former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro saturday returned to the arm of his political godfather and the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu after spending more than ten years of his political career in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Obanikoro, who held different strategic positions under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, defected to the APC alongside other prominent chieftains of the PDP in Lagos State, a situation that has further depleted the rank of the opposition party in the state.
The PDP chieftains, who defected to the APC alongside Obanikoro, comprised Prince Kola Balogun, Mrs. Modupe Shasore, Hon. Wasiu Ogunlana, Hon. Kamal Olorunoje, Mr. Jide Damazio, Mr. Kayode Bawa-Allah, among others; a development that reinforced Tinubuâ€™s grip on Lagos.
At his defection that took place at Campos Square, Lagos Island yesterday, Obanikoro was received by Tinubu, who was represented by the APC National Vice Chairman (South West), Chief Pius Akinyelure and the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by the Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem.
His defection, previously speculated statewide, was witnessed by the Chairman of Lagos APC, Chief Oladele Ajomale, an APC chieftain, Alhaji Kashim Imam, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, Sen. Ganiyu Solomon, former Lagos State Commissioner for Budget & Economic Planning, Mr. Olawale Edun, the State Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal among others.
Other APC leaders, who witnessed the defection include Hon. James Faleke (Ikeja constituency), Hon. Ayo Joseph, former Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Chairman, Comrade Ayo Adewale, Hon. Moji -Ojora Meranda (Apapa constituency), Otunba Tayo Oyemade, Dr. Abayomi Finninh, Prince Adewale Ojora and other party faithful.
In an address he delivered after he was presented the flag of the APC, Obanikoro specifically appreciated Tinubu, his political godfather, Governor Ambode, Ajomale and other party chieftains that facilitated his defection to the APC after he abandoned Tinubuâ€™s political camp over 10 years ago.
He, therefore, pledged to work for the growth of the party in Lagos and Nigeria, noting that his return to the political family of Tinubu and defection to the APC would mark a new beginning.
Obanikoroâ€™s defection had stirred insinuation that he might contest elective positions in the 2019 general election, though it was not yet clear the political office the former minister might contest.
An APC chieftain disclosed that Obanikoro had made up his mind not to dabble into the governorship race, noting that his plan was to team up with Tinubu and Ambode to further strengthen the APC, not only in Lagos State and South West, but equally across 36 states of the federation.
He added that Obanikoro might want to contest senatorial election either in Lagos East Senatorial District currently being represented by Sen. Gbenga Ashafa or Lagos West Senatorial District, which Sen. Adeola Olamilekan-Solomon is currently representing at the Senate.
He noted that Obanikoroâ€™s defection had already thrown the APC chieftains in the two senatorial districts into confusion, especially those from 6 LCDAs/LGAs in Alimosho and 4 LCDAs/LCDAs in Kosofe and Somolu, citing their refusal to accept the partyâ€™s proposal to accommodate all interests in the constitution of the LCDA/LGA Executive Councils across the state.