Nigeria Matters

Between Obanikoro and Onikoro

We have got an identity problem to deal with, first and foremost, in this essay. The identity of the subject seems to be two but embedded in one! One is a Nigerian citizen of Lagos state origin and the other an American citizen of Nigerian origin. One is officially called Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro and the other Muhammed Musiliu Olatunde Onikoro. Obanikoro was a former Senator for Lagos state, former gubernatorial aspirant, former High Commissioner of Nigeria to Ghana and former Minister of State for Defence. Onikoro, on the other hand, is a nonentity not known to Nigerians either as a politician or a businessman or both. In this digital age, IT revolutionary era where fakery and forgery are rampant one must be careful not to be fooled by executive crooks and reprobates.

efccLike the old nasty Bode George (who haughtily signed out often after every administrative duty in his prime as a ‘Lagos boy’) Obanikoro is a Lagos big boy, a pecuniary politician who is not afraid of scandals bordering on graft or filthy lucre. Onikoro alias Obanikoro is an American citizen of African descent who allegedly falsified his birth certificate to be able to enroll himself in school and/or fool some of the people in the US. This cannot be mistaken as an identity theft but a deliberate criminal name-dropping that suits his current fugitive status in the States. Like the embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who made a false assets declaration in order to cover up his past or future shady deals in government, Obanikoro must have initiated the move of slight name change to mask any drive towards his prosecution for past or future fraudulent activities.

So, in a nutshell, it has been established investigatively that Obanikoro and Onikoro are the same and only person, so the issue of double personality or identity does not arise anywhere. Now, there is still a little problem here, a snag worth pointing out. Whereas Musiliu the son of Obanikoro is recognised by his father as a legitimate scion the same cannot be said of Muhammed the son of Onikoro. The latter must, therefore, be a bastard disowned at birth or an illegitimate product of a biological fecundity of a poor woman. In any case woe betide that pathetic black Eve for ever contemplating any conception at all given the moral damage the ‘son’ has brought her!

Musiliu Obanikoro was in the news recently in Nigeria and America for reasons of embezzlement of funds and corruption. Weeks ago the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria had raided the Lagos country home of the former Minister and took away posh cars and exorbitant wrist-watches and other valuable items. Of course he was not at home by the time the anti-graft operatives stormed his residence. His family members and relatives were found to be residing in the house and the operation went well as no one was arrested or harrassed according to online reports. But Obanikoro was fuming from the States condemning the raid and exclaiming that it was done without any valid court warrant! Court warrant my foot! As a wanted man on the EFCC list it is normal for the agency to visit his home in search of incriminating evidence against him.

The EFCC are apparently in hot pursuit of the Obanikoros for their alleged money laundering activities using a company, Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, said to belong to the family and their associates. Gbolahan and Babajide are said to be among the signatories to the account of the company that was used to receive and launder the slush NSA funds (about N4.7 billion) meant to purchase arms for the military. But our former failed guber aspirant had risen in sharp defense of his boys now resident overseas. It is a good thing for a good father worth his manhood to defend a son or daughter no matter the delinquent circumstances but when that father happens to be a politically boorish and perfidious character then such defense holds no water.

The former High Commissioner was angry in an interview he granted the online medium, Premium Times, from the US. According to him: “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”. He continued thus: “Let me tell you, I will not honour any invitation from the EFCC and neither would I allow my children to be part of that charade…I am telling you and I am appealing to all Nigerians to also join me in asking them to seek my extradition”. Interesting indeed! Obanikoro is asking us to join him in asking the EFCC or the Federal Government to seek his extradition from America in order for him to face justice?

Well, we have taken up that challenge by calling on the EFCC management and the government to urgently initiate extradition moves against the electoral predator. Using diplomatic channels it is not a hopeless case to seek to bring back ‘Obani-kolo’ (‘kolo’ meaning the deranged mental condition in the popular Nigerian local parlance) to respond to many crimes against the Nigerian people especially his ignoble role in the ‘Ekitigate’ saga. Since he sounded imperially arrogant and contemptible of the law and justice in Nigeria the government must accept to play the ‘game’ of extradition and let us see who would remain standing and rubbished at the end of the day. This over-fed Lagos pervert must not be allowed to ridicule an agency charged with the hard task of nipping graft in the bud and arresting executive fraudsters like him.

It is too cheap, nay too easy (yet uncommon) for a notorious politician of Obanikoro’s standing, fugitive et al, to be hiding in America and talking big, talking trash, issuing challenge to constituted authorities to come and get him over there if they were serious about fighting corruption. The ball is, however, in Obanikoro’s camp to prove his innocence. Or just shut the hell up for good! He should fly back home and confront his accusers head-on; there are competent courts out there to decide his culpability or otherwise. But what is not acceptable is firing from abroad and crying of persecution as if there is one in Nigeria. The war on graft has made some notable progress and those that illicitly enriched themselves are cooling their heels in detention awaiting trial or having their days in court. And others have since returned part of what they stole in exchange for freedom and/or a soft-landing.

Obanikoro is not new to scandals. The “Ekiti-gate” episode had him as one of the principal actors. Remember one Captain Sagir Koli? He was the patriotic army captain that recorded a leaked audio detailing how the Ekiti gubernatorial election was rigged in favour of the embattled PDP rogue Governor Ayo Fayose. The then Minister for Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, Osun State Senator, Iyiola Omisore, Obanikoro, Chris Uba and the retired Brig-Gen Aliyu Momoh under the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan connived with army officers and police to harass, intimidate and arrest members of the opposition APC party in order to facilitate Fayose’s re-election. Millions of dollars were made available by the detained ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki to prosecute the Ekiti guber ‘war’ which predictably saw Fayose triumph over the incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi.

Obanikoro has more than one pending case of fraud to answer before the EFCC but he is nowhere to be found. He had fled the country (he claimed he loved dearly) after the inauguration of President Buhari in May last year. Presently he is in the US graduating from one college or university to another. But the law is always patient and justice blind. No matter how many months or years it takes for Obanikoro to come back home his charge sheet of crimes would be waiting for him right from the airport. His empty bluff must be called. He cannot claim to be bigger than the Dikkos, the Metuhs and the Fani-Kayodes now standing trial before Judges and having their days in court of competent jurisdiction.

Between Obanikoro and Onikoro there is, indeed, a compelling need for the real man to set up another company at the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja aptly named “Obanikoro/Onikoro And Sons Ltd” through which looted funds could be safely laundered offshore. That way the business of political corruption and money laundering could be more beneficial to both dad and sons.

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