SaharaReporters has learnt that former Minister of State for Defense, Musiliu Obanikoro, is entangled in a fresh corruption saga after Nigeria’s anti-corruption investigators said they found out that the ex-minister had received previously undisclosed billions of naira he illicitly received for an election.
Mr. Obanikoro recently returned to Nigeria and surrendered to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after he struck a deal with close aides of President Muhammadu Buhari. The EFCC had sought him for questioning concerning his involvement in the disbursement of illegal funds used by the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the governorship election in Ekiti State in 2014.
An EFCC source told SaharaReporters that investigators were now focusing on a separate fraud case that was recently uncovered, adding that the sum involved was in the billions of naira.
The source told SaharaReporters that, apart from the sum of N4.7 billion which the former minister had received in order to help rig Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State into office in the 2014 election, Mr. Obanikoro also reportedly received several billions of naira for his futile run for the governorship of Lagos State in 2014/2015.
According to our source, the funds were given to Mr. Obanikoro from a slush funds managed by the National Security Adviser. The same slush funds were used to fund the controversial election in Ekiti State.
The EFCC detained Mr. Obanikoro after the former minister arrived from the US and surrendered to the anti-corruption agency. He was subsequently released on administrative bail after refunding N100m out of the N800m he received from the funds the PDP voted for the governorship election in Ekiti State.
A political source in Lagos State told SaharaReporters that he was shocked that the EFCC did not seriously investigate the slush funds Mr. Obanikoro had received to finance his own election, adding that the EFCC was alerted about the matter. Obanikoro lost in the People's Democratic Party primary to Jimi Agbaje in 2014 shortly after his defeat he was offered a ministerial position by President Goodluck Jonathan for the remainder of his tenure. Obanikoro then ran away from Nigeria to the US where he claimed he was on study leave.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obanikoro has begun his political rehabilitation. Two weeks ago, he made a public outing at the funeral of Yoruba elder statesman, Olanihun Ajayi, where he openly hobnobbed with officials of the Buhari administration.