A human rights activist, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has thrown his weight behind the Senate in its screening and confirmation of Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, as a minister.
Senators of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had kicked against Obanikoro’s nomination as a minister by President Goodluck Jonathan owing to his alleged involvement in rigging of the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State. The opposition senators also cited the former Lagos PDP guber aspirant’s implication in “very sensitive issues that touch on national interest” as well as court cases, among their reasons for opposing his nomination.
However, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria said there was no reason to refuse Obanikoro such an appointment based on allegations that had not been proven in court.
He said, “Our system of justice ceased to be accusatorial and it has become inquisitorial. Until our system of justice goes according to the recommendation of the National Conference last year, which states that it is a person rather than the state that will prove his innocence, our criminal system of justice will continue to recognise that one is deemed innocent until proven guilty.
“Obanikoro was accused of being one of those whose voices were on a tape in connection with an alleged rigging of elections in Ekiti State. Not only did he deny it, he went to court. He is in court because he wants to prove that he did not do it. Even if Obanikoro has a criminal case against him, he has not been convicted by a court of law. Should that stigmatise him to prevent him from enjoying anything?”