Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro
Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro

Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro is a Nigerian politician. He served as Senator for Lagos State from 2003–2007 and was later appointed High Commissioner to Ghana. He served as the Minister of State for Defence during the Goodluck Jonathan government in 2014.

He was born in Lagos and belongs to the Bakare family of Ita-Ado in Isale Eko, Ikare, and Ilashe in Amuwo Odofin Local Government of Lagos State, the Obanikoro (Ajayi-Bembe) family of Lagos and Idoluwole (Ojo Local Government of Lagos), and the Eletu-Odibo (Oshobile) family of Isale-Eko, Lagos. 

Koro lost his father, Yekini Onikoro, during his teenage years on November 25, 1976, and he was raised by his illiterate mother Ejide Onikoro. Having to fend for himself by hawking newspapers and akpoti (stools) on the streets of Lagos, he completed his primary and secondary school education at the St. Patrick Catholic school Idumagbo, Lagos and Ahmadiya College (currently Anwaru Islam), Agege, Lagos.

Immediately after secondary school, Koro worked briefly with the Lagos State Health Management Board before joining the Union Bank of Nigeria as a Clerical Officer. After a year and a half, Koro gained admission into Texas Southern University (TSU) the USA, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Affairs (Concentration in Criminal Justice) and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

After TSU, Koro worked with the Houston Adult Probation Department for several years before joining the New York City Department of Social Services as a social worker at the Little flower Children Service Agency. After two years, he became the Head of the Adolescent Department.

Koro has always had a passion for public service and the welfare of the general public. Realizing that his qualifications, passion, and energy would better serve his countrymen in Nigeria. 

In 1989, he returned to Nigeria and started his political career immediately. Obanikoro was appointed as Caretaker Committee Chairman of Surulere Local Government (National Republican Convention); State Deputy Chairman (NRC). He was later appointed by Governor Otedola’s administration as Director, LASBULK (Lagos State Bulk Purchasing Corporation); and member, Lagos State Football Association. He has served as Delegate to Local Government Congress, State Congress, and National Convention. He has also served as Elected State Secretary, Justice Forum. He was also the Chairman, Lagos Island Local Government. He was a national Executive member, Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM) under the military government of General Sani Abacha.

Obanikoro was appointed State Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture in 1999 and served for four years before he was elected Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was elected senator for Lagos Central in April 2003, running for the Alliance for Democracy (AD).

He was appointed by President Olusegun Obasanjo as a member of the 2004 Amirul-Hajj Committee.

In February 2005, Obanikoro was among senators who urged the African Union chairman, President Olusegun Obasanjo, to use military force if necessary to restore democracy in Togo.

As a senator, he initiated an Urban renewal bill that is designed to give a face-lift to selected cities in Lagos. He set aside funds to help children and women who need financial assistance during surgery. Dozens of Lagosians have benefited from this fund. He is currently in partnership with a US-based NGO (AWHPI) to set up a mammogram center that will enable women to test for breast cancer for free in Lagos.

In April 2007 Musiliu Obanikoro ran for governor of Lagos State on the PDP ticket. The ambition of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Lagos State governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, comes under severe threat, as the rival Action Congress unfurls a hail of information challenging the fidelity of his personal Politics, it is commonly said, is war. 

The Action Congress (AC) in Lagos State unveiled its weapon in its bid to win the state governorship election. The weapon’s major components had appeared in newspaper advertisements, providing the public with a surfeit of materials for political gossip. In every way, each component of the weapon carries an equal amount of menace, as they all questioned the integrity and eligibility of Senator Musiliu Olatunde Obanikoro, candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He lost the election to Babatunde Fashola of the Action Congress.

In May 2008, He was appointed by President Umaru Yar’Adua as Nigerian High commissioner to Ghana.

Senator Obanikoro Musiliu Obanikoro was appointed and sworn in as Minister of State Federal Ministry of Defence by President Goodluck Jonathan in March 2014. 

The controversy around the Lagos politician, Musiliu Obanikoro, 

Musiliu Obanikoro as a federal minister, appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan, amid allegations that Mr. Obanikoro played a key role in election fraud in Ekiti State. Leaked tape at the time showed him as a principal actor in the state’s governorship election rigging in 2014, sparking national outrage.

The Senate approved Mr. Obanikoro’s nomination as a minister, after repeated deferments, despite protests from senators from Lagos State, Mr. Obanikoro’s home state, and other opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, who had vowed to stop the clearance over the Ekiti scandal. As a former senator himself, the Senate allowed Mr. Obanikoro to “take a bow and go”, without answering questions, a privilege reserved for former federal lawmakers. APC lawmakers responded by walking out of the session in protest.

He was assigned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as minister of state 2, the third in line in hierarchy. While his opponents within and outside the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) argue that the portfolio is belittling of Koro’s status, another school of thought believes that the former senator’s new ministerial posting was a strategic move by President Goodluck Jonathan to divert ceaseless attention from the minister who has been enmeshed in series of controversies, chief of which is his alleged involvement in the manipulation of the last Ekiti governorship election. And for those who believe Obanikoro’s influence has diminished his influence in the campaign of his party, particularly in Lagos State. 

The minister, it was gathered, was instrumental in the holding of almost all the strategic consultations the president had with several interest groups in the state within the weeks leading elections.

Musiliu Obanikoro is in the net of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over allegations of fraud. In one court instance, a witness turned up against him and told the court how he had handed over NI.2 billion cash to the former Minister of State for Defence and Lagos-politician.

The witness, Abiodun Agbele, who was the aid of the former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, said N1.2 billion slush fund was arranged for Musiliu Obanikoro ahead of Ekiti governorship election for 2014.

Another witness was a former Head of Cash and Transit at Diamond Bank Plc. He told Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja how he moved out cash from the local wing of Lagos Airport and handed over to Obanikoro.

According to the witness, the cash was arranged in 65 big sacks known as ‘jumbo bags’, the witness said he got instructions from his director via phone to give the slush cash to Musiliu Obanikoro at the airport.

Identified as exhibit AA13, was a copy of the instructions given by the director to give the money to the controversial senator, later minister. The exhibit was admitted in court as evidence.

Koro is happily married to his wife Omolola, and they are blessed with four children: Babajide, Gbolahan, Monisola, and Olamiju, as well as six grandchildren. 

His first son Ibrahim Babajide Obanikolo, popularly called IBO, who was born in the early eighties Lagos took after his father as a politician. 

Ibrahim Babajide Obanikolo who would later represent Eti-Osa Federal Constituency, Lagos Nigeria attended the prestigious King’s College, Lagos and from there, proceeded to St Cloud University, Minnesota, the USA where he bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. He also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Pace University, New York, USA.

As a student in the USA, IBO also acquired a wealth of experience in criminal justice administration. He did an internship at the Court House in St Cloud University, Minnesota, USA. He also interned as Assistant Liaison Officer at the Brooklyn Borough Districts under Commissioner Turner. He had a stint at Pace University, New York as a Graduate Assistant.