The chairman of the All progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Saturday raised concerns over an encounter he said he had with the State Security Service recently.
Mr Oshiomhole said he was questioned by the secret police last weekend in Abuja on issues bordering on the party’s recent primaries. Mr Oshiomhole said he did not believe the SSS was the appropriate agency for such interrogation in a constitutional democracy.
“The conversation centred around APC primaries,” TheCable reported Mr Oshiomhole as saying after debunking reports that he was arrested and detained by the secret police. “The question now is whether or not it is the DSS (SSS) job to interfere in a political party’s issues.”
“And if there is an allegation of corruption, it is the responsibility of EFCC and ICPC,” Mr Oshiomhole added according to TheCable, which said the former Edo State governor met with editors in Lagos on Saturday.
Mr Oshiomhole also said he drove himself out of the SSS facility following interrogation, denying he was collected by Governor Yahaya Bello.
Mr Oshiomhole said he traveled out of Nigeria on Tuesday, and responded to an alarm raised by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party that he had absconded. The party also urged the Interpol and other security agencies to launch a manhunt for Mr Oshiomhole.
The former governor accused the opposition party of being petty, saying it would not have tolerated its leaders being grilled by security agencies like he was made to endure, TheCable reported.
Mr Oshiomhole’s meeting with the editors comes a day after he returned to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, where we learnt he met with Bola Tinubu, a leader of the ruling party who had been undergoing treatment for undisclosed ailments in London.
TheCable reported earlier this week that Mr Oshiomhole was questioned by the SSS for nine hours on suspicion he had taken humongous bribes from APC politicians to manipulate the party’s primaries in favour of persons he preferred.
The exercise held between September and October, producing the party’s candidates for presidential, governorship and legislative offices.
Several APC governors whom Mr Oshiomhole apparently truncated their plans to nominate successors have been publicly fuming with the party chairman.
Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha and Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun have been particularly furious, publicly accusing Mr Oshiomhole of disregarding party’s constitution in conduct of primaries and demanding his immediate removal.
Both Messrs Amosun and Okorocha believe Mr Oshiomhole has the backing of Mr Tinubu, whose influence over party affairs is widely acknowledged even though he does not hold a formal position.
Mr Oshiomhole has denied allegations of fraud against him, and challenged those who have issues with his leadership to leave the party. But law enforcement and intelligence sources have told PREMIUM TIMES Mr Oshiomhole has become a person of interest in recent weeks.
“We have received strong new materials which suggested him as an interesting individual who should be thorough investigated,” an intelligence source said. “We have commenced work in that regard.”
Mr Oshiomhole, who became the party’s chairman amidst controversial atmosphere in June, has been accused of taking bribes through political allies and blood relations to admit some politicians as the party’s candidates in 2019.
Some of his alleged proxies have been identified by law enforcement officers, but the political undertone of the probe has made it difficult to determine when they would be called in for questioning, especially as it would require approval up to the presidency level move against those involved, sources said.
Mr Amosun has strongly denied involvement in the SSS investigation of Mr Oshiomhole. A spokesperson for the SSS would not comment on its findings into Mr Oshiomhole’s activities when reached