By Olisemeka Obeche
Embattled national chair­man of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiom­hole over the weekend expressed concerns over meddlesomeness of the State Security Service on the controversies trailing the party’s primaries.
The disclosure was made days after it was speculated in certain media that the former Edo gover­nor allegedly fled the country af­ter being detained and quizzed by the secret police over allegations that he pocketed billions of Naira through the controversial prima­ries across the country.

Oshiomhole who told select ed­itors in Lagos on Saturday that he was questioned by the secret police last weekend in Abuja on issues bordering on the party’s recent primaries, stressed that the SSS was not the appropriate agency for such interrogation in a constitutional democracy, rather an anti-corruption agency.

Hear him: “The conversation centred around APC primaries. 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,” Oshiomhole said.

The former national chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) also said he drove himself out of the SSS facility following interrogation, denying he was collected by Governor Yahaya Bel­lo. He further disclosed that he traveled out of Nigeria on Tues­day, and responded to an alarm raised by the opposition People’s Democratic Party that he had ab­sconded. The party also urged the Interpol and other security agen­cies to launch a manhunt for 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.
Oshiomhole’s meeting with the editors comes a day after he re­turned to Nigeria from the United Kingdom, where he met with Bola Tinubu, a leader of the ruling par­ty who had been undergoing treat­ment for undisclosed ailments in London.

Oshiomhole was reported to have been 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 his Ogun state counterpart, Ibikunle Amosun, have been particularly furious, publicly accusing Oshiomhole of disregarding the party’s constitu­tion in the conduct of primaries and demanding his immediate re­moval. Messrs. Amosun and Oko­rocha believe Oshiomhole had 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 said 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 thoroughly investigated,” an intelligence source said. “We have commenced work in that regard.”
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 to move against those involved, sources said.


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