The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, is expected to return to the Department of State Services for further interrogation anytime he returns to the country, The PUNCH learnt on Thursday.
It was also gathered that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of the investigation of the former governor of Edo State by the security agency.
It was gathered that the President was informed by the Director-General of the DSS, Mr Yusufi Bichi, about the desire of the agency to grill Oshiomhole over allegations levelled against him by some aggrieved members of the party.
Presidency sources told one of our correspondents that the President actually asked the secret police to “go ahead and do their job” when he was told about the allegations of the party chairman.
Oshiomhole, who became the national chairman of the party less than five months ago, has been having a running battle with some governors and leaders within the ruling party.
The leaders and the governors believed that the former governor did not handle the just concluded party primaries across the country well.
It was learnt that some of the governors, especially those who were unable to secure party tickets for their favourite candidates, had been mounting pressure on the President to overrule the party chairman on the choice of candidates from their states.
It was reported on Wednesday that the DSS grilled Oshiomhole for about nine hours between Sunday and Monday before he travelled out of the county.
Security sources confirmed to one of our correspondents that Oshiomhole would be expected to return for interrogation on his return to the country.
Investigations showed that the interrogation of Oshiomhole was kept secret because the DSS believed it was a party matter.
Apart from this, our correspondent gathered authoritatively that the DSS was planning to send the report of its investigations to the President alone.
The source said, “The comrade (Oshiomhole) is expected to return for further interrogation when he returns to the country. That’s why we released him on administrative bail.
“We are still looking at his statements and also carrying out further investigations. This type of operation is not meant for the members of the public.
“Rather, we will brief the President when the report is ready. Oshiomhole is the national chairman of the President’s political party. He deserves to know our report first.”
VON DG urges DSS to probe Oshiomhole’s call logs
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, has urged the DSS to probe Oshiomhole ’s call logs for the period the party’s primaries lasted.
He also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to join the DSS in looking into the financial transactions made by the party chairman within the period under review.
Okechukwu, who is a chieftain of the party in Enugu State, made the call at a media briefing at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja on Thursday.
He argued that recent revelations about the national chairman’s grilling by the DSS over allegations of financial impropriety were sufficient reasons for him to resign.
The VON DG said, “Penultimate week, I joined the league of APC moral leaders, faithful and men of good conscience to call on Comrade Adams Oshiohmole, to honourably resign forthwith as the chairmanship of our great party. In his usual narcissistic disposition, he refused.
“As the Oshiohmole Must Go wave raged, the Department of State Services got wind of it. They interrogated him and I patiently waited to read from Comrade Oshiomhole and his spin doctors over his tango with the DSS; in the social or main stream media, neither rebuttal nor denial came from them.
“I, therefore, once again stridently call on Comrade Oshiomhole to instead of pontification, grandstanding and running away from the country, do the needful by honourably resigning the chairmanship of our great party.”
Okechukwu said it would appear that the APC national chairman was running away from duty to evade the substitution window, meant to redress the grievances of party members who were “causalities of his nepotism.”
The party chieftain said the APC and the President would be the better for it if the Chairman stood down to allow the party to go into the 2019 election season with its credibility intact.
He further said, “One would not bother you with Oshiomhole’s malfeasance as his nepotism, undue substitution of candidates and cash-and-carry primaries are on the public domain.
“One, once more, challenges the DSS to scroll the phone-log of Comrade and his nepotic court of cronies. I also urge the EFCC to join in this probe and I am sure it will expose how low the party has sunk under this chairman.”
Amosun meets Buhari, denies being behind Oshiomhole’s probe
As Okechukwu expressed his support for the Oshiomhole probe, the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, on Thursday said he was not behind the party chairman’s investigation by the DSS.
He made the denial shortly after he met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was believed to be a continuation of efforts aimed at resolving the crisis that trailed the primary elections of the ruling All Progressives Congress across the country.
Amosun, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State have been leading the call for the removal of Adams Oshiomhole as the party’s national chairman for the role he allegedly played during the primary elections.
The Ogun State governor, however, in an interview with State House correspondents on Thursday, denied being responsible for Oshiomhole’s reported arrest and interrogation by the Department of State Services.
He said he would never hide behind a finger if he needed to fight.
When asked that media reports suggested that he and Okorocha orchestrated Oshiomhole’s investigation, Amosun said, “I think you are probably giving me an oversight role and I am not a security person, so clearly I think that question will not be for me.
“I don’t have to hide under a finger to fight. If there is a need for me to put my views across, you know me by now that I will do it.”
When he was also asked to react to the reports that the APC chairman has fled the country, the governor said, “I have told you that you are asking me questions that I am not well suited for. The one that I have to talk about, we have said it loud and clear that it doesn’t even need adding anything.”
Amosun has been confronting Oshiomhole over the decision of the party’s National Working Committee to recognise Dapo Abiodun as the governorship candidate in his state as against his preferred candidate, Abiodun Akinlade.
PDP urges NIA, DSS, Interpol to track Oshiomhole
The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, has called on the National Intelligence Agency and INTERPOL to track down Oshiomhole, who is believed to be outside the country since his reported interrogation by the DSS over his roles in the rancourous primaries of the ruling party.
The party noted that Oshiomhole’s swift flight out of the country was suspect.
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, accused President Buhari of shielding Oshiomhole from prosecution for fear that his investigation would implicate certain interests at the Presidency and the APC.
He said, “It is ludicrous that the APC, in its lying proclivities, believes that by dismissing Oshiomhole’s arrest as a rumour and aiding him to momentarily flee the country, it would succeed in getting him off the DSS hook as well as sweeping the matter out of public discourse with its famished broom.
“No! Nigerians are already aware that Oshiomhole has not denied his investigation including his reported confession that the Presidency was in the know of all his actions.
“The PDP had always cautioned Adams Oshiomhole of his unbridled arrogance, lust for power and alleged embezzlement of public funds for which he must surely have his day in the hands of the law.
“The PDP, therefore, demands that the APC and the Buhari Presidency must immediately produce Adams Oshiomhole to face investigation and prosecution in our courts.
Text excerpted from PUNCH