By Nurudeen Oyewole, (Lagos) & Muideen Olaniyi
Lagos and Abuja — The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, returned to the country yesterday and opened up on his encounter with officers of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Oshiomhole, who met with Editors in Lagos, after his return from London, however, described his engagement with the DSS officers as a “conversation” and not an “arrest” or “detention.”
The embattled National Chairman was said to have visited his wife, who is ill, in the United States and later met with the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in London.
Oshiomhole had been at the centre of controversy emanating from his purported arrest and detention by DSS officers in the past few days.
“The conversation centred around APC primaries. The question now is whether or not it is the DSS job to interfere in a political party’s issues. And if there’s an allegation of corruption, it is the responsibility of EFCC and ICPC,” the former Edo State governor said.
He dismissed the rumour that the DSS rescheduled another meeting with him after the initial one. He also denied the report that he was released on administrative bail by the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, saying he only invited the governor who showed up where he had interaction with the DSS officials.
“I was the one who called Yahaya Bello and he came, but I drove home in my own car,” Oshiomhole said.
On the call for his arrest by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the APC National Chairman said: “what would they have said if it was the PDP chairman that was invited by the DSS, for instance, over the dollar bazaar at their Port Harcourt primary? They would have said democracy is under threat and would have fired a letter to the UN, as they often ridicule themselves”.
His “arrest” and subsequent “detention” was said to have been
orchestrated by some aggrieved party leaders, many of whom are sitting governors, wherein their preferred aspirants failed to win the party’s tickets for various positions.
Oshiomhole suddenly left the country Tuesday after interrogation for hours by the Department of State Services (DSS) last Sunday and Monday.
The quiz was said to have been prompted by petitions from Imo, Ogun, Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, Bauchi, Adamawa, Delta and Cross River states over the outcome of the party’s primary elections.
The petitions, in which Oshiomhole was accused of alleged bribery and manipulation were sent to the DSS, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Presidency
The National Chairman was also accused of usurping the functions of the APC National Working Committee (NWC), “relocated” from the national headquarters to his personal campaign secretariat at Asokoro, Abuja and delayed the appointment of screening and primary election committees for the states, among others.
The National Chairman’s major squabbles are with Governors Rochas Okoroacha and Ibikunle Amosun of Imo and Ogun states respectively.
Both governors didn’t get their “preferred” candidates through to contest in next year’s governorship election and they blame Oshiomhole for their loss.
In the case of Ogun State, the National Chairman said the matter had been concluded after the party submitted the name of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the governorship candidate.
For Imo State, Oshiomhole said the NWC accepted the governorship candidature of Senator Hope Uzodinma, as the primary that produced him was in substantial compliance with the constitutional provisions.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, also confirmed Oshiomhole’s return to Daily Trust on Sunday via telephone. He said the chairman arrived Abuja after a stop-over in Lagos State.
Issa-Onilu, however, said most of the stories written on Oshiomhole’s encounter with the DSS and subsequent trip out of the country were “fiction.”
When asked to confirm the report that the national chairman was now in the country, Issa-Onilu said, “Which story are you people writing? The stories are fabrications and fiction. Everything you wrote is fiction. The chairman is in Abuja. People who are giving the story are pursuing an agenda.
“I’m not saying that the DSS didn’t invite him. But every detail around it is fiction. The invitation itself was by some people who had scores to settle with him and not the government. Despite all these allegations, they could not present anything. They thought they could force him to sign a paper, which he didn’t do,” Issa-Onilu said.