DSS in­vi­ta­tion, quizzing not strange –Osh­iom­hole

•‘I dis­agreed with one to give a bribe in Imo’ •My de­ten­tion not from Buhari, APC chair tells DSS

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - ade­mola oni

The Na­tional Chair­man of the All Pro­gres­sives Con­gress, Com­rade Adams Osh­iom­hole, has de­scribed his re­ported de­ten­tion and grilling by the op­er­a­tives of the De­part­ment of State Ser­vices last week as nor­mal.

Specif­i­cally, Osh­iom­hole said it was not the first time he would be a guest of the DSS, start­ing with his days as a labour ac­tivist.

The em­bat­tled APC chair­man ar­rived in La­gos on Fri­day from his short jour­ney to the United States of Amer­ica, where he was said to have vis­ited his wife, Iara.

Speak­ing in La­gos on Satur­day, how­ever, the for­mer Edo State gov­er­nor de­nied be­ing ar­rested and de­tained by the DSS, hardly agree­ing that he was in­vited by the agency.

“I went there on my own; I was not ar­rested. I saw the DSS only once and it was a con­ver­sa­tion, not an ar­rest or de­ten­tion,” the rul­ing party chair­man added.

He said, “If you say I was in­ter­ro­gated by the DSS, you would be im­ply­ing some­thing to­tally dif­fer­ent. There is noth­ing strange in the DSS hav­ing a chat with me.

“Let me tell you, from my days as a labour leader, when I’ve been vis­it­ing the ‘E-de­part­ment, which later be­came the Nige­ria Se­cu­rity Or­gan­i­sa­tion, which is now known as the DSS, there is noth­ing new about it.

“In fact, based on the man­date of the DSS, which is the se­cu­rity and peace of the na­tion, it has ev­ery right to have a chat with any­body in so far as that chat would be for the en­hance­ment and peace and sta­bil­ity of Nige­ria.”

Osh­iom­hole added, “Yes, I was at their of­fice. Yes, we had a con­ver­sa­tion on some mat­ters aris­ing from the pri­maries of our great party, the APC. Yes, they wanted me to shed some light on some is­sues. There is ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong in that as the na­tional chair­man of the rul­ing party. I’ve read so many things in the news­pa­pers about what tran­spired. But I can tell you there is noth­ing to it.”

Osh­iom­hole de­nied be­ing let off on ad­min­is­tra­tive bail, adding that Kogi State gov­er­nor, Ya­haya Bello, did not come to the DSS of­fice to fa­cil­i­tate his free­dom.

“I was the one who called Ya­haya Bello and he came but I drove home in my own car,” he added.

Osh­iom­hole dis­missed the re­ported al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion or in­duce­ment by some party mem­bers.

He said, “Let me tell you, I’ve heard some peo­ple talk about bribe and Imo State. I’ve looked round and I’m ask­ing my­self, who, in Imo State can af­ford to bribe me?

“Or­di­nar­ily, I should be pro­tec­tive of the per­son in power who should have the re­sources to dole out some­thing. But I’m stand­ing on prin­ci­ple so that can­not hap­pen and that did not hap­pen. So, who is it in Imo that can in­duce me?”

On Imo State, Osh­iom­hole said there was no way the dy­nas­tic en­clave be­ing pro­posed by Gov­er­nor Rochas Oko­rocha would be al­lowed to stand.

“Let’s even agree that Oko­rocha ends up hav­ing his way even in a man­aged ‘process’, how do you think Nige­ri­ans would view such a sit­u­a­tion where his sis­ter, his in-laws and in-law to be would all be in gov­ern­ment,” he said.

He ex­plained that Oko­rocha, as a friend, at­tended his in­au­gu­ra­tion in per­sonal ca­pac­ity, say­ing this un­der­scored the close­ness be­tween him­self and the Imo State gov­er­nor.

Osh­iom­hole be­rated the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party for call­ing on IN­TER­POL to ar­rest him and for in­sin­u­at­ing that he had fled the coun­try af­ter be­ing granted bail by the DSS.

“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,” he stated.

The na­tional chair­man took time to ex­plain the sit­u­a­tion in Imo, Ogun and Zam­fara states which have gen­er­ated so much heat in the party but ex­pressed con­fi­dence that over­all, the APC was at peace with it­self be­cause there was sta­bil­ity in the sys­tem.

He added, “As far as the party is con­cerned, we have prob­lems in only three states. We have 23 state gov­er­nors and 36 states in Nige­ria. So, if we have prob­lems in only three states, then that is man­age­able.”

He, how­ever, lamented that the is­sue had been blown out of pro­por­tion pos­si­bly be­cause of the cal­i­bre of the party chief­tains in­volved.

“Some peo­ple are un­happy be­cause they didn’t have their way in three states. We have said that things must change. We can­not con­tinue in the old ways. We said change; maybe, some peo­ple in­ter­preted it dif­fer­ently. But as I said, we can­not con­tinue in the old ways,” said the party chair­man.

A re­li­able source told our cor­re­spon­dent on Satur­day that the APC chair­man did not meet with the party’s na­tional leader, Asi­waju Bola Tin­ubu, “any­where out­side the coun­try.”

He said, “Truly, Asi­waju is not in the coun­try, but Osh­iom­hole did not to France; he went to the US and Asi­waju was not in the US.”

SUN­DAY PUNCH learnt that the em­bat­tled ex-gov­er­nor had told the DSS dur­ing his ses­sion with the op­er­a­tives that he knew that the agency did not take di­rec­tive from Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari to quiz him as the op­er­a­tives had in­sin­u­ated.

It was learnt that Osh­iom­hole told his in­ter­roga­tors that he main­tained “a one-onone re­la­tion­ship” with the Pres­i­dent.

He was said to have told the op­er­a­tives to al­low his driver to leave their premises if they knew he was go­ing to be de­tained in the fa­cil­ity.

Oko­rocha and the gov­er­nor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amo­sun, have been at log­ger­head with Osh­iom­hole over the out­come of the APC pri­maries.

They had blamed the exedo gov­er­nor for their in­abil­ity to get the gov­er­nor­ship tick­ets of the party in their states for their anointed can­di­dates.

But Amo­sun had de­nied hav­ing a hand in Osh­iom­hole’s in­vi­ta­tion by the DSS.

•Con­troller of Fed­eral Op­er­a­tions Unit, Zone C, Nige­rian Cus­toms Ser­vice, Ow­erri, Kay­ode Olusemire, with a truck-load of Cannabis Sa­tiva the zone im­pounded in the Benin area on Fri­day. Photo: NAN

•L-R: Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser, Brig.-gen Baba­gana Monguno (retd.); Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami; Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs, Mr Ge­of­frey Onyeama; and Gov­er­nor of Ek­iti State, Kay­ode Fayemi, dur­ing the Pres­i­dent’s ar­rival for the Paris Peace Fo­rum in Paris, France... on Fri­day. Photo: NAN

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