The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the International Police (INTERPOL) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to immediately track down All Progressives Congress National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole.
His flight out of the country amid an investigation is suspect and confirms allegations that President Muhammadu Buhari is shielding him from prosecution, fearing the move could implicate certain interests at the presidency and in the APC, the PDP said.
In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP 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 Department of State Services (DSS) hook and 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 loop of all his actions.”
The opposition party said it had always cautioned Oshiomhole against “unbridled arrogance, lust for power and embezzlement of public funds”. It said if the embattled chairman truly collected bribes, he should have his day before the law.APC chieftain, Osita Okechukwu, took the complaint further, urging the chairman to resign. He told reporters at the national secretariat of the party it was imperative Oshiomhole heeded the call in the interest of the party, as it prepared for next year’s general election. Okechukwu, who is also the director general of Voice of Nigeria (VON), however absolved Buhari and APC National Leader Bola Tinubu of Oshiomhole’s alleged wrongdoings.
He asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to partner the DSS with a view to substantiating allegations that the chairman accepted bribes during the primaries. Okechukwu has repeatedly blamed the collapse of his senatorial ambition on Oshiomhole’s handling of the polls. He said: “Penultimate week, I joined the league of APC moral leaders, faithful and men of good conscience to call on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to honourably resign forthwith the chairmanship of our great party. In his usual narcissistic disposition he refused. As the Oshiomhole Must Go wave raged, the DSS got wind of it. They interrogated him and I patiently waited to read in the social or main media from Oshiomhole and his spin-doctors about his tango with the DSS. Neither rebuttal nor denial came from them.
“I therefore once again stridently call on Oshiomhole to, instead of pontificating, grandstanding and running away from the country, do the needful by honourably resigning the chairmanship. It seems he is running away from duty to evade the substitution window meant to redress the grievances of some of us who are casualties of his nepotism.”
Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun meanwhile denied involvement in the reported interrogation of Oshiomhole by the DSS. Oshiomhole, earlier in the week, was said to have been questioned for several hours on alleged corrupt practices when he was Edo State governor and receipt of gratification during the party’s recent primaries. The agency was also said to have asked him to stand down.
Amosun has repeatedly complained that the leadership of the party dealt unfairly during the Ogun State primaries and has been widely perceived as one of the governors angling for the chairman’s removal.
But he insisted yesterday that he had no hand in the alleged petition that led to Oshiomhole’s grilling. He told inquisitive reporters after a closed-door meeting with Buhari in Abuja: “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 need for me to put my views across, you know me by now that I will do it.”
Asked what he made of reports that Oshiomhole might have fled the country after the DSS encounter, he replied: “I have told you those things are beyond my pedigree and you are asking me questions that I am not well suited for. The one that I think I should talk about we have said it loud and clear; we don’t need to add any other thing.”
Asked about his mission to the presidential villa, he said: “I always come like this. And I know that you will want to ask me this and that. That is what you are doing. But clearly and talking seriously, I think that all that needs to be said, I think all of you can attest to that, has been said loud and clear. I think saying anything further would amount to probably sounding like a broken gramophone. I think I have said all that we need to say and we did it loud and clear.”
Still on the APC’s primaries, Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, fixed December 5 for hearing in a suit seeking the nullification of APC’s ward, local government and state congresses in Katsina State on account that they violated the law.
Two aggrieved governorship aspirants, Garba Sani Dankani and Mohamad Sada Mainasara, had initiated the action against APC and INEC.At the resumed hearing yesterday, Giwa-Ogunbanjo granted permission to the Katsina State APC council chairmen to join the suit, following an application moved by their counsel, Mahmud Magaji.
In a related development, the House of Representatives constituted an ad hoc committee to probe alleged collusion between political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during party primaries.Leading the motion, Adamu Chika (APC: Niger) observed: “In most cases, even where clear winners emerged, the results were altered and other persons declared winners and made the flag-bearers, thereby shortchanging the democratic will of the electorate and violating the law, particularly Section 87 (3 and 4) of the Electoral Act.”