The All Progressives Congress on Wednesday night said it was not aware that its National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole was invited and quizzed by the Department of State Services.
An online medium, The Cable, had reported early on Wednesday that the DSS questioned Oshiomhole over his role in the rancourous primaries of the party.
The former governor of Edo State was said to have been asked to respond to allegations levelled against him by some aggrieved members of the party, including governors.
When contacted, Oshiomhole’s media aide, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, said, “The party (spokesman) has already responded, please check.” He declined further comments.
But when one of our correspondents got in touch with the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, he said, “We do not have any information on this rumour. More so, the chairman is not around in the country to confirm or deny this. As soon as we have any relevant information, you’ll be updated.”
In response to another question on when Oshiomhole travelled out of the country, he said, “I do not have this information. I know it is a scheduled personal trip he could not make last week due to the November 2 deadline for the submission of the list of candidates.”
Several calls made to the spokesperson for the DSS, Mr Peter Afunanya, to speak on the issue were not connected, while the national leadership of the ruling party also refused to speak on the issue.
Oshiomhole was said to have been briefly detained by the DSS on Sunday.
The invitation sent to the former Governor of Edo State by the agency was said to have been as a result of issues raised by some APC governors, that the primaries were not transparent.
A source close to the agency said Oshiomhole denied any wrong doing during the interrogation and that he did not compromise his office.
It was however not clear if the operatives muted the idea of him leaving office due to the crises in the party as a result of the outcome of the primaries.
The source added, “Oshiomhole denied allegations of corruption. He also said he was even surprised to be asked questions.
“He said he had briefed the President (Muhammadu Buhari) and that the party and its leadership were carried along in all the actions he and the National Working Committee took during the exercise.
“He demanded to see if there was any petition written against him or any member of his NWC; but he was not shown any due to the sensitivity of the investigation.”
It was not clear if the former governor had briefed the President after his encounter with the DSS.
Recall that the APC primaries, especially the governorship, were marred by controversies in some states. The states included Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Ogun, Zamfara, Adamawa and Enugu.
In Ondo, where the governorship primary was not held, the state Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, alleged that his aides were sidetracked in the National Assembly elections.
The case of Zamfara State is said to be worse as the Independent National Electoral Commission insisted that the ruling party would not field candidates for the 2019 elections.
This was because the commission said the APC failed to conduct its primaries within the stipulated time.
Despite the intervention of the President, Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun of Imo and Ogun states respectively had been calling for the removal of Oshiomhole.
They alleged the former governor was economical with the truth over the conduct of governorship primaries in their states.
While Okorocha preferred his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor, Amosun is also rooting for a member of the House of Representatives, Mr Abiodun Akinlade.
But the Oshiomhole -backed NWC had submitted the names of Mr Dapo Abiodun and Hope Uzodimma, as the party’s governorship candidates for Ogun and Imo states, respectively.
PDP accuses Buhari of concealing corruption
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party has described as reprehensible, what it claims to be an attempt by the Buhari Presidency to conceal alleged bribery and corrupt practices involving Oshiomhole.
The party said it was privy to the pressure from the Buhari Presidency on the DSS, which it said reportedly detained and grilled Oshiomhole, to let him off the hook for fears that his investigation might unearth the alleged complicity of the Presidency and other key APC members in the scam.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, stated this in a statement in Abuja.
He said, “If the Buhari Presidency has nothing to hide; if it is not complicit in the alleged scam, it should allow the DSS and EFCC a free hand to investigate and prosecute his party’s Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
“As long as the DSS and the EFCC are not allowed to put Oshiomhole in the dock, the Buhari Presidency does not have the moral rectitude to speak on corruption.
“This is especially as the involvement of the DSS shows that the corruption burden of the APC chairman has already become a security risk for our nation.”