Since Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was returned elected as governor of Osun State for a second term, penultimate Saturday, the APC and the Department of State Services (DSS) have been exchanging words. While the party alleged that its members were hounded, brutalised and caged, the DSS alleged that the party offered its operatives N14 million during the governorship election that was adjudged free and fair by observers. Deputy director (public relations) of the DSS Ms Marylin Ogar first made the bribery allegation last Tuesday while featuring on a Channels television programme. She pointedly identified an unnamed APC chieftain as the bribe giver. She also expressed sadness over the way some people had been twisting events surrounding the election with a view to “misinforming the public”.
It is sad that the DSS is concealing the identity of a common criminal on the pretext that it is adopting a “carrot and stick” approach in dealing with this very dangerous malaise, social malady and political albatross. Ogar told Nigerians that, prior to the election, the director (of DSS) that was coordinating election activities in Osun was invited by one APC member to come and collect N4 million for self and N10million for the operatives. She contended that it was an offer which was rejected, since the Service takes care of logistics and other needs when operatives are sent for operations.
But this exceptional officer ought to be recognised for his/her incorruptibility. We consider the allegation from the spokesperson of the DSS too weighty, grave and serious. It deserves further scrutiny. The National Assembly should take it up and ensure that we put a face to this common criminal. We do not want to believe that Ms Ogar was being partisan, frivolous or playing to the gallery. An agency like the DSS thrives on truth and professionalism. DSS must come clean on this and eschew being partisan in any form in our political engineering.
The road to 2015 is such that, if we sweep this case under the carpet, subsequent ones would be treated as total fallacy and calumnious statements from an agency that has been on top of successful “sting operations”. The minimum that is expected is for Ogar and her agency to name, prosecute and procure a conviction from a court of competent jurisdiction against the alleged bribe giver to redeem itself from name-calling. The reputation of the agency to independently carry out its task is at stake. It is also the only way it can wash itself off the accusations of acting as an enforcement arm of the ruling party. Institutions of state like the DSS must show character and responsibility as we approach 2015 by not only maintaining loyalty to the state but also exhibiting a high standard of integrity and professionalism in tandem with global best practices.