Oshiomhole, APC primaries, allegations and DSS – New Telegraph

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has in the past few weeks been in the public glare over the manner the primaries of the party were conducted. The party chairman, who came to office in June this year, has been battling forces within the party, who lost out in the new power equation, either by denial of their direct ambitions or those of their cronies, their anointed candidates or stooges.
Along the way, several allegations were made between some governors and Oshiomhole. From Rivers to Imo, Enugu to Adamawa, Zamfara to Ogun, issues abound with the handling of the primaries of the party and the submission of candidates’ list to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
But a scary twist was added to the intra-party feud two weeks ago, when it emerged that the Department of State Services (DSS) had quizzed the party chairman over the primary elections. Although the DSS and even the APC initially denied the questioning, facts emerged later, even from Oshiomhole himself that the secret police actually questioned him about the primaries.
There are insinuations of collection of bribes by the chairman from some candidates and politicians from the primaries. Oshiomhole has denied collecting bribes. We do not have the facts of the matter.
But we are worried about the involvement of the DSS in the party matter. From what we know, the DSS is an agency saddled with the responsibility of taking care of the internal security of the country. It is neither the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) nor the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which were set up to take care of financial malpractices. The main job of the DSS is to protect the country from domestic threats and uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the country as well as protecting the president, the state governors and other top government officials as may be deemed fit.
Although it could be argued that Oshiomhole, being the national chairman of the ruling party at the centre is a prominent figure, we fail to establish the nexus between his activities and the invitation by the DSS. We ask: Did the conduct of the primaries of the APC and all the undercurrents between Oshiomhole and the governors constitute a threat to internal security of the country? If there were allegations of bribery against the party chairman, was it within the purview of the DSS that such investigations fell into? Couldn’t the DSS have passed the intelligence to the EFCC or ICPC to investigate and prosecute the chairman? Who authorised the action of the DSS?
There are many questions that demand answers but we believe that every security agency or institution of government should stick to its core duties within the rule of law. That is the only way to sustain the democratic process.
It is difficult to forget so soon, the activities of the DSS at the National Assembly, which consumed the then Director General of the agency, Lawan Daura and caused him his job. Overzealousness!
Quite recently, the same overzealousness has been shown by different security agencies. The invasion of the houses of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu by the DSS, police and the EFCC comes to mind.
Much as we subscribe to the belief that nobody is above the law, we are strongly of the view that the laws of the land clearly define the rules of engagement for all the government agencies, be it security, executive, legislature or even the judiciary.
The mere allegations by some state governors, who obviously are aggrieved that their desire to lord their wish over their whole state and party apparatus failed cannot be taken very seriously. We know for a fact that a good political party is supposed to check arbitrariness on the part of its members, governors and presidents inclusive.
We concede the fact that we do not have the information at the disposal of the DSS. We also concede that we do not know the motivation for the questioning. There is no doubt that the agency possesses superior information and might feel that a major crisis in the APC might threaten the internal security of the country. But we think that whatever information, intelligence or briefs the DSS had received would be better passed to the EFCC or ICPC to do their duty as permitted by the Acts and laws setting them up.
The matter in the APC is internal to the party. The names of candidates have been submitted and INEC has published names of such candidates for elections. Whatever that is left is now left for the parties and their stakeholders to iron out within. But if there is a petition against Oshiomhole, we believe very strongly that the EFCC and the ICPC should be called in to attend to such in line with their duties.
We are aware that just last week, different groups protested in Abuja to the ICPC, calling for the investigation of the chairman. That is where the complaints should go to not the DSS. We, therefore, advocate that security agencies should eschew overzealousness in order to protect the democratic process.

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