Posted by By Emmanuel Aziken, Kingsley Omonobi, Kenneth Ehigiator & Dayo Lawal on
THE whereabouts of immediate past chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and chieftain of Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Chief Audu Ogbeh, remained unknown yesterday following his alleged arrest, weekend.
ABUJA — THE whereabouts of immediate past chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and chieftain of Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), Chief Audu Ogbeh, remained unknown yesterday following his alleged arrest, weekend. Members of his family said yesterday they had not seen him, while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) denied arresting the former PDP chieftain.
Sources in Abuja said Chief Ogbeh was arrested by another security agency which quizzed him and allegedly released him, weekend.
But Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State described his arrest as worrisome and political. He said Ogbeh was arrested because of his opposition of some government policies.
The ACD, yesterday, vowed that the arrest and persecution of its leading lights would not deter it from its determination to wrest control of power from the PDP as it noted that the arrest was aimed at sabotaging the planned registration of members into the ACD.
The party’s National Director of Organisation and Publicity, Mr. Toyin Razaq, in a telephone interview said it expected more of its chieftains to suffer harassment in the hands of security agencies.
Chief Ogbeh who was reportedly picked up by the security agents last Saturday was, according to sources close to him, quizzed on the funding of the ACD. Contrary to reports, weekend, that the ACD chieftain was picked up by the EFCC, the agency, yesterday, denied the reports. Mr Osita Nwajah, EFCC spokesman in a telephone interview told Vanguard that the agency never held Chief Ogbeh.
Sources close to Ogbeh, however, said he was released yesterday morning by the security agency after hours of questioning on the funding of the new party. “His interrogators wanted to know where the funds of the ACD was coming from. In fact, they wanted to know if the Vice-President was supporting the new party in any way,” one source close to the embattled former chairman of the PDP said last night.
Family yet to sight Ogbeh
Chief Ogbeh, according to the source, was released yesterday morning by the SSS though at press time his family was yet to sight him, though he is believed to have made contact with political associates.
One source who made contact with him said he (Ogbeh) was set to enter into a conference with associates in a night meeting that was yet to begin at press time.
Vowing that the ACD will forge ahead with its quest to liberate the country from the yoke of misgovernment under the PDP, Razaq in a chat with Vanguard last night said: “Arresting the leaders of ACD will not in anyway deter our people. We expect that more of our leaders are likely to be arrested on false charges in the days and months to come, they should resist provocation.
“All our activities should continue as planned, the registration should go on and our launching billed for next month is on course. We want to assure Nigerians that when the campaign kicks-off, it will be strictly issues-based.
“The ruling party had better be prepared to explain to Nigerians why in spite of huge resources, they are still so poor. They must be prepared to explain to Nigerians why despite their modest demands, they are given stones instead of bread.
“ACD, as a political party formed around the core value of social democracy, intends to lay before the Nigerian people, the choice between a creeping dictatorship and a truly democratic Nigeria as promised by ACD.
“ACD as a party wishes to affirm that we respect President Olusegun Obasanjo, we attest to his sincerity of purpose and his honesty of intention. We, however, believe that his methods are fundamentally flawed. ACD members cannot fathom or identify with economic policies that forced poverty and misery down the throat of our people on a daily basis.”
However, a senior Police source told Vanguard on condition of anonymity that the whole brouhaha about Ogbeh’s arrest might have been plotted by the former PDP chairman’s cronies to create unnecessary tension.
“What we think is that he might have gone into hiding on learning that he was being wanted to answer some questions pertaining to financial crimes he was alleged to have committed while in office as Chairman of PDP.”
Spokesman of SSS, Alhaji Muazu, told Vanguard that the SSS never had anything to do with Ogbeh. The same answer was echoed by the DIA.
Speaking with newsmen at the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport shortly on arrival from Borgu Kingdom where he was conferred with a chieftaincy, Governor Tinubu said Chief Ogbeh was arrested because of his avowed opposition to some of the Federal Government’s policies.
He said: “Things are becoming dangerous, where political opponents are intimidated, harassed and oppressed. Nigerians have to be out in full force to fight for their liberty and freedom.
“Everything about it has a political connotation, and if political opponents are to be harassed and bundled into jail, detained and oppressed, then Nigerians will have to mobilise themselves, ready to fight for their liberty because the price of that liberty must not be lost.
“It is important that courage and strong determination will be needed for us to be free from the bondage of one monster of a one-party system that is not possible for this culture; not possible for this nation; not possible for our diversity,” he said.
He said a situation where perceived opponents of the Federal Government were being frequently harassed and intimidated was not healthy for a stable political environment the country was striving hard to create, adding that there was need for unity amongst Nigerians.
“Nigeria is not a divided country. It is the selfish and inordinate ambition of the political class and politicians that always attempt to divide the country for their own selfish interest,” he said.
On the title given him by the Emir of Borgu Kingdom, Tinubu said the ceremony was a further manifestation of the bond of unity that existed among Nigerians as the ceremony played host to personalities from all parts of the country.
He urged all Nigerian politicians to emulate the sterling qualities of the royal father who, according to him, was a member of the National Republic Convention (NRC), which was a party in opposition to his Social Democratic Party (SDP) in their days at the Senate, and yet considered him worthy of an honour in his kingdom.
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