A former Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State, Dr. Temitope Aluko, spent five days in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja, where he was interrogated on what he claimed transpired during the last controversial governorship election in the state.
Aluko arrived at the office of the service on Friday last week and left on Tuesday.
Investigations by our correspondent on Wednesday and Thursday in Abuja indicated that Aluko was invited by the security agency on Sunday, but arrived at its headquarters on Friday.
He was said to have been met at the Abuja airport by some operatives, who drove him to their headquarters at Asokoro.
Aluko was said to have flown into Abuja from Lagos.
He flew from Abuja to Lagos shortly after he spoke with journalists on how he and others allegedly colluded with the governor of the state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, to rig the June 21, 2014 Ekiti State governorship election.
Fayose, who contested on the platform of the PDP in the governorship poll, had defeated the then incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of the All Progressives Congress in the 16 local government areas of the state.
Aluko had, however, alleged that former President Goodluck Jonathan gave Fayose the sum of $2m to enable him to win the PDP primary and $35m to prosecute the governorship election.
Aluko was the principal witness of Fayose at the election petitions tribunal, where he, however, testified that the election was free and fair.
The governor, however, didn’t dispute the claim of the money which Aluko said was donated for his campaign in his reaction, but asked that Aluko be prosecuted for perjury, arguing that the former party secretary’s new position contradicted his testimony at the election petitions tribunal.
The state government equally dragged Aluko before a magistrate court in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, where Chief Magistrate Adesoji Adegboye ordered the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Etop James, to arrest and prosecute Aluko for alleged perjury.
At the DSS office, where he was said to have met different sets of interrogators, Aluko had provided more information to buttress his allegations.
A source at the office of the DSS said, “He was very cooperative. We asked him to report here and he told us he would be coming from Lagos on a particular date, which he did.
“He answered all the questions we put across to him dutifully and he also provided documents to back them up.
“We can’t allow such grievous allegations to go under without asking questions. We need to know how the alleged operation was carried out and those involved, if it was true.
“We also needed information on the alleged dollars that he said was used for the election and where it was collected and how it was exchanged for naira.”
It was gathered that the interrogation was tedious as it also tested the consistency of all his claims.
“On a particular day, he was interrogated for six hours without break; from 11am till 5pm. But he was allowed to relax on Sunday as he was not asked any question on that day at all,” another security source added.
Apart from substantiating his allegations with documentary evidence, Aluko was also said to have raised the issue of the alleged thump-printing of ballot papers at Afe, a town said to be very close to Afao, the hometown of Fayose, a few days before the election.
The alleged thump-printing was said to have been carried out by some members of the PDP.
Though they were said to have been arrested when members of the other political parties in the state raised the alarm, they were allegedly later released by the police.
The order to release them was said to have been given by higher authorities from Abuja.
In order to get to the root of this allegation, our correspondent gathered that the national headquarters of the service requested the file where the incident was reported from its Ekiti State command.
The source added, “The file was brought here and it was studied. The officer (name withheld) that brought it here also gave some explanations.”
When contacted by one of our correspondents, Aluko confirmed his interrogation by the operatives, but refused to give details.
He said, “It was true I was there for five days, but whatever happened was not meant for publication.
“But let me tell you that there was nothing I said that I don’t have documentary evidence to back up. I have my name to protect and like I said, I won’t lie.
“Some people are blaming me that I didn’t speak up on this issue long ago; there was no way I would have done so then because I know what could have happened to me.”
It was also gathered that the service might start inviting those whose names featured prominently in the statements made by Aluko.
The majority of those he said were involved in the alleged rigging are either holding political offices as assistants to the governor of the state now or have been elected into other political offices.
It was also learnt that the service would probe the involvement of its personnel in the exercise, which gave Fayose an easy ride into office.
Our correspondent gathered that names of more than 500 operatives of the DSS were listed among other secret agents that were involved in the plot.
While some were deployed in border towns, others were in the team that allegedly harassed prominent members of the opposition and their family members before or on the date of the election.
Meanwhile, the APC in Ekiti State has described Fayose as a threat to the Nigerian Constitution and orderly society.
The state Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, stated this while reacting to the governor’s attack on human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on his position over the alleged election fraud that returned Fayose to power.
Fayose had berated the senior advocate for allegedly saying the election that brought him to office was rigged after the prominent lawyer had initially endorsed the state governorship election as free and fair.
The party said the eminent lawyer could not have maintained his former position after revelations emerged that the governor allegedly stole his way to power.
Falana had said in the media that Fayose was liable to prosecution in the light of the new revelations linking his victory to electoral fraud through illegal militarisation and illegal printing of sensitive Independent National Electoral Commission’s materials.
He also referred to the revelations by Fayose himself in the secretly recorded audio tape by Captain Sagir Koli and the confession of Aluko on the election.
Falana insisted that the governor could not hide under immunity to engage in impunity and crime to commit treason to illegally remove a sitting governor.
The governor had accused Falana of double standard and lack of integrity, having supported his election after the result was announced on June 22, 2014.
But Olatunbosun said Fayose should stop insulting Nigerians in his defence of criminal acts that brought him to power.
Accusing the governor of using immunity to commit impunity, the party said Fayose was carrying a moral and legal burden in the election that brought him to power, arguing that in a saner society, the governor would have resigned.
He added, “Fayose is jittery and that is why he is stoking violence. He has started attacking individuals in Ekiti State like he did during his first aborted tenure in 2006.
“We want to remind Fayose that many of his party leaders, who still have a modicum of integrity, have also left PDP in droves because they could not stand the shame he has brought upon them through the Ekitigate scandal, planned and executed by him and some of his cohorts. Therefore, Falana cannot be an exception.”