Retract your statement or face N3b libel suit, Osoba tells Okurounmu
Former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, yesterday gave a-14 day ultimatum to a chieftain of Afenifere, Senator Femi Okurounmu, to retract his alleged libelous statement or be ready to face an N3billion damages suit.
Osoba, in a letter sent to Okurounmu through his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian, also demanded a public apology to be published on the front pages of seven consecutive editions of national newspapers, starting from Monday, July 29, 2019.
The letter reads in part: “We act as solicitors to Chief Olusegun Osoba, hereinafter referred to as ‘our client’, and on whose instruction we write you on the above subject, particularly in relation to the interviews recently granted by you to two leading national dailies, that is, the Daily Independent newspaper and the Saturday Sun newspaper, respectively published on Thursday, July 11, 2019 and July 20, 2019.
“In your interview with the Daily Independent newspaper published on Thursday, July 11, 2019, appearing on pages 13-15, you maliciously stated and caused to be published, circulated and disseminated concerning and in relation to our client as follows:
“Those who know Osoba know that he has always been a double-faced politician. On one face, he will want people to see him as a progressive, on the other face, he is working with the security forces. Osoba has always been an agent of the security forces.
“He has one leg in the military and the other leg in the progressives camp. If you have never been told that, I am telling you now. So, when he narrated what he went through in his book, of course, for anybody who is a double agent, such person will get into trouble.
“So, he got into trouble in the early stage of the annulment of June 12 because he has been a close collaborator with (Ibrahim) Babangida who annulled the election. It was Babangida that sponsored Osoba’s governorship in Ogun State in 1992.
“So, we all know that Osoba was a double agent. While being a close associate of Babangida, he was now pretending to be supporting MKO Abiola. That was what got him into trouble with the military.”
“Initially, when Abiola’s election was annulled and everybody thought it will be a short struggle for Abiola to reclaim his mandate, Osoba pretended to be with us in that struggle so that he can also benefit if Abiola eventually becomes President.
“That pretense of being with us is what got him into trouble and he got detained. In fact, people like Gani Fawehinmi had to go and fight for him in court. But as soon as he realised that the struggle will not be a brief one and the military are not prepared to hand over to Abiola, he abandoned the struggle.
“When the late Sani Abacha formed his five political parties, we in Afenifere decided that we will not participate in any of the five parties. Osoba was present when we took that decision but as soon as we left the place, he decamped and took his followers and they all went and joined Abacha’s transition.
“Osoba is a liar and traitor. He tells lie and wants to distort history because he knows he has betrayed Nigerians, he has betrayed the progressives cause and the Yoruba people. I believe that anybody who participated in Abacha’s transition betrayed Abiola. It is as simple as that. So for a traitor, he is just trying to justify his treacherous actions and throw blames on other people. Osoba is a traitor.”
The former Ogun governor also alleged that in Okurounmu’s interview in The Saturday Sun, he also maliciously and
mischievously maligned and defamed him by labelling him, amongst others, “a double-faced politician”, one who has “one leg in the military and the other leg in the progressives camp” and one who “has been a close collaborator with (Ibrahim) Babangida who annulled the election.”
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the words employed by you in defaming our clients are weighty and far-reaching. In their natural and ordinary meanings, the words present our client as representing everything negative, retrogressive and treacherous,” Osoba’s counsel claimed.