The N2.1bn libel suit filed by Chairman of the Organization and Mobilization Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the South West, Buruji Kashamu against former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has degenerated to a war of harsh words between the two men.
The suit, which is before Justice Valentine Ashi of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, turned into a sort of mudslinging as Obasanjo, in his statement of defence, described Kashamu as a notorious debtor and a man lacking in local and international reputation.
He described the PDP chieftain’s suit as “frivolous, speculative and gold digging” and urged the court to dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction because it failed to disclose any reasonable cause of action against him.
But in his reply to the ex-president’s statement of defence, Kashamu faulted what he described as Obasanjo’s “self-praise” referring to the Ota farmer as a social misfit and a poverty-stricken school dropout.
He said Obasanjo only found fame and fortune in joining the Nigerian Army where he benefited “disproportionately” from the military incursion into governance in Nigeria.
Recall that Kashamu, a former associate of Obasanjo, had on February 6, 2014, sued him, asking the court to award N20bn as aggravated and exemplary damages, and another N100m against the former president for “maliciously and recklessly” publishing a letter titled, ‘Before it is too late’, addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan late last year.
Speaking through his counsel, Dr. Alex Iziyon (SAN), Kashamu claimed that the words used by Obasanjo to describe him in the said letter, which was widely published in both the print and electronic media, portrayed him “as a criminal wanted for drugs related offences in the United States of America and the United Kingdom”.
But in his statement of defence filed on May 14, Obasanjo stood by the contents of his letter to President Jonathan as it pertains to the PDP chieftain, who hails from Ogun State, stressing that he had no reason, whatsoever, to retract the words in the said letter as requested by Kashamu’s lawyer “because the statement/words are correct, true and justified”.
He added, “The plaintiff has no iota of good reputation locally and internationally. “Aside the plaintiff’s illicit drug business for which he was indicted and wanted in America, the plaintiff has penchant for taking loans from unsuspecting banks/financial institutions with intention to permanently elude/avoid repayment or liquidation of such loans.
“Further to that, the plaintiff has been judicially adjudged/confirmed a debtor by a competent court of law Cotonou, Republic of Benin. And the plaintiff presently occupies a choice position on the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria’s list of notorious bad debtors.
“The plaintiff is a person, who with his true name/identity supplied, will not be granted visa by German government or any country of the world having good relationship with the United States of America”.
But in his reply dated May 21, Kashamu stated that the ex-president’s claims in his (Obasanjo) statement of defence constituted “an aggravation of the libel”.
Kashamu explained that Obasanjo’s use of his touted national and international acclaim to “malign more productive members of the society is uncalled for and could be symptomatic of megalomania”.
Megalomania is a mental illness or condition in which somebody has an exaggerated belief in his or her own power or importance.
Kashamu stated, “The plaintiff acknowledges that the defendant (Obasanjo), a poverty-stricken dropout from school and otherwise a social misfit, eventually found fame and fortune by joining the Armed Forces of Nigeria and benefitting disproportionately from opportunism of military adventure into governance in Nigeria…”
He added, “Obasanjo’s vaunted international acclaim was tested in 2008 when the former President contested for the position of the Secretary-General of the United Nation with a barely known diplomat from Egypt.
“The defendant (Obasanjo) was put in his place as he failed to fly the flag of the nation successfully and lost the contest disgracefully”.
Apparently caught off guard by Kashamu’s reply, Obasanjo, subsequently filed a motion on notice dated June 6, asking the court to expunge the parts of the plaintiff’s counter-affidavit which he said constituted a “personal abuse” on him.
But the former President’s lawyer, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole, withdrew the motion on notice after Kashamu’s counsel opposed it in a counter-affidavit, contending that the facts alluded to were relevant and that expunging them when the matter had not be heard would amount to pre-judging case.
Its only in nigeria that a criminal and stark illiterate and fraudster can insult a statesman and 2 time head of state who is older in age and has global status. The criminal called Kashamu is an omo ale who should be banished from yoruba land, if we still had some sense of decency in the south west and had not lost our values. Anyway, his appointment with deportation to face criminal charges in the USA is near. It also exposes PDP as a party of drop outs, illiterates, murderers and looters. Am shocked they can present a crook like fayose, a bus driver, omisore, a killer, as gubernatorial candidates, while the minister of police affairs is another killer. What a shame of a nation. Obasanjo may have his faults but we must not allow a man with no pedigree and an ex convict to insult a man of OBJs Status. Shame on jonathan, Doyin oku igbe, and PDP.
Dear Yinka don’t be sentimental. Respect begets respect. Old age is not an excuse for insulting people. Baba Iyabo must behave like an adult which we believe he is. Let’s call a spade a spade,pls advise him. After all, he’s not the only ex this.