‘My Watch’: Obasanjo Appeals Confiscation Order


Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has appealed against the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which ordered that his autobiography, “My Watch”, be confiscated for disobeying an injunction restraining its publication. He argued that he is not guilty of contempt “for publishing my book.”

Obasanjo had presented a three-volume book to the public, which a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Buruji Kashamu instituted a legal action against, following a libel suit he had earlier filed against the former president.

Presiding judge, Justice Valentine Ashie, on Wednesday, ruled that irrespective of the public presentation, the former President erred by not obeying his court injunction.

Obasanjo, through his legal team, led by Gboyega Oyewole, however filed an appeal challenging the confiscation order, declaring 10-grounds to support the appeal.

Among the 10 grounds of appeal, according to the former president’s counsel, include that, “the learned trial judge erred in law when he granted interlocutory orders of injunction which inter alia restrained the defendant from the publication of his book or the content of the letter to the President which is the subject of the suit before the trial judge in the said book, “My Watch.”

“(a) There was uncontradicted affidavit evidence that the defendant’s book “My Watch” had been published and released to the public before the making of the interlocutory order.

“(b) The plaintiff never alluded to this fact in his affidavit before the court. (c) It is settled law that an injunction does not lie to restrain a completed act. (d) His lordship failed and/or neglected to allude to the affidavit evidence before making the interlocutory order.

“The learned trial judge erred in law and exercised its discretion wrongfully in granting the orders of interlocutory injunction subject of this appeal against the defendant restraining him from publishing his book, “My Watch” or publishing his letter subject of the suit in the said book.”

Obasanjo also released a statement saying he did not flout the court’s order. The statement released through his library, The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) and signed by Vitalise Ortese, noted that “since the news of the said order broke, he (Obasanjo) has been receiving calls from concerned friends from far and near and he is constrained to make this release and present the facts as they relate to the book and it’s public presentation.

“Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wishes to state that the media reports which convey the impression that he intended to ‘dare or confront a judge or the judiciary’ is highly misleading. Far from this, on the contrary, the former president is a law abiding citizen who will only pursue his rights within the law and will not ‘dare’ a judge or knowingly flout an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction.

“The former president wishes to make it clear that in the first instance, no formal order from Justice Ashi was served and received by either himself or by proxy regarding any injunction restraining the publication of the book, “My Watch” which from the records was already in circulation.”

“The former president reiterate his regard for due process on judiciary and rule of law, and recognises that the order is from the court and not the governments it has been attributed in some quarters.”