The political cross-firing between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) is getting dirtier as the two are now threatening each other with court case, even as the former Lagos governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu demanded apology and N20 Billion from the African Independent Television (AIT) or face libel suit.
The director of APC Presidential campaign organisation, Garba Shehu had asked his counterpart in PDP, Femi Fani-Kayode to produce evidence on their purported claims that the APC Presidential running-mate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo entered into a pact with APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to resign as vice president after the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari. Garba Shehu wanted PDP and Fani-Kayode to provide evidence of the oath-taking and resignation of Professor Osinbajo for Asiwaju Tinubu or retract the libelous claims within 72 hours or be ready to be sued to court.
He said: ‘For the PDP, through Fani-Kayode, to state publicly that an erudite professor of law, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a reputable pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God swore to an oath to vacate his seat as the vice president for Asiwaju Tinubu, should the party win the forthcoming election, is an attack on the hard-won integrity and the reputations of these great Nigerians and APC stalwarts.
Garba Shehu said that he viewed the allegation “as both slanderous and libelous and, therefore, will not leave the matter to chance. To this effect, we hereby give Fani-Kayode and the PDP 72 hours to produce evidence or in the alternative issue public apology to Pastor Osinbajo, Asiwaju Tinubu and our party, the APC, or be prepared to be charged to the court of law.”
However, Fani-Kayode’s lawyers wrote to both the National Publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed and APC saying: “our Client denies in its entirety the contents of the above publication and innuendoes therein, and further states that every allegation against him in the said publication is false and defamatory of his person and character.
“Consequently, we demand that you withdraw the said statement and render an apology to our Client within Seven (7) days of the receipt of this letter. You are also to enter into negotiation for damages as we have firm instructions to claim Five Billion Naira damages against you. TAKE NOTICE therefore, that it will amount to a specious gamble on your part, if you treat this letter with levity.”
Fani-Kayode also referred to Lai Mohammed’s statement which was titled: “We’re concerned about Fani-Kayode’s mental status” and the innuendoes contained in it, published on Tuesday, the 3rd day of March, 2015 on page 6 of Nation Newspaper.
He said every allegation against him in the said publication was false and defamatory of his person and character.
In a three-page letter by his lawyers, Ahmed Raji and Company, dated March 3, 2015, Fani-Kayode is demanding, in addition to retraction of the said statement, an apology to him within seven days of the receipt of his letter by Lai Mohammed.
According to the letter signed by Whyteman Prekunomaa, “You (Lai Mohammed) are also to enter into negotiation for damages as we have firm instructions to claim five billion naira damages against you.”
“Take notice, therefore, that it will amount to a specious gamble on your part, if you treat this letter with levity,” Fani-Kayode’s lawyers advised Lai Mohammed.
This is even as the former Lagos governor, Bola Tinubu threatened to sue the management of the Daar Communications Limited, owners of the Africa Independent Television, AIT for the defamatory content of a documentary aired on Sunday.
Counsel to Asiwaju Tinubu, Mr. Tunji Abayomi, said a letter asking Daar Communications to apologise for the content and stop further airing was delivered this afternoon.
A part of the letter to AIT reads, ” … You aired an hour long documentary focussing on our client (Bola Tinubu). Clearly pre-occupied with political resentment and hatred neither warranted, necessary, proper, or justified, you published several false allegations against our client…More disturbing is your misrepresentation that the said documentary was “sponsored” without disclosing the “sponsors.”
“You cannot under law, hide under media freedom to maliciously injure a citizen’s reputation.”
The letter also demanded for N20 billion (Twenty Billion Naira) as cost of damage done to the reputation of its client failing which the client will sue the company.
Another part of the letter reads: “…to affirm the right of our client against your defamatory publication, we demand that you confirm to us within 24 hours of receipt of this letter, an apology and retraction of the said publication/documentar. [myad]