The ousted national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, is beginning to appreciate human emptiness outside the corridors of political power. Now, losing the source of arbitrary powers, Oshiomhole on Tuesday appealed for out-of-court settlement of the N10 billion libel suit of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State on his accusation of involvement in the killing of two catholic priests in Benue State. Oshiomhole had made the accusation after Ortom defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in his feud with Senator George Akume, Minister of Special Duty, in the build up to the 2019 general elections in Benue State.
It was gathered that on the resumption of the court proceedings on Tuesday, counsel to Oshiomhole, Festus Jumbo, represented by Titus Akuhwa, notified the court that his client is willing to make a retraction of the statement, adding that publication of the retraction would be done in the next one week. He added that counsel to Governor Ortom, Samuel Irabor, had been informed of the decision of his client to publish the retraction. Counsel to Ortom had addressed the court that he was ready to call on his witnesses to stand for the case when Oshiomhole’s counsel intervened, seeking discontinuity of proceedings.
Ortom’s counsel had sought adjournment of the case to study the terms of settlement being proposed by Oshiomole.
Titus Akuhwa, hold brief for Festus Jumbo, acknowledged Irabolr’s submission, declaring: “That is the true position of the matter. We have met and we are drawing out terms of settlement.”
Justice Augustine Ityonyiman, thereafter, adjourned the suit to October 29, while waiting for report on the out-of-court settlement.
Oshiomhole had at a press conference as APC national chairman on Friday, July 27, 2018, alleged that Governor Ortom had a hand in the killing of two Catholic priests and other parishioners at Mbalom Community, Gwer East Local Government, noting that one of the priests had preached a ‘very critical sermon’ against the Governor before that attack.
Governor Ortom, thereafter, filed a N10 billion libel suit against Oshiomhole.
Governor Ortom in the suit demanded: “a declaration by the court that the Defendants’ allegations and publication of July 27 against me are false, mischievous, unsubstantiated, defamatory and libelous.
“An order directing the defendants to publish simultaneous retractions/apologies in respect of the said libelous publication against him in the Sunday editions of 10 National Dailies circulating within Benue State as well as paid advertorials to the same effect on the prime time beats of the Nigerian Television Authority, Channels TV, TVC News, African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV), Benin, Radio Nigeria, Radio Benue and Harvest FM.
“An Order of Perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendants, their officers, privies, assigns, surrogates or agents whosoever called from further defaming and libeling the Plaintiff’s character and reputation and any other order(s) that the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.”
Now, the reinforcing powers have departed, Oshiomhole has gone begging for out-of-court settlement, suggesting he made false accusation, and perhaps, was reckless with power.