The National Vice Chairman (North-West) of the All Progressives Congress, Inuwa Abdulkadir, has dragged the party before the court. He has also given the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, a seven-day ultimatum to retract an alleged defamatory publication against his person, tender a public apology and pay N500m as monetary compensation or be prepared to face legal action.
These facts were gathered from two separate letters obtained by Saturday PUNCH, in Abuja, on Friday. In one of the letters entitled, ‘Re: Allegations of misconduct and disloyalty levelled against you from the North-West Zone of the party,’ written on July 9, 2019 and addressed to the APC Deputy National Chairman (South), Niyi Adebayo, who is also the chairman of the APC panel investigating anti-party activities, Abdulkadir said he had taken the party to court and it would be inappropriate for him to appear before the Adebayo-led panel.
In the letter, which was received by the party’s national secretariat on July 10, 2019, Abdulkadir said, “As you may recall, I did inform you that I was in Sokoto at the said time (of invitation) where I would be appearing before the state High Court on the same 4th July, 2019 in respect of an action between my humble self and our party, the All Progressives Congress, and others arising from some false and malicious allegations touching on my integrity which the petition before your committee is premised.” He advised the Adebayo-led committee to stay action on its activities and await a final pronouncement on the matter as anything to the contrary would have legal consequences.
In the second letter, which was addressed to the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, Abdulkadir threatened to institute a separate suit against the party’s spokesperson if remedial actions were not taken to address the defamation of his character within seven days. In the letter written by Inuwa Abdul-Kadir and Co (solicitors, advocates and consultants), and addressed to the publicity secretary, the national vice-chairman (north), alleged that his reputation was brought to public ridicule by the APC spokesman in an interview published in print and online media.
The solicitors’ letter read in part, “My attention has been drawn by several persons to statements credited to you in the course of making a rejoinder to a personal letter written by the Deputy National Chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuiabu, to the National Chairman of the APC (hereinafter referred to simply as the party), Adams Oshiomhole. “In the said rejoinder, as published by various newspapers and other social media, you were credited with making the following statements concerning Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, former national chairman of the party and the entire members of the NWC of the party that served with him.
“The Adams Oshiomhole-led APC yesterday said the party lost some states to the Peoples Democratic Party due to indiscipline and inaction of the NWC under Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in an interview with journalists, said the former NWC led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun lacked the courage to confront the political despots who could not operate by the party’s rules.”
Abdulkadir said he was honoured to have served with Odigie-Oyegun in the NWC, noting that the statement and others like it disparaged their individual and collective reputations in the eyes of the right-thinking members of the society. Abdulkadir said by virtue of the fact that he held a traditional title in the Sokoto Emirate Council and had, at various times, held public offices, which included minister for youths and sports of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, attorney-general and commissioner for justice in Sokoto State, Issa-Onilu’s statement was defamatory.
He gave the APC spokesperson seven days ultimatum to, among others, retract his statements or be prepared to meet him in court. In response to calls and a text message on the subject, Issa-Onilu sent a text message which read, “I’m in a meeting.”