…Vice Chair wants Secretary out; Omisore slams N.5b damages on Lukman
The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is again enmeshed in another round of crisis, following recommendations by its National Vice Chairman, Northwest, Salihu Lukman, that the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu and National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, be eased out.
Lukman had, on Friday, said with a Muslim-Muslim presidency of Asíwájú Bola Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima, there was the need to ensure religious balancing.
He added that Adamu should be replaced with a Christian, while Omisore should be replaced because his emergence had divided the Osun State chapter of the party.
“Apart from changing the National Chairman, there is the need to also recognise that the case of Senator Iyiola Omisore, National Secretary of the party, has become a source of stronger dispute in Osun State.
“Unfortunately, rather than serving as a unifying factor for the party leadership in Osun State, Omisore is more a divisive factor, which may have been responsible for why APC lost the 2022 governorship election to a political mediocre, whose only qualification in politics may appear to be comic dancing skill.
“To save Osun State and bring it back to its old standard of national political reckoning, Omisore would need to resign as National Secretary of APC, and a new unifying National Secretary elected.
“Beyond Omisore, similarly, any member of the National Working Committee of the party who is not a unifying leader in his/her state should be changed,” Lukman had advised.
However, in an interview on the Africa Independent Television, AlT, on Tuesday, 14th March, Lukman allegedly went further to accuse Omisore of mismanaging funds deployed for the last Osun State governorship election.
Omisore fires back
Omisore, through his lawyers, Lords Temple, has now written Lukman, demanding within 48 hours, a retraction of the said libelous statement and an apology to be published in two major newspapers and several online news outlets as well as “the payment of the sum of N500 million as damages for malicious statement against our client.”
In the demand notice signed by Gboyega Oyewole, the APC national secretary’s lawyers said: “Our instruction is that during an interview on Africa Independent Television (AlT) on the 14th of March, 2023 which was published in several online news blog, social media platforms, television stations and news media outlets, you made a libelous and defamatory statement of and concerning our client.
“In the said interview, you besmirched the character and integrity of our client, Senator lyiola Omisore in the following terms:
“‘And that is where we are and that is partly what is producing some of the unhealthy development in (the party).
“‘For instance, Osun State, which is part of the reason why I said the National Secretary has failed, in terms of stabilising Osun and uniting people.
“‘Part of the issue with that is that I am aware the party has given some campaign funds to Osun, which was handled by the National Secretary and to some extent, he has either mismanaged it but more importantly, he is not accounting to anybody and you have to activate the process of accountability’.
“‘Our client has informed us that your statement is not only false, misleading and without any factual basis but malicious in all material respect.
“‘It is by the reckoning of our client, a deliberate attempt sponsored and/or designed to malign his image and his political stature as a leader of note in Osun State, the South-West geopolitical zone and Nigeria as a whole.
“It is important to reiterate that the spurious allegation made in your statement of 14th of March 2023 against our client is false in all ramifications as our client was neither given any money to prosecute the Osun State governorship election nor did he mismanage the non-existing campaign funds.
“‘It is clear beyond doubt that your statement and publication was a political ploy with the intent to impugn the reputation and integrity of our client and unjustifiably and unwarrantedly assassinate his character in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public.
“‘Our client has consequently directed us to request for a retraction of your libelous statement and publication and an apology to be published in two major newspapers and several online news outlets not later than 48 hours of the delivery of this letter and also the payment of the sum N500 million only as damages for malicious statement against our client’.”
Omisore said should Lukman not do the needful within the stipulated time frame, his lawyers would be constrained to proceed to the court of law against him (Lukman) for exemplary damages for injurious falsehood and malicious statement.