By David Olalekan
A former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has approached a federal high court in Abuja to demand for a billion naira damages over article by a Punch newspaper columnist, Mr. Sonala Olumhense, published on January 27, 2019.
The former president, who sues Olumhense alongside the Punch newspaper, said he considers the publication defamatory; insisting that the article was “false, malicious, unjustified, injurious, scornful, distasteful, unsavoury,” and exposed him to “public odium, ridicule and disdain.”
In the article in question, titled “This is the Best Contribution Obasanjo Can Make,” Mr Olumhense, had recalled previous articles he had written about Mr Obasanjo, where he noted his “persistent efforts to distort Nigeria’s history and colour it in his own image.”
The columnist had also in the article reminded Nigerians that the former president was not “the saint or patriot or doer he pretends to be.”
“Obasanjo was no anti-corruption champion either, although nobody harangues corruption better than he. Yes, he launched the EFCC and ICPC, but they fought only the fights he allowed them to and wrote the reports he wanted. His real motivation was the largely retaliatory drive to recover the so-called (Sani) Abacha loot against the man who had thrown him behind bars. At the end, he could not account for the billions of dollars recovered.
“So abominable was Obasanjo’s performance on electricity that he lavished at least $10 billion he could not justify. The House of Representatives said Obasanjo often paid money to companies that had not cleared space for the projects.
“In an article in December 2006, I demonstrated that he spent close to N1 trillion on roads. In December 2013, using one of those roads, I explored how the practice of persistent parallel spending keeps the money flowing but not project delivery”, Olumhense wrote.