N20BN LIBEL SUIT: OBASANJO DECLINES TO TESTIFY, DELEGATES EX-PDP AUDITOR

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday declined to testify in a libel suit brought against him before an Abuja High Court by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-West, Buruji Kashamu. Instead, the former president picked PDP’s former National Auditor, Chief Bode Mustapha, to testify on his behalf when trial opens in the case.
Kashamu had sued Obasanjo for alleged defamation of character over his (Obasanjo’s) claim in a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and the immediate past PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, that Kashamu was a fugitive wanted in the United States. When the matter came up yesterday, Obansajo’s counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, told the court that Obasanjo had chosen not to testify in person, but would call one witness. He pointed to Mustapha, who was also seated in the court.
Oyewole, who told the court that his client had filed all the necessary processes in line with the court’s earlier order, withdrew one of the applications he filed, challenging some averments contained in one of the plaintiffs’ affidavits. He sought a date for hearing of all applications, including the main suit. Plaintiff ’s counsel, Alex Iziyon (SAN), did not object to Oyewole’s decision to withdraw his application.
He also agreed that a date be fixed for hearing. He, however, informed the court that he would call two witnesses for the plaintiff. The trial judge, Justice Valentine Ashi, who commended the matured manner the lawyers on both sides handled the case, urged lawyers to learn to work harmoniously, while still protecting the interest of their clients. He adjourned until July 28 for the commencement of hearing.
Kashamu had stated, in a supporting affidavit, that the defendant maliciously and recklessly published a letter titled, “Before it is too late,” which contained “words which he knew to be false.” In his writ of summons, Kashamu stated that the criminal imputation made against him by Obasanjo in his letter, had injured him (Kashamu). He prayed the court to award in his favour, and against the ex-President, N20 billion for the damage he suffered as a result of the allegation
Source: New Telegraph

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