In what comes as a worsening of the crisis in the African Democratic Congress (ADC), the national chairman, Ralphs Nwosu, has threatened to drag the party’s presidential candidate, Dumebi Kachikwu, to court for reportedly making unfounded claims against him.
Nwosu gave Kachikwu seven days to withdraw the ‘traducing’ statements or face an N20 billion defamation suit at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The preferred remedies, in a letter by his counsel, Sam Kargbo, the principal partner in the law firm of Jackson, Kargbo & Associates, are to include: “Damages in the sum of N20 billion for the injury and damage you have inflicted on the reputation and public standing of our client.
“An injunction to restrain you from publishing the same or similar statements in the future and cost of the suit.”
The correspondence specifically asked Kachikwu to retract his “slanderous, libellous and traducing statements against Ralphs Okey Nwosu.”
The lawyer informed the presidential candidate that unless he carries out the retraction of the damaging statements within seven days from the date of service of the letter, the law firm would have no option than to drag him to show cause and pay N20 billion damages to Nwosu.
Part of the letter, which was served on Kachikwu on September 9, 2022, reads: “We are solicitors to Mr. Ralphs Okey Nwosu (our Client) of 4 Lusaka Street Abuja, and have been instructed concerning the slanderous, libellous and traducing statements you have been making against him at many for a, including press conferences and television interviews.
“According to our client, while basking in the euphoria of the wrong belief that being a presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) puts you in a commanding and imperial position over and above the constitutional structures and offices of the ADC.
“You have not only abandoned the necessary task of working with the party hierarchy to put in place campaign structures and efforts that will enable the party to sustain its traditional relevance in the forthcoming general elections, but have also been spreading the malicious and defamatory claim that our client has over the years been trading on the interest and mandate of the ADC.”
Specifically, Nwosu’s counsel complained of a video clip from a press conference, in which Kachikwu spoke defamatory words against the ADC national chairman.
He averred: “In their natural and ordinary meaning, the words and comments complained in paragraph 4 above meant and are understood to mean that our client is: a saboteur; traitorous; undependable; dangerous and harmful; dubious; a rogue; duplicitous and selfish.”
Consequently, the lawyer urged Kachikwu to “note that if you neglect or fail to heed our demand, we shall, in protecting our client’s interest, proceed against you in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and seek the following remedies:
“Damages in the sum of N20 Billion (Twenty Billion Naira) for the injury and damage you have inflicted on the reputation and public standing of our client.
An injunction to restrain you from publishing the same or similar statements in the future and cost of the suit”
Further, Nwosu’s counsel declared: “Besides the distress and embarrassment suffered by our client, your defamatory, vilifying, muckraking and calumnious comments against our client have harmed his reputation by subjecting him to public contempt, opprobrium and ridicule.
“You have, by your reckless, ill-conceived, malicious and outright falsehoods, lowered our client in the estimation of right-thinking members of society and have exposed him to hatred and harm.
“Your press conference and television interviews were deliberate and for the sole purpose of disparaging our client. You may therefore know that they are actionable and have dire legal consequences.
“We are by this letter demanding that within seven days of service of this letter on you: You call another press conference and therein make an unreserved apology and a declaration that the vile comments, accusations, allegations and adverse remarks you made against him are false and defamatory and cause such apology and declaration to be broadcast and published in each of the forums which have or could have broadcast or published them; and
“Make an undertaking not to repeat or authorize the publication of such defamatory statements against our Client.”
Ironically, the letter was served on Kachikwu in his private office at Roots TV, 9 Vannern Crescent, Besides Wellington Clinic, Maitama, Abuja, instead of a presidential campaign office.
The development comes barely three days after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rebuffed attempts by the embattled presidential candidate to sack the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) and imposing a Naomi Akwashiki-led caretaker committee.