Court dismisses Gov. Chime’s N1.5 bn libel suit against opponent, Guardian newspaper

Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by Gov. Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, challenging the judgment of a Lagos High court in a libel suit against his political opponent.

Mr. Chime had instituted a N1.5 billion libel suit against Okechukwu Ezea, his opponent in the 2007 gubernatorial election.

The Guardian Newspapers Ltd. is also a respondent.

Mr. Chime had claimed that Mr. Ezea defamed his character on page seven of the Guardian newspaper of Aug. 14, 2007, over alleged plots to kill him.

Mr. Chime had in his statement of claim, accused Mr. Ezea of addressing a press conference in Abuja in August, 2007 which, he said, was attended by representatives of many media organisations.

Mr. Chime said that at the press conference, Mr. Ezea accused him of plotting to kill him.

The governor averred that his personal reputation had been tarnished, adding that he had suffered considerable distress and embarrassment from the assertion.

He had demanded N1 billion as damages from Ezea and N500,000 from the Guardian Newspapers Ltd. as damages.

Justice Kazeem Alogba of a Lagos High Court had dismissed the suit for lack of merit, and awarded a cost of N100, 000 against Chime.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the governor, through his Counsel, Gbolahan Elias, had appealed the decision of the lower court.

The appellate court in its lead judgment, delivered by Justice Rita Pemu, held that the appeal lacked merit and could not be sustained.

The appellate court held that the governor ought to have called witnesses who attended a press conference where the defamatory statements were allegedly uttered.

The court upheld the argument of Mr. Ezea’s Counsel, Joseph Nwobike.

The court affirmed the lower court’s decision that the appellant failed to prove that Ezea (the first respondent) uttered the defamatory statements.

Consequently, the court awarded cost of N30, 000 against the appellant.

The governor had, in the appeal, submitted that the lower court erred in law when it held that the appellant failed to prove that Ezea uttered the defamatory statements.

He further submitted that the lower court erred when it held that the words published in the Guardian newspaper were incapable of defaming his character.

(NAN)


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  • Baron Samedi

    God forbid

  • Obed

    What is dollar to naira rate is our immediate problem to address and not irrelevant history

  • Victor Odutola Mayomi

    Every time a Yoruba man gives the likes of Odia Ifemium space to be relevant, they turn round to insult us. I do not know when Odia became an authority in history to be questioning the authority of Professor Ade Ajayi of blessed memory. The die is cast as the Ooni has said. It is not the fault of the Binis. We are the ones that started insulting ourselves. I believe the Yorubas should unite and realize that the binis are not our friends, and they don’t have to be. A word is enough for the wise. Yoruba ronu!

    • Dele Awogbeoba

      That is a very weird deduction. At the end of the day, no tribe wants to be viewed as as subservient to another tribe irrespective of size. The man brings a different perspective. He is purporting to rank seniority not from the perspective of Oduduwa but from the offspring of ORANMIYAN. As Yorubas, we should simply be aware that the children of Oduduwa are related. That every Oba is supreme in their own domain. There is really no need to grade anyone.

      • Victor Odutola Mayomi

        You are perfectly entitled to your opinion. What is the basis of the Oba of Benin claiming superiority over other obas in Edo State if it is not based on history and hierachy. I have no business with you because you sound like a Yoruba man who is too educated to know your history. When you are sufficiently enlightened about our history, then we can engage with each other. The Benin version of history is totally distorted. Assuming its version is even right, Oduduwa did not reign in Benin. He reigned in Ife. His grandson reigned in Benin. Even by this simple logic, the Ooni stool is superior. In any case, the Binis are advised to go and search for their missing daddy. The Odua house extends beyond Nigeria. Our brothers and sisters in the Republic of Benin know their ancestral history and relationship with Ife. The Binis are free to delude themselves with a version of history that has not been validated elsewhere other than by them. But mark my word, very soon, some obas in Edo state will also come with their own version of history to show that the Oba of Benin is not superior to them. In any case, has the Benin empire not become a relic of history?
        Victor
        ——————————————–

        • Preshi

          Minds like yours are why we as a black race are still backwards. You care not for history asides that part that soothes you, neither do you Care for truth, heck you won’t even know truth even if it hits you in the face. It would only take like 5 months for the real truth to come up, just wait. Then even the Alake would take his words back.

          • Victor Odutola Mayomi

            The reason people like you are distorting history is that you are too young to know these things You went to school when history is no longer taught and appreciated in our schools. The bible says you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. You are lucky because it is only the Yorubas who are too civilized to be offended by insults thrown at us all the time in Nigeria by ethic groups who have benefitted from our generosity. You dare not try this with the igbos or hausa-fulanis in Nigeria.
            Victor

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            I know my history very very well. I know that at about the year 1025, Ife was a major centre and was larger than present day Ife town. Benin empire or even the ogiso kingdom had not even started at appear on maps.

            upload[dot]wikimedia[dot]org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/East-Hem_1025ad.jpg

            With Ife clearly the bigger and more prestigious empire at that time period, it is not unusual for a small state to choose a king from such a lineage of people. That said, the primary point remains the same. The Benin are simply trying to maintain a certain dignity and the palace of benin do not want to appear to be strangers to their people!

          • Victor Odutola Mayomi

            Ok. Yes, you are right.

            Victor
            ——————————————–

          • Charles Adegunwa

            Alake of Abeokuta is definitely right, if we take the Post Oduduwa period . Irrespective of who Oduduwa was or where he came from, he sent his son Oranmiyan to Benin and founded the present dynasty there. Does the Oba Benin want to senior his grandfather (Oduduwa) and his father(Oranmiyan) ?. There was really no prince of Ogiso because Ogiso was probably like a Bale. Obaship produces Prince and Princesses not baleship. It is common in history of strangers becoming rulers.
            Queen of England (House of Windsor) were German who also ruled Russia. I am sure when Yoruba lost Oyo Ile and moved to the present Oyo, some ruling people were displaced.

          • cinnamonchic

            There is no BLACK race. Where did you get that information from Europeans? Yorubas + the Zulus are big foreigner tribes who think they are locals : you are not natives to the NIGER region ✈ not with that mouth of yours!

            #2 BLACK SKINNED + RACE: who told you we Blacks were united before. Africa has never been united; BRown skin cannot be the default: if that this case add India, sri lanka , australia , N+ s America , the pacific islanders and so on. 80% of the planet is BLACK SKINNED
            there aint no sub-Saharan race or black or asia race: ITS ALL BULLSHIT to divide & conquer.

            THE ONLY THING the Yorubas leaned is ” an enemy of my enemy MAY also be my enemy too”. The white-man gave them
            no option now. Yes they got Nigeria out of this BUT at what cost? getting rid of the AKANS out of the region did not serve you well. DID IT?
            +TO MOVE FORWARD: Disbanned the European lines of countries _ and give back control to each tribal nations & stop reaching

        • Dele Awogbeoba

          Yoruba history (like Edo history) is passed down by word of mouth. Things that happen 3 years ago can assume different variations when told or recounted 4 years after the event. One can only assume the level of distortions (in both the Edo and Yoruba side) that has distorted the actual events that occurred centuries ago. The fact of the matter is that the Ooni has no power over the Oba of Lagos in Lagos and the Oba of Lagos has no power or supremacy over the Owa of Ijesha in Ilesha. That is the current state of play. In history, the dominant powers in the 1700’s were that the powerful Oyo and Bini empires lived side by side without wars. Parts of Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos Island were vassal states to the Bini Empire whilst parts of Dahomey, Ghana, Ijesha, Ijebu etc were vassal states to Oyo empire. Both empires are now relics.

          Odia’s argument though unpersuasive is no doubt a different way of looking at events. Yours is also a different way. Odia’s article however makes clear that the main fear of the Edo is to avoid being subsumed into a inferior status to the Yoruba irrespective of the blood relationship between the Obas of Benin and Yoruba land.

          • Victor Odutola Mayomi

            You are entitled to your views. No one is saying any Oba has territorial control over others. As a Yoruba man versed in Yoruba culture, I am aware that the Oba of Lagos is a junior Oba by our tradition. This is about customs and tradition. It is southerners who come with all sorts of arguments to descreate their culture. Are you aware that the emir of Gwandu is the next in hierachy to the sultan of Sokoto in NW Nigeria? Why are the emits of Kano and Kaduna and even Katsina not flexing their muscles regarding the huge sizes of their domains relative to Gwandu. The Ooni is a father to all; a father does not dominate his children by conquering them through warfare. The distorted history from Benin is politically motivated. I challenge you to have an open mind and conduct your independent investigation. The house of Oduduwa goes beyond Nigeria, and is united under the Ooni as Head.Period.
            Victor

          • Dele Awogbeoba

            The King of Benin (like the Emir of Kano, Illorin and Sokoto) is keen to ensure oneness with the indigenous people that they preside over within his kingdom (especially where they royal lineage may actually have a different ethnic origin to majority of their subjects).

            The Benin version states that some oracle told the kingdom that the king was now in Uhe. It was the same oracle that told them that they king Ekalerdan must be killed. Oranmiyan is not the first son of Oduduwa. Eweka was definitely older than the descendent of Oranmiyan that took over the stool of the Alaafin of Oyo after the death of Oranmiyan.

            The key element in the debate which you are refusing to acknowledge is the issue of ethnic pride and the desire to avoid being seen as inferior to the Yorubas. That is the Edo psyche. The Alake should simply have acknowledged the Oba of Benin and the Edo as blood brothers of the main Yoruba family.

          • Victor Odutola Mayomi

            Please check your records. The ogisos were rulers but not kings. The Binis had no kings until the reign of Eweka. The ogisos were their rulers but they were not kings in the mould of the Eweka dynasty. That is the simple truth. Why don’t you ask the Binis why the ogiso lineage of rulers was displaced. I have also said that it is uncharitable for the binis to be claiming that Oduduwa is a Bini man because that is a pure lie. Is virtually impossible for a Benin fugitive to be crowned Ooni in Ife and that milestone will not be recorded in history. Joseph was prime minister in Egypt and it was recorded. So how did it happen that he came alone to Ife or if he came with people, there is no Benin settlement in Ife up till today.

            Victor
            ——————————————–

          • Muhammad Shakir Balogun

            Historian, there is nothing like Emir of Kaduna. Kaduna is not a traditional Hausa or Fulani town. Kaduna only emerged in recent Nigerian history

          • Victor Odutola Mayomi

            I know he is Emir of Zazzau. You just made my point that when it comes to traditional institution, it is not the size of the city that counts. In Yorubaland, the Oba of Lagos is not a high ranking Oba the same way the emir of kano is ranked after the emir of gwandu.
            Victor

            ——————————————–

      • 247don007

        I wish to like your comment again & again. You put the whole matter to rest.

  • emmanuel anizoba

    For man, History is one of the most fecund sources of his prejudices and errors. 1. It is from History that we derive our religious opinions, and whenever religion is false, the immense quantity of actions and judgments based on it, are also false and crumbles with it. 2. It is again from History that we derive most of our political maxims and principles which guide governments, topple or consolidate them. 3. Finally, it is the stories we hear everyday – a true branch of History – which become the more or less mediate cause of a host of erroneous ideas and actions. Hence, if we subject human errors to arithmetic, we may be certain that out of a thousand errors, nine hundred and eighty belong to History. We postulate in principle that whatever each person possesses in terms of prejudices and false ideas comes from another person, through the credulous confidence given to stories, while whatever the person possesses in terms of truth and precise ideas comes from himself and his personal experience. So, the mental disposition most suited for instruction, for the discovery of truth, for the peace and happiness of individuals and nations is: NOT TO BELIEVE EASILY! That’s the befitting fate for the current fictitious Bini/Yoruba controversy. Cheers!

    • nkechi

      Well-opined, sir. In this case, as is the case with all history, skepticism is the safest starting point, and an open mind. Especially in this situation where much is dependent on oral tradition. It then becomes a game of whom one chooses to believe.

  • Dele Awogbeoba

    Yoruba history (like Edo history) is passed down by word of mouth. Things that happen 3 years ago can assume different variations when told or recounted 4 years after the event. One can only assume the level of distortions (in both the Edo and Yoruba side) that has distorted the actual events that occurred centuries ago.

    upload[dot]wikimedia[dot]org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/East-Hem_1025ad.jpg

    What we do know is that Ife had become a major power by 1025 in the space currently called Nigeria and covered an area of land equal to half of the SW. We also know that Bini kingdom ( as ruled by the Ogiso dynasty) was not a major power and not included on the map of the major powers at that time.

    upload[dot]wikimedia[dot]org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/East-Hem_1200ad.jpg

    It therefore seems more plausible for the bini’s to seek a child of an ife king at that time than the other way around. Eweka was king of Benin from 1180-1246. It also makes more sense why Oranmiyan refused to stay long in Benin and why he eventually went back to Ife to be king as Ife was the more prestigious empire at the time.

    The fact of the matter is that the Ooni has no power over the Oba of Lagos in Lagos and the Oba of Lagos has no power or supremacy over the Owa of Ijesha in Ilesha. That is the current state of play. In history, the dominant powers in the 1700’s were that the powerful Oyo and Bini empires lived side by side without wars. Parts of Ekiti, Ondo and Lagos Island were vassal states to the Bini Empire whilst parts of Dahomey, Ghana, Ijesha, Ijebu etc were vassal states to Oyo empire. Both empires are now relics.

    Odia’s argument though unpersuasive is no doubt a different way of looking at events. Odia’s article however makes clear that the main fear of the Edo is to avoid being subsumed into a inferior status to the Yoruba irrespective of the blood relationship between the Obas of Benin and Yoruba land.