This Day (Lagos)

20 January 2014

Nigeria: Let's Meet in Court, Obasanjo Challenges Kashamu

Convinced that he has his facts, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he was ready to confront the South west zonal leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Buruji Kashamu, in court, insisting that the latter has no "moral name worthy of any protection."

Obasanjo who spoke through his lawyer, Wale Abeeb Ajayi, in his reply to a letter written to him by Kashamu through his counsel, Alex Izinyon (SAN), said he stood by the content of his letter to President Goodluck Jonathan which referred to Kashamu as a wanted criminal in the United States of America. He said his assertion on Kashamu is correct and not misleading.

Obasanjo therefore advised Kashamu to proceed on his plan to go to court over his comment that he is a wanted in the United States of America. Kashamu had earlier threatened to sue Obasanjo for defamation after the famous letter was published.

Obasanjo declared that he was ready to justify any aspect of the reference which according to him, was already within the public domain.

However, the former president in his letter of reply titled: "Re: defamatory publication, injurious and malicious falsehood and unbridled vendetta against prince Buruji Kashamu dated January 14," said the letter "does not suggest any form of vendetta and not malicious or misleading in any material particular."

Kashamu in his letter dated December 14, 2013 wrote Obasanjo and complained that the former president in his December 2, 2013 open letter 'before it is too late' written to Jonathan had maligned his character, urging Obasanjo to retract the statement, failing which he threatened to drag him to court.

According to Izinyon, "Those false and malicious statements, which are too extensive to set out in this letter, held our client out to public odium and portrayed him as a criminal involved in narcotics related criminal activities who would have been in jail but for the protection given by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from extradition to and prosecution in the United States of America. "If however, you chose "to sit don look" we have further instruction without any further notice to you to seek legal redress," he said. Perhaps in readiness for the ensuing case, Obasanjo is said to have sent some implicating documents that supports his accusation against Kashamu to President Jonathan as well as the leadership of the PDP.

Obasanjo had earlier threatened to withdraw from the activities of the PDP if the party does not stop treating Kashamu with such overbearing respect.

Hear him: "I cannot and I will not subscribe to a wanted habitual criminal being installed as my zonal leader in the party; a criminal for whom extradition has been requested by the US Government.

"I will consider withdrawing my activity with PDP at local, state, zonal and national levels until the anomalous and shameful situation is corrected." The former president sent a copy of the one-page letter to President Goodluck.

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