Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Obaigbena's THISDAY Newspaper Sues ACN, CPC, PDP Spokespersons For Libel, Demands N40 Billion In Compensation
ThisDay publisher Nduka Obaigbena, under heat for his paper's publication of a questionable opinion poll on the April 2011 elections, has directed Thisday's lawyers to sue officials of opposing parties for libel. In a report received today by SaharaReporters, Mr. Obaigbena's paper announced that it was suing three spokespersons of ACN, Team Ribadu and CPC, for accusing his news organization of concocting a discredited opinion poll.
A few days ago, ThisDay published an ostensible opinion poll in which the paper claimed that more than 60 percent of voters favor Goodluck Jonathan, the presidential candidate of the ruling PDP to win the the April 9 presidential poll. Mr. Obaigbena is also reportedly suing a PDP spokesman for questioning aspects of the alleged poll.
Mr. Obaigbena, who has a long history of putting his publications at the propaganda service of Nigeria's military and civilian governments, has faced pointed censure since his paper's publication of the bizarre poll results.
Mr. Obaigbena's lawsuit, which will commence tomorrow at the Federal High Court, Abuja, targets Joe Igbokwe of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Ibrahim Modibbo of the Ribadu Campaign Organization (also known as "Team Ribadu"), Yinka Odumakin of Congress for Progressive Change, and Cletus Akwaya of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Mr. Akwaya is a former reporter with Mr. Obaigbena's Thisday but currently serves as Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the Governor of Benue State. Mr. Akwaya had criticized the "poll" for stating that Governor Suswam of Benue, a PDP candidate, would lose his bid for reelection.
One Abuja-based lawyer said it was highly unlikely that Mr. Obaigbena's lawsuits are going to succeed. "I think the likely outcome is that the judge hearing this libel case will conclude that Thisday is guilty of gross abuse of the court process," said the lawyer, adding that the paper brought justified criticism on itself by selling bogus polls to its readers.