Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has been waging war against the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, since his defection from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Ortom weathered through the storm to overwhelm the political machine of the APC in winning the 2019 election for a second term in Benue State. The political conflagration leading to the 2019 general elections generated intense verbal feud which subsequently culminated into libel suit in the court initiated by Ortom against Oshiomhole. It would appear that many words crossed the red line and became unbearable, therefore, extending the electioneering conflagrations into legal battle.
Ortom’s legal battle compounds Oshiomhole’s woes in the post-election era.
National Daily learned that a Benue State High Court presided over by Justice Augustine Ityoyiman had on Friday fixed July 11, 2019, to rule on the application brought before it by counsel to the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, in the libel suit Governor Samuel Ortom filed against APC, and Chairman.
National Daily further learned that Counsel to Governor Ortom, Samuel Irabor, who was in court with his two witnesses, had told the court that he was prepared to proceed with the case but was served with a motion on notice on Thursday by the counsel to the APC National Chairman which he has responded to.
Counsel to the APC National Chairman, Festus Jumbo had told the court that, their application is praying the court to strike out the suit for failure to join the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Vanguard Media Limited, Publishers of the Vanguard Newspaper and other print and social media platforms.
Counsel to Governor Ortom, Irabor, argued before the court that the case can be decided between Governor Ortom, Adams Oshiomhole and the APC without joining the NTA, Vanguard Media Ltd and Social media platforms.
Irabor stated that Oshiomhole has even owned up to the allegation and said he sourced his information from third parties which included APC leaders in Benue State, and a Non-governmental organization, but the names of the said APC leaders were however not mentioned.
Ortom’s Counsel argued that Oshiomhole has pleaded justification and fair comment, so, there was no need bringing the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, and Vanguard Media Limited into the matter.
The Governor’s counsel maintained that the issue for determination was whether the allegations by Oshiomhole and the APC against Governor Ortom to the effect that the Governor of Benue State had a hand in the death of the two Catholic priests at Mbalom and whether there was mismanagement of bailout funds in Benue State as alleged by Oshiomhole in his press conference of July 27, 2018 were true and correct.
He urged the court to dismiss the application and award cost against Oshiomhole for wasting the court’s time as they are already done with pre-trials and the business of the court was the hearing of the substantive suit for which he is ready with his witnesses.
After listening to the submissions of the lawyers, the presiding Judge, Justice Ityonyiman fixed July 11, 2019, for ruling on whether the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA and Vanguard Media Ltd should be joined in the suit, award cost and continuation of the substantive case.