The former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, appeared in court today in Port Harcourt as a plaintiff, not a defendant to the reopened fraud case against him by the Federal Government. The two tenure Rivers Governor has sued Dr. Dakuku Peterside, the All Progressive Congress [APC] Rivers State Guber candidate at the 2015 General Elections, for N6bn, for defamation of character.
Odili claims that Peterside, during a press conference granted to the media after his January 27 defeat at the Supreme Court, defamed him [Odili].
Dr. Dakuku’s statement at the said press conference alleged that the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, at a thanksgiving service “confessed” that the decision of the supreme court was compromised due to influence from Dr. Odili’s wife Mary Odili who is a Supreme Court Justice.
An excerpt from the statement by Peterside reads;
“However, the most striking revelation by Nyesom Wike is contained in his account at the thanksgiving service last Sunday. He obviously stunned his audience and the watching world when he confessed that when it came to the Judges, Dr. Peter Odili and the wife Justice Mary Odili [a Justice of the Supreme Court] were his advisers.
“This simply confirmed his earlier statements that he had contact with the Justices after several attempts to reach the Chief Justice of the country failed.
“It is therefore obvious that the decision of the Supreme Court on the Rivers State Election was not a product of justice but rather a product of compromise and orchestrated contrivance to legalize electoral violence and rigging and, in turn, reward injustice. This calls for serious introspection by our Judiciary and judicial officers.”
Odili had described the statement credited to Peterside as false and malicious, maintaining that Wike never said that he helped him to secure election victory at the Supreme Court.
The APC, Rivers State Chapter, had at the time, through its spokesperson, Chris Fynebone stated that Dakuku’s statement was of a reported nature, and was never intended to insult the former Governor or his wife. The statement by the APC claimed that the NIMASA boss did not say anything that wasn’t said by the Governor.
The said statement at the thanksgiving service credited to the Rivers State Governor reads;
“Let me thank our former governor, Dr. Peter Odili, he will call me midnight to tell me what to do….he will say ‘go so so place.’ I took all his advice, and here we are today.”
The defendant and his counsel were absent in court, but the Lead Counsel for the plaintiff, Kanu Agabi [SAN], said Dr. Dakuku was properly served.
The presiding Judge, Justice Adama Iyayi-Lamikanra, adjourned the case till October 27, 2016, for further hearing.
After court proceedings, the lead council to the former Rivers State Governor said the court would not have proceeded if they [plaintiff] had not produced reasonable evidence to convince the court that the defendant was properly served the suit.
“We sued for libel and we called our first witness. We have adjourned for cross-examination till the 27th of October, 2016.
“We felt defamed by their [defendant] publication and we are here to vindicate ourselves.
“You could see that the defendants were not in court, but they have been served; they have been properly served. The court would not have proceeded otherwise.”