Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Thursday told a High Court sitting in Benin City how a soft-sell magazine, News of the People published a story which damaged his reputation and plunged his family into agony.
Testifying in Suit No B/556/2011, against Dockland Communications Limited, publishers of News of the People magazine (1st defendant) and Amzat Loye, Publisher (2nd defendant), Oshiomhole told the court presided over by Justice Efe Ikponmwonba that the magazine deliberately published the fictitious story to impugn his character.
In a question and answer session with the Counsel to the Magazine Mr. Yinka Muyiwa, Oshiomhole who is seeking N250 million damages against the magazine said one of his brothers Governor’s even called him to know if the report was true.
The session went thus:
Defendant’s counsel: Your Excellency, Mr Governor, presently you are not married.
Defendant’s Counsel: As an unmarried man, you are free to mingle,
Oshiomhole: I am a public officer, and as you have rightly pointed out as a Governor, what I do or fail to do is important. My character is important and people’s opinion of my personal life is important. My children are still in agony. The magazine published this just a few months after my wife passed away and this publication coincided with my daughter’s wedding. A Governor whom I invited for the wedding asked me if I was the one going to wed or my daughter. Your image as a public officer is very important.
The counsel who asked the Governor to show how his character was damaged and if he was referred to as a drug addict in the publication caused the Governor to read a portion of the publication thus ‘one wonders if he takes enhancement drugs’. The Governor explained to the Court that his conclusion and that of many people who called him was that he uses drugs.
The counsel told the Governor that despite the publication he still won the election to which Oshiomhole said: “after this publication, I had very serious family crisis because my children were still in grief over the death of their mother. Yes, I won the election in spite of the publication. The votes could have been more if not for this publication.”
The magazine had in its report in one of its publications of 2011 used the headline on the front page and page 19, thus: “Oshiomhole’s sex power exposed: Impregnates young girl six months after death of wife” which the Governor found libelous.
Hearing in the case continues.