$1 million bribe viral audio: Nwadike is taken to court for libel by ex-Imo governor Ohakim

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Ikedi Ohakim, a former governor of Imo State, has denounced Chikezie Nwadike’s N1 billion lawsuit for libel and defamation.

Nwadike was brought before the state High Court by Ohakim after the latter accused him of acting as a conduit for a corrupt one million dollar bribe during the state’s Labour Party, LP, governorship primary.

Nwadike had claimed that Ohakim had been employed to improperly sway the results of the state’s LP governorship primary poll.

Ohakim, however, called the accusation baseless, vicious, wicked, and careless.

On July 4, 2023, his attorney Aloy Ejimakor submitted Ohakim’s lawsuit, with the case number HOW/701/2023, to the High Court of Imo State in Owerri. In it, Ohakim claimed that “on or about April 23, 2023, the Defendant (Nwadike) recorded in his own voice an audio which he put in the stream of viral circulation through WhatsApp social media platforms.” Many people listened to the recording all throughout the world, but especially in Nigeria and Imo State.

Dr. Ohakim gave a summary of the viral audio’s contents to the court, saying that “the Defendant made and published the foregoing audio allegations, purporting that the Plaintiff (Ikedi Ohakim) was complicit in and a participant in the conduit used to corruptly channel $1,000,000 bribe which was used to corruptly influence the outcome of the Labour Party gubernatorial primary that was conducted in Imo state recently.”

The defendant’s remarks, the former governor continued in the lawsuit, “were false, malicious, wicked, and reckless and they were heard worldwide, including particularly in Nigeria and Imo State.” As well as the fact that “the publication and circulation of said audio have seriously injured his fine character, credit, reputation, and integrity.”

Ohakim requested that the court order Nwadike to pay him one billion naira as exemplary damages for defaming his reputation.

The former governor requested that the court rule that Nwadike’s accusations in the popular audio are “slanderous, libelous, and defamatory.” A court order “directing the defendant to retract the allegations made on the said audio through another audio of his own making and voice and publish/circulate same in the stream of same WhatsApp Messenger social media platforms” is another request he makes.

The former governor is also asking for a court order telling Nwadike “to write and deliver to the plaintiff, an unreserved letter of apology,” as well as a “perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant from further and forever uttering and publishing the said slanderous and libelous words about or concerning the Plaintiff.”

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