It was a needless and avoidable friction. But, perhaps, providence had an unsuspecting need for the script. Earlier this month, Hon. Marvelous Muhizu Zibiri had slandered the highly respected philanthropist, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, when in a willfully damaging publication, which went viral on the social media, described the illustrious son of Benin as a “drug baron”.
For many reasons, Captain Hosa as he is called, didn’t find such impudence funny neither was he going to let it slide this time. This was a matter that had been resolved some 25 years ago, with a competent court declaring him clean. So, where is this coming from? Who could be behind this, because obviously, it was beyond the man, who was the new face of the attack?
But Captain Hosa made a resolution: that he would though pursue this to the very last, however, in doing so, he would not employ any extra-judicial means or be seen to have abused his power, and influence over a rather younger Zibiri, who was evidently misled. And that was how the journey that eventually culminated in a peaceful denouement, began.
First on June 3, 2020, Captain Okunbo petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, intimating him of what he described as “malicious, vicious and injurious”
conduct of Zibiri.
Mindful of the damage that the publication had caused to both his person and business, Okunbo asked the IG “to put a stop to the ongoing criminal falsehood and conduct of Mr. Marvelous Muhizu Zibiri and his cohorts, while we seek other legal remedies for this very dastardly act.”
Acting on the petition, the IG immediately deployed some of his good hands to work and after days of searching for Zibiri, he was arrested and taken to Abuja, where investigations about his destructive publication commenced.
But on June 20, Jimba Chambers, solicitors to Zibiri, wrote to Captain Okunbo, seeking his patience and understanding, especially, having met at different times with their client, who had also owned up to the charges against him.
In the letter signed by Alhaji Yakubu Jimba, the solicitors wrote: “Our client is willing, ready and able to put up and publish a written withdrawal of alleged defamatory publication without prejudice. To this extent, we shall be grateful if you kindly decline to press charges. Our client further undertakes that upon regaining freedom, he shall publish a written apology to you forthwith.”
Replying to Jimba Chambers, solicitors to Captain Okunbo, C.E Atano and Co, in a letter dated June 21, noted amongst others that, “Our client has been and is greatly hurt and embarrassed by your client’s conduct and actions. His slanderous publications not only dented his image, but also caused great damage to his reputation and business for which he is justifiably angry and had initiated legal actions to seek redress.
“Our client is an elder statesman, who has worked so hard to build his image and Business Empire over the years, and his people, especially, the youths look up to him as a role model and beacon of hope in Edo State and the country in general. He is particularly interested in developing the youths and encouraging them to pursue their dreams for which he has greatly invested in Edo State.
“Suffice it to say that your client caused serious damage, but based on his apologies and undertakings as stated in your letter, our client, out of magnanimity and as an elder statesman, may without prejudice decide to forgive ‘IF’ and when your client is able to make wide and copious publications and a handwritten apology as stated in your letter.
“Our client believes he was misled and ill advised, and now that he is remorseful and repentant, our client may overlook his excesses, though the damage has been done.”
Thus, on June 22, Captain Okunbo wrote back to the police, this time through the office of the Assistant Inspector general of Police and intimated the police of the development, which included the proposed apology and other undertakings by Zibiri as part of the understanding that resulted in the final resolution of the matter.
“Being an elder statesman and a person with good interest of the youths and people of Edo State, coupled with several pleas from his people, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, has decided to forgive and not press charges on the condition that Mr. Marvelous Muhizu keeps to his undertakings as expressed through his lawyer’s letter and reiterated in the response letter by Cyril Atano esq., lawyer to Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo.
“Though serious damage has been caused by Mr. Marvelous Muhizu’s acts and conduct, and though his undertakings, pleas and withdrawals may not adequately redress or compensate for the damage, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, being a father figure to such youths and out of his magnanimity, has decided to forgive and let go if the conditions aforesaid are met.”
In two separate letters – of apology and undertaking – dated June 23, 2020, Zibiri, while apologising to Captain Okunbo said, “I further hereunder undertake never to be involved in such publications affecting him (Captain Okunbo) in any manner. I hope Captain Idahosa will find a heart to forgive me and withdraw the petition against me in the FIB.”
In that of the undertaking, Zibiri stated also: “I wish to undertake that I shall make wide and copious publications in both Print and Social Media, recanting, withdrawing and disclaiming slanderous publications against Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo.
“I also wish to undertake that I will cease to in any manner defame or undermine Captain Idahosa in whatever guise. Failure to do so shall entail judicial action against me.”
Hopefully, this uncharitable episode to the recurring albeit unfounded allegation puts an end to a matter that died and was buried 25 years ago.
However, there’s a lesson here for both sides. While the timely show of remorse by the accused was smart and commendable, because he would have spent a good time in prison on account of a willful defamation of character, the show of magnanimity by Captain Hosa is worthy of note and mention.
By his action in this matter, Captain Hosa has also lived true to type as a kind, sympathetic and generous son of Benin, who is interested more in mentoring the youths and building a future for them than watching them destroy themselves.
Although many of those close to Captain Okunbo hinted that he was badly damaged by such a weighty allegation, which sadly, was lacking in substance and that he was prepared to go the whole hog to seek justice, the father in him however showed up at a most auspicious time, when it was badly needed. His demeanor said the unspoken: “Marvelous Zibiri, go and sin no more.”
This is a classic case of a deviant son and a large-hearted father doing right from their respective standpoint. Importantly, however, it is hoped that many others in Zibiri shoes, who are susceptible to manipulations by the dregs of the society, would take a cue from his ordeal and ponder a more productive use of their time and gift.
Inclusive Foundation Mourns Veteran Actress, Rachael Oniga
Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has expressed its heartfelt sympathy to family, friends and the entire movie industry over the loss of the veteran actress, Rachael Oniga who died at age 64.
The CEO of the foundation, Chief (Mrs.) Pat Eleto, in a condolence visit to the family, on Saturday, July 31st, said the news came as a rude shock to many, but she believes that the late actress has created a great impact with her career, and her legacy should never be forgotten.
In her statement, Chief (Mrs.)Eleto said:
“It is with a heavy heart that I grief with the family of a sister, friend and adviser of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
“Mrs. Oniga, is one of our great ambassadors, and we were actually working on a project that is meant for the later part of this year when the sad news of her demise came.
“Death is inevitable, we pray for the repose of her soul, and may God comfort all the people she left behind. We also hope and pray that all her good legacies, be sustained because, she was indeed a pillar of support to our foundation, and also one of veterans that contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood,” the statement reads.
A native of Delta State, Oniga was one of the ambassadors of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
Alaafin Shuns Ooni-Backed Group Over Alleged Anti-Buhari Posture
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Friday, at the last minute, allegedly cancelled an appointment he gave to a Yoruba group, Ooni’s Caucus, on the alleged complaint that members of the group are “notorious critics” of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Ooni’s Caucus, which was inaugurated at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on July 20, 2021, is made of many influential Yoruba persons and is being coordinated by a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun.
PUNCH learnt that Osuntokun led about 14 members of the group to Alaafin’s palace for the alleged 11am appointment on Friday, but after waiting for about two and a half hours, the influential monarch sent words to them that he would not be seeing them.
According to a source, who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, some of the group’s members who went to Alaafin’s palace with Osuntokun were a monarch, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao; a former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe; a former commissioner in Osun State, Muyiwa Ige; a former Minister of Defence, Mrs Dupe Adelaja; a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, Oye Oyewumi, Sola Lawal, among others.
A former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is also said to be a member of Ooni’s Caucus, but he was not on the delegation to Alaafin’s palace on Friday.
The source, who is a member of the group, claimed that the group had through the Olugbon secured an appointment with Alaafin since Monday, and the same appointment was confirmed on Thursday, only for them to get to the palace and the Alaafin refused to see them on the claim that they were anti-Buhari and were also loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The source explained that the main purpose of the meeting was for the newly-inaugurated group to get Alaafin’s blessings and to possibly discuss the issue of the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, who is currently being held and tried in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The source said, “The Olugbon, a member of the caucus, was the one who booked the appointment, but he said the Alaafin said he didn’t want to see us because we’re notorious critics of the Buhari government.
“He (Alaafin) confirmed the appointment yesterday (Thursday). But when we got there today, he kept us waiting; after a while, he asked to see the Olugbon. He (Alaafin) didn’t come to see us; we were told he said he wouldn’t see us because we are notorious critics of Buhari’s government and that some of us are close to Obasanjo, who is also critical of the government.
“We were made to wait for about two and a half hours; he gave us an appointment for 11am; we got there at 11am and at about 1.30pm, that was when it was obvious to us that he wasn’t coming (to see us). But he initially asked to see the Olugbon, who went to see him for about an hour. When the Olugbon eventually came back, he said Alaafin would not see us, saying we are a group that is critical of the Buhari government and some of us are loyalists of Obasanjo.”
On whether the group’s mission to Alaafin’s palace was to discuss Sunday Igboho’s matter, the source said, “Of course, the issue (of Igboho) would come up but that was not the purpose of the visit. The issue of Igboho concerns all the Yoruba people but that was not our reason for going to him.”
On whether the group would try and book another appointment, the source said, “I don’t know; we were all surprised that a Yoruba oba can refuse to see his children on account of not wanting to be on the bad side of Buhari’s government. I would have thought that an oba is supposed to take everybody as his children, whether they are supporters of Buhari the All progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or whatever party.”
But when contacted by PUNCH, the Media Director to the Alaafin, Bode Durojaye, said the reason his principal did not see the group was because they did not have any prior appointment with him.
Durojaye said the Alaafin would be willing to entertain the group if they booked an appointment.
He said, “Those who came are men of honour and kabiyesi did not say he did not want to see them. He did not say he would not see them because they are critical of President Buhari or they are former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s men. Obasanjo himself is a friend of Kabiyesi, so you can see that what you were told was not what happened.
“Kabiyesi said he could not see them because they did not give him prior notice that they were coming. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see them again. They can notify him and he will give them an appointment. You cannot just come and say you want to see him, there are protocols to follow and due process is always adhered to at Alaafin’s Palace.
“There was no rancour, no ill-feeling even when they were going; I was there and I saw them off to their vehicles. If anybody told you that kabiyesi said he didn’t want to see them because they are critical of government or they are Obasanjo’s men, that is a lie.”
NMA Reacts As Bandits Break Into, Pick Nurse At Zamfara General Hospital
Suspected bandits invaded General Hospital, Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday, resulting in the abduction of a nurse and caregiver.
Residents said that immediately the men stormed the medical facility, the armed men headed to the outpatient ward in search of a doctor or nurse.
“When they couldn’t find anybody there, they started going from one ward to another. A nurse and a caregiver were abducted. They then moved to staff quarters looking for doctors and nurses but could not find any.”
“The armed criminals had earlier attempted to attack Maigoge, a community located six kilometres north of Dansadau town.
“But when they laid siege to the community, the vigilantes otherwise known as Yan Sakai firmly defended the village. The vigilante killed some of the bandits and injured several others.
“They then invaded the hospital to kidnap nurse and doctors that will treat their injured brothers in the forest.”
Maigoge is one of the few communities in Dansadau Emirate known to be firmly defending themselves against bandits.
“The staff of the facility are not carrying out night duties now. They only attend to patients at day time. They then move inside the town to spend night usually at undisclosed locations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in Zamfara state, Dr Mannir Bature, who confirmed the attack said the association is worried by the unfortunate incident.
He said they would hold an emergency state officers council meeting on Saturday.
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