Alleged Questionable Academic Credentials: Ashiru Threatens Sani Bello With Court Action 

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*Gives 7 days Ultimatum to Retract Malicious Allegation
By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP gubernatorial flag bearer in Kaduna State, Isa Ashiru Kudan has given Dr.Mohammed Sani Bello, who is also the Maina Zazzau 7 days ultimatum to retract the malicious allegation against him over questionable academic credentials or face legal action.
Maina Zazzau had in a said published press release which he complemented with an interview in Hausa language aired at 8:30pm by a BBC Hausa radio programme on the 14th of November, 2018, where he said that one of the reasons he resigned his membership of the PDP was because he was not comfortable working with Isa Ashiru whose academic credentials according to him, is questionable.
Ashiru in a letter with reference No.ETC/GC/XIII/158/2/2018, dated 19 November, 2018 jointly signed by his Counsels, Barrister Samuel Atung, Barrister Baba Lawal Aliyu and Barrister James Kanyip said; “The published defamatory statement has not only defamed the hard earned reputation and integrity of our client, it has also subjected him to public ridicule, scorn, opprobrium and odium, especially giving the crucial and critical time that it was made and circulated when the general elections are around the corner and our client has become more popular than ever before.”
According to him, the published defamatory statement which is actuated by malice has tainted his hard earned reputation and integrity, which has caused him loss of political goodwill, followers and supporters that, ordinarily, would have supported and voted for him if this defamatory statement was not published
While stating that the publication of the defamatory statement has lowered his estimation of the ordinary citizens of the state globally and as well as in that of members of his family, business, political friends, associates, political followers and supporters in Nigeria and abroad have been calling him to express their worries and concern over the statements, he demanded that Maina Zazzau should within seven (7) clear days commencing from the date of receipt of the letter, retract the defamatory statement and publicly apologise or face legal action
He further said, “The retraction and apology shall be published in two (2) offline national dailies, your Facebook wall and page and shall be given wide publicity In like manner as the content of the defamatory statement.
“In addition thereto, you shall pay N500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira Only) as compensation for the injury and emotional trauma you caused to our client as a result of the published defamatory statement, given the period that It was made and being circulated.
“In the event of your refusal/neglect to comply with, or make good our demands as aforestated, we have our client’s Instructions to explore all legal means available under all extant laws to ensure that these demands are met. Specifically, but without prejudice to other recourse, we shall file an action in a court of law against you for defamation of our client’s character and claim special and aggravated damages.”
Below is the unedited Full Text of the letter sent by Isa Ashiru to Maina Zazzau
YOUR DEFAMATORY STATEMENT OF AND CONCERNING RT. HON. ISA ASHIRU- DEMAND FOR RETRACTION AND PUBLIC APOLOGY.
We are Solicitors to RT. HON. ISA ASHIRU (“Our Client”) who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate for Kaduna State in the 2019 general elections; and on whose behalf and firm instruction we herewith write this letter of demand.
Our brief discloses as follows:-
1. Your good self, our client and eight (8) others were all aspirants cleared by the PDP to contest the gubernatorial primary election for Kaduna State under its platform. The said primary election was held on 30th of September, 2018.
2. On the day of the primary election (30thSeptember, 2018), you voluntarily withdrew from the contest. At the conclusion of the election, our client was declared the winner; and was accordingly returned as such. Thus, he became the Kaduna State standard bearer and gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the 2019 general elections.
3. On the 12th of November, 2018, you made an official press release that you have resigned your membership of the PDP with immediately effect. The said press release was published in the social media (on your Facebook wall and page) which was and is still being widely shared and circulated in both the online and offline social and other media by newspaper, television and radio stations and some of your followers in the social media.
4. Ordinarily, our client would not have been bothered about the resignation of your membership of PDP as it is your constitutional right, to do so. However, the attention of our client has been drawn to an aspect of the reasons you gave for resigning from the PDP which disparages the hard earned reputation and integrity of our client; and thereby defamed his character.
5. Maina Zazzau had in a said; “published press release which you complemented with an interview in Hausa language aired at 8:30pm by a BBC Hausa radio programme on the 14th of November, 2018, whose reach is worldwide you were quoted as saying that one of the reasons why you resigned your membership of the PDP was because you were not comfortable working with our client whose academic credentials were in question. Specifically, you said the following words with direct and unequivocal reference to our client which are defamatory of him:
5. “IN HAUSA”
“Akwai maganganu da suka taso wadanda suka shafi sahihancin takardu dashi dan takaranmu ya gabatar domin shiga wannan zabe na 2019 nayi tsokaci akan wannan da nufin qyara amma an sami rashin fahimta ana ganin kamar cewa akwai wata manufa bata gyara ba”
Translated in English thus:
‘‘There were talks that came up concerning the authenticity/genuiness of the documents that our candidate presented for the purpose of contesting in the 2019 general election. I raised this issue with the intention of resolving it, but there was no understanding on this. It is like there is an intention which is different from addressing the issue.”
6. The above quoted published defamatory statement, in its natural, ordinary and plain understanding; directly depicts our client as a desperate and fraudulent person who possesses or parades himself as possessing, and thereby presented questionable documents or academic credentials to contest the gubernatorial election in Kaduna State under the platform of the PDP.
7. The above quoted published defamatory statement also directly implies that our client is not eligible to contest the gubernatorial seat for Kaduna State in the 2019 general elections as a result of his questionable documents or academic credentials.
8. Suffice to state that since the publication of the defamatory statement aforesaid, our clients estimation has been lowered in the eyes of the ordinary citizens of Kaduna State in particular and globally, in that members of our client’s family, business and political friends and associates, political followers and supporters in Nigeria and abroad have been calling him to express their worries and concern over the statements.
9. The published defamatory statement has not only defamed the hard earned reputation and integrity of our client, it has also subjected him to public ridicule, scorn, opprobrium and odium, especially giving the crucial and critical time that it was made and circulated when the general elections are around the corner and our client has become more popular than ever before.
10. The published defamatory statement which is actuated by malice has tainted our client’s reputation and integrity, caused him loss of political goodwill, followers and supporters that, ordinarily, would have supported and voted for him if this defamatory statement was not published of and concerning him.
11. Our client has held public offices before now and has in the past presented the same credentials you now seek to impugn for screening both in the civil service where he worked and to INEC when he contested elections for other elective offices without blemish. For emphasis, our client was a civil servant with the Kaduna State Government where he worked until 1997 when he voluntarily retired his appointment to join politics and contest elections.
12. For the avoidance a doubt, our client has also had an impeccable record m politics in that from 1999 to 2007 he was a Member of the Kaduna State House of Assembly representing Kudan State Constituency; and from 2007 to 2015 he was a Member of the House of Representatives representing Makarfi/Kudan Federal Constituency. In 2014, he contested the Kaduna State gubernatorial seat under the platform of the APC and lost.
13. Consequent upon the above facts, the aforequoted published defamatory statement is not only false and untrue, it was made mala fide with the malicious Intention of gaining an advantage for you from your new found political affiliations and caused injury/disadvantage to our client by negatively affecting his chance of being elected as the Governor of Kaduna state in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Based on the foregoing, therefore, it is our client’s Instruction to demand from you; and we hereby so demand that, you forthwith and in any event within seven (7) clear days commencing from the date of receipt of this letter, retract the defamatory statement and publicly apologize to our client. The retraction and apology shall be published in two (2) offline national dailies, your Facebook wall and page and shall be given wide publicity In like manner as the content of the defamatory statement. In addition thereto, you shall pay N500,000,000 (Five Hundred Million Naira Only) as compensation for the injury and emotional trauma you caused to our client as a result of the published defamatory statement, given the period that It was made and being circulated.
In the event of your refusal/neglect to comply with, or make good our demands as aforestated, we have our client’s Instructions to explore all legal means available under all extant laws to ensure that these demands are met. Specifically, but without prejudice to other recourse, we shall file an action in a court of law against you for defamation of our client’s character and claim special and aggravated damages.
And, be informed that we shall give effect to our client’s instruction without serving you with any further letter or notification.
Thank you.
Yours Faithfully,
SAMUEL ATUNG, ESQ.
B.L. ALIYU, ESQ.
JAMES KANYIP, ESQ.
CC: RT.HON. ISA ASHIRU

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