The Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Okikiola Akiolu, has dismissed a THISDAY report that his alleged public snubbing of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, some weeks ago was connected to a past business encounter between both of them.
A letter by his solicitors, Okupe and Co, and signed by Alaba Okupe, described the report as libelous. It said, â€œIt is sad to note that you did not bother to ascertain the true facts about the said article for your enlightenment and to aid your pursuit of due diligence in carrying out investigative journalism as your profession enjoins you to do.â€
In dismissing the report, the letter said, â€œOur client never had any problem with the emergence of the Ooni nor did he jeopardise or attempt to jeopardise any project associated with the Ooni.â€
With the attachment of a certified true copy of an order by an Ikeja High Court, dated April 12, 2017 in respect of a suit between the Baale-elect of Ajah, Alhaji M.A Ojupon, and Chief Fatai Lawal Abiodun Olumegbon Ajinwon III, the Olumegbon of Lagos, it said, â€œYou could easily observe on perusing the said court order that our client, His Royal Majesty, Alaiyeluwa Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu 1, is not a party to this highly complex court proceedings which led to the said court order.
The letter further stated: â€œThe â€˜hot sensationâ€™ you wanted to create and dwell upon by falsely and maliciously publishing the said article with a view to increasing the sales of â€˜THISDAY, the Sunday Newspapersâ€™ and thereby making a lot of money for your employers did not allow you to exercise a little bit of patience to be diligent enough to seek an interview with our client, who by his status in the society has his public relations officers.
â€œInstead, you chose to hurriedly publish the said article and rely on the usual â€˜lazyâ€™ journalistsâ€™ clichÃ©: â€˜Efforts by THISDAY last night to get the palace of the Oba of Lagos to react to the allegation were futileâ€™. There was no need to rush to publish the said article but for your desire to create and dwell upon a â€˜hot and sensational articleâ€™ as stated above.â€
It further stated that as a successful businessman/the Oba of Lagos and a person, who occupies such a prominent position in the Nigerian society, the report constitutes a very grave reflection on his integrity and also a most serious and damaging libel on him as the Oba of Lagos.
â€œOur client has no objection to fair and honest criticism, but he is not prepared to remain indifferent to such libelous allegations on his personal character as you have made. These allegations are very serious and quite unfounded in every material particular,â€ the letter maintained, demanding an apology and a retraction of the said report.
In our edition of April 30, 2017, we published a report titled: â€œDetails Emerge on Why Oba Akiolu â€˜Snubbedâ€™ Ooni in Publicâ€. We hereby withdraw the report and apologise for whatever embarrassment it may have caused His Royal Highness, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, whom we hold in high esteem.