Japheth Omojuwa, a prominent blogger and social media influencer, has insisted that he got the consent of Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of education, to list her as a director of his company, Alpha Reach.
Omojuwa said this in a letter written on his behalf by his lawyer, Boonyameen Lawal of Babalakin & Co. Legal Practitioners, in reply to a letter written by Ezekwesili’s lawyer, Marshal Abubakar, of Falana and Falana Chambers, over a claim of alleged impersonation.
The letter comes after Ezekwesili had threatened to institute legal action against Omojuwa following the emergence of a report by Buzzfeed, an American online news medium, which said she was listed as a director in Alpha Reach, a public relations company owned by Omojuwa, which is currently embroiled in a Twitter PR scandal for the release of an alleged fraudster, Alex Saab, a Colombian.
According to the American publication, two employees of Alpha Reach allegedly enlisted several Nigerian Twitter influencers to run a campaign on the platform for the release of Saab, who has been declared wanted in the United States and is facing extradition charges in Cape Verde.
Following the emergence of the documents linking her to Alpha Reach, Ezekwesili in her letter dated 9 April insisted that she was not a director of the company, saying she never gave her permission for her name or signature to be appended in the registration documents.
The former minister demanded that Omojuwa must issue an apology to her and a public statement for listing her as a director of his company without her approval.
But responding via a letter dated 14 April, and written by his lawyer, Omojuwa maintained that he got consent from both Ezekwesili and Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, before listing them as directors in his company.
The blogger also stated that he had a close relationship with the former minister, to the extent that on two different occasions, she made uncomplimentary comments about some prominent persons in government privately to him.
The letter read: “Our client sought and obtained your client’s consent before listing her as a Director of the company, based on their close relationship, which you curiously omitted to mention in your letter.
“Both Mallam El-Rufai and your client were listed as Directors of Alpha Reach Company Limited when it was registered in 2012, with their full consent. Likewise, our client recalls being seated at the suite of a respected man of God at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, trusting your client with some very personal and painful stories. At a point in our client’s life, your client was his most trusted person and confidant. Some people can attest to this fact, and they will, at the appropriate time and forum.”
Omojuwa explained that both El-Rufai and Ezekwesili were removed as directors of Alpha Reach Company in 2015 when it became certain that El-Rufai would emerge Governor of Kaduna State and Ezekwesili could be appointed a minister by the then president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.
The letter read: “Clearly, your client is a successful public figure with whom our client had a close relationship. It is reasonable that our client wanted to leverage her reputation to advance the company he promoted. It was not until 2015 when it was certain that HE Mallam El-Rufai was going to become the Governor of Kaduna State and the likelihood that your client could be appointed a Minister by the then President-elect Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, that they both were removed as Directors of the company.
“You might recall that your client honoured the ruling party’s invitation to deliver a keynote speech at a public forum in Abuja in 2014, and there was a general expectation that she would play a role in President Buhari’s government. Indeed, your client leaned on our client to publish and distribute her speech at the APC forum.”
The blogger described Ezekwesili as a benefactor who “took him under her wings and even assisted in paying part of his rent in Abuja in 2012”.
He, however, claimed that his relationship with the ex-minister deteriorated because he is no longer the “impressionable boy” who can be controlled to fight social media wars by proxy.
On Ezekwesili’s request for full disclosure of documents submitted at the Corporate Affairs Commission in the course of registering Alpha Reach, Omojuwa said such will only be made available upon a written undertaking.
“In your letter, you requested full disclosure of documents. Our client is very much willing to disclose documents relating to the period between September 2012 and April 2015, when your client was a Director of the company.
“However, given how your client and her family shared the letter under reference on social media (in clear demonstration of bad faith) after our client had already acknowledged receiving it, your client and her family could not be trusted not to disclose the company’s sensitive corporate information if it is made available to her. Our client would only make those documents available to your client upon a written undertaking that the documents would be treated with utmost confidentiality,” the letter read.