The chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Enugu State, Barr Ugochukwu Agballah has come down hard on the former publicity secretary of the party in the state, Mr. Charles Solo Ako.
Agballah has given Ako 48 hours ultimatum to retract, apologise and pay him the sum of N2 billion being damages for a defamatory publication he made in the media.
In a letter to Charles Solo-Ako, by Agballah’s solicitor, Vincent Chieyine, Esq., dated March 30, 2023, and sighted by journalists in Enugu, weekend, the state chairman of APC accused the former publicity secretary of maliciously publishing so many defamatory statements against him.
He stated that the former publicity secretary accused him, Agballah, of “converting the All Progressives Congress party into a private company-like status, embezzlement of party funds, exclusion and sidelining of the State Executive Committee (SEC), State Working Committee (SWC) and members of the party in the running of the affairs of the party”.
The letter also alleged that the former publicity secretary falsely published that Agballah “diverted funds meant for the delegates of the APC for the presidential primary election and the money provided by the party for the 2023 general elections,” among other allegations.
Chieyine wrote, “For the avoidance of doubt, our client neither received the alleged sums nor misappropriated nor embezzled the above stated funds as alleged in your publication or otherwise.
“Your publication is a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image and reputation of our client and blackmail him before the All Progressives Congress (APC), its leadership, members of the party and the general public.
“It is quite evident that your defamatory publication was as a result of your removal from the office of Publicity Secretary of the party (which you had been illegally assuming and usurping for long) by the State Working Committee and ratification of same by the State Executive Committee on the 28th of March, 2023.”
Agballah further alleged through his lawyer that Ako’s false publication was no doubt maliciously done to divert attention from his obvious misdeeds in the party.
Agballah said that Ako ought to have known before his removal as member of SWC that all the money used in the campaign and running of the party in the state, were provided by Chief Uche Nnaji, the Governorship Candidate, and same disbursed directly to the wards and local governments, and never through the state executive.
He made it clear that the campaign was over and he would no longer tolerate any malicious publication against his hard earned reputation.
The state chairman of APC demanded “Ako’s immediate retraction of his publication made on 29th and 30th March 2023, asserting its falsity, publication of full page apology to the chairman, vetted by his client’s firm and published in five online media outfits and three National Dailies; and payment of Two Billion Naira (N2b) damages for defamation of character.”
“Note that you are required to fully comply with this demand letter within 48 hours from the date herein; otherwise, our client shall have no option than to explore all legal avenues available to him for the protection of his reputation and image,” the letter stated.
Meanwhile, the state Treasurer of the party, Mr. Jude Aniogbo has reacted to the allegation against the state chairman, Agballah, by the ex-publicity secretary, Ako, describing the allegations as unfounded.
In a statement, Aniogbo queried, “One may ask, which election money was embezzled by Ugo Agballah? We were shocked when the ugly, unfounded and baseless allegations were circulated all over the social media news because not even a dime came to the party in the state or to the chairman, Ugochukwu Agballah.
“It is quite unfortunate that such false allegations were being peddled by a member of APC who ought to know and who knew the truth but is being used by sinister forces to destabilise the party.
“In addition, as the State Treasurer of Enugu State APC, l am in the rightful position to give a detailed account on the financial inflows and outflows of the party because I am a co-signatory to our party’s account. Above all, one need not be a prophet to tell him or her that the country is operating e- economy banking, which mandates every disbursement to succumb to the rules guiding e-banking.
“For the purpose of record keeping, no election money was given to the state chairman in cash or sent to the state account or any private account. I do receive alerts for any kobo that enters or leaves the state account.
“There exists pure separation of powers and responsibilities in the SWC in APC Enugu state.
“More importantly, l want to state categorically that Chief Uche Nnaji unilaterally sponsored both national and state elections in this state.
“The money Chief Uche Nnaji brought for the elections was sent to various wards for effective and efficient utilisation. Yes, we developed a template that authorises the money to the hand of a ward co-ordinator who then did the needful at ward level,” he said.