Maureen and Sowore – a Disgrace to Journalism, By Femi Oyewale
I had always been a huge fan of your work but for some time now, a lot has changed. After seeing this statement credited to Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters and published in a rag-tag online tabloid belonging to Maureen Badejo’s GIO Tv as reported on April 3, 2021, by one Isaac Obasi coupled with the fact that I haven’t gotten over your expulsion from the ACC, I suddenly realized that the young man has lost it.
I would ordinarily have ignored this as another silly rant by a washed-out gutter journalist seeking attention and relevance from every quarter but for certain dangerous misinformation touted by him in his quoted comments I decided to respond.
I am an investigative journalist who has followed up series of Sowore’s attacks on MFM and its General Overseer Dr. D. K. Olukoya, spanning back since 2002/2003 when we read that a group of reporters gate-crashed MFM Cross-over service and without prior accreditation, walked straight towards the pulpit and started filming when Dr. Olukoya had already mounted the pulpit for the sermon of the day.
From that report, we could remember that it was the trying period of the country when terrorists were going about bombing churches. Hence, uniformed and plain-clothed security agents were detailed to guard and protect such gatherings.
It was told that in that write up that the Security personnel on duty that day perceived the advancement of unknown men with gadgets walking towards the pulpit when preaching was ongoing and moved to stop their further advancement and redirected them to the area reserved for accredited journalists. But, as we read, a certain young man amongst them took offence and this happened to be Sowore Omoleye.
It was said that he took offence because his self-conceited larger-than-life image had been insulted. And after a few days, I can still remember reading about some high polluting fiction about being detained by the Church at an alleged detention center and all manner of defamatory statements published by his media organization.
Since then, all I read about his publications about MFM and Dr. Olukoya are filth, to the extent that he claimed that Olukoya offered him money for his political campaign in one of his many YouTube videos, which is obviously a standard lie.
In 2018, I read about a fall-out between these two parties were MFM and Dr. Olukoya seemed to have been tired of tolerating Sowore’s verbal diarrhoea and commenced a libel suit against him in the High Court of Justice, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in Suit No.HU/250/2018. Upon being served with the processes, we gathered that he published further defamation and earned another Suit No. H/U312/2018 in the same judiciary.
Upon being served with processes in the second suit, he granted an interview in which, like Maureen, he lambasted the Judiciary of Akwa Ibom State and poured more filth on MFM and Dr. Olukoya thus a third Libel suit No. HU/15/2019 was filed against him.
Through our investigation, we realized that after employing the same tactics of denying service as Maureen Badejo attempted to employ in the suit under discussion, he retained the services of Barr. Inibehe Effiong, whose colleague in Uyo “happened” to be in court on the date MFM lawyers were to move a motion for judgment in default of appearance and defense.
It is said that Processes in the suits had been served on Sowore and received at the premises of the Media Hub at 13A, Isaac John Street, Ikeja GRA which also housed Sahara Reporters Media Foundation, an NGO of which he is the primary Trustee, yet Sowore, through his lawyers denied service and having any ties to that address.
We gathered, through our investigation that he removed his name and photograph as Founder & Chief Executive from the website of Media Hub and substituted it with one Lakeisha Landrum, erstwhile Vice President, Global Partnerships.
Information we got stated that, Ime Asanga Esq., Lawyer to MFM and Dr. Olukoya in those cases perceived that the issue of service was going to be used as a talisman to defeat the prompt hearing of the substantive cases on their merits, so he filed a Notice of Discontinuance in each of those cases and same were each struck out.
IN ESSENCE, MFM AND DR. OLUKOYA WITHDREW THE CASES FROM COURT NOT THAT THEY WERE DISMISSED.
It was further told to us that the withdrawal of the cases were a strategy to re-file the three cases as one mega suit AFTER DISCOVERING SOWORE’S UNDISPUTED ADDRESS IN NIGERIA.
THAT MEGA SUIT ENCOMPASSING THE CLAIMS IN THE THREE WITHDRAWN CASES WAS SAID TO HAVE BEEN FILED ON 15TH NOVEMBER 2019 AS SUIT NO. HU/349/2019.
At that period, Sowore was being incarcerated at the Department of State Services, Abuja.
it was told that the lawyer for MFM and Dr. Olukoya filed and was granted the leave of court to serve him either at the Department of State Services, Aso Drive, Abuja, or at his undisputed address at No. 1 Mosafejo Street, Kiribo, Ondo State of Nigeria being the address he supplied to the Corporate Affairs Commission when he was registering Sahara Reporters Media Foundation.
A bailiff of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State was already in Abuja to serve the processes on Sowore at D.S.S office BUT DR. Olukoya INSTRUCTED THAT SERVICE SHOULD NOT BE EFFECTED SO AS NOT TO ADD TO HIS TRAVAILS AT THAT TIME. Perhaps the matter would have ended there but now that Sowore has by his utterances awoken it, IT IS SAID THAT HE WILL SOON BE SERVED ORIGINATING PROCESSES.
We further probed this matter and realized that the case in Nigeria has no connection with the case he is facing in the United States. The entities in the United States that he defamed could not have joined in the suit in Nigeria hence the Suit in the United States.
Sowore is also quoted in the report to have said “It is so sad how poor people’s tithes and offerings are used to protect the reputation of a man who tells you to pray when your stomach is assaulted with hunger!..” well this statement is rather vague.
If you do proper investigation before releasing statements you will always get your facts rights, the facts are there for anybody who cares to confirm. Dr. Olukoya is a scientist and a prolific and accomplished author and a minister of God, with books selling worldwide.
He earns and/or receives nothing from the coffers of the Church rather he spends from his publications’ royalties on the needs of the Church; the man has his integrity and reputation to protect. I can tell you this because I have followed up on this matter from the inception of Maureen’s unfounded allegations.
In that statement published on GIOTV blog, it also red and I quote “A case in which the defendant in the case was never even served the summons and here is Punch celebrating injustice against a blogger…shame!.”
Oga Sowore you messed up big time on this one, there is video evidence of Maureen Badejo claiming she was duly served all letters and was aware of the hearings but ignored or rather treated them with levity. This you can find online and I wonder why almighty Sowore didn’t do his research.
Sowore has lavished invectives on the Judgment of the High Court of Ogun state against Maureen Badejo insinuating that Dr. Olukoya obtained it from an Ogun State Judge without due process.
Any intelligent person who lays claim to journalism ought to carry out an investigation at the registry of the Court so as to speak with knowledge and authority.
A cursory search at the High Court Registry at Abeokuta would have revealed to him that DHL posted proofs of Delivery which clearly show that Maureen Badejo personally signed for and received ALL the court processes and Hearing Notices, without exception.
The discerning public will do well to read the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division in the Suit No. CA/L/923/2013: Debola Nejo (Maureen’s mother) V. Access Bank Plc; Niracon Engineering Nigeria Ltd; Mrs. Maureen Omorinola Badejo; Engr. Niran Badejo (Maureen’s estranged husband) it is reported in Law Pavilion Electronic Law Report as (2019) LPELR-47960 particularly pages 27 and 28 of the electronic report and discover that Maureen’s attribute as an artful dodger of court proceedings has received judicial notice by the Courts.
All these are however fish wives tales. The judgment has already been registered in Queens Bench Division of the High Court in England and Maureen has been given 28 days to show cause why it should not be enforced against her. At least a window of opportunity has again been afforded her to prove that it is DHL not her who is lying on the issue of service.
Sowore also poured muck on us, journalists, when he said that Dr. Olukoya funds Nigerian newspapers to make people feel he won a case. As a man thinketh so is he. It takes only a twisted mind steeped in brown-envelope quack journalism to make such a sweeping statement because he uses his own poor standards to measure others.
Sowore, wake up and smell the coffee. You have lost every modicum of credibility and respect you may have had at the inception of your career you were once our star but not anymore.
Everyone now knows you for what you are…an egocentric, rent-seeking rabble-rouser, hungry for relevance and recognition. Nobody takes you seriously anymore, maybe the Babalawo Association of Nigeria.
Only the likes of Maureen and her minions would still describe you as “Foremost rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner” but that as well is gone! Remember the humiliation and rejection you suffered when you showed up to join the #ENDSARS campaign? That is your reality.
Sowore and Maureen Badejo are birds of a feather. They like to beat the worn-out drum, that MFM and Dr. Olukoya are running from jurisdiction to jurisdiction to commence the same case. The end of those cases will always bear out who is fooling who. MAUREEN GOT HERS, LET’S WAIT AND SEE WHAT COMES WITH YOURS