Former Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO) of defunct Diamond Bank, Dr. Alex Otti has filed a N50 million suit against the Commissioner for Information, Abia State, Chief Eze Chikamnayo and the Publisher of Abia Pulse News Online, Mr. Ugochukwu Nwankwo over alleged defamation.
The Suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Otti is seeking the reliefs which those asking the Commissioner and the publisher to publish an apology to him in two national newspapers as well as pay him N50 million damages.
“ An Order of the Honorable Court compelling the Defendants to publish an apology to the Claimant in a full page of The Guardian Newspaper and This Day Newspaper retracting the defamatory statements contained in the article titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense.
“An Order of the Honorable Court compelling the Defendants to publish an apology to the Claimant on the Abia Pulse News Online website – www.abiapulse.com, retracting the defamatory statements contained in the article titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense” and accord the apology the same level of prominence as the article titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense.
An Order of the Court compelling the Defendants jointly and severally to pay general damages of N50m for damage done to the reputation of the
Claimant by the publication of the false, malicious and defamatory statements contained in the article titled “Enough of Otti’s Nonsense”.
Otti in a statement by his Media Aide, Ferdinand Ekeoma, stated that the publication is not only false in its entirety, but also malicious as it intended to malign, ridicule and reduce his estimation in the minds of right thinking members of the public.
“I have worked assiduously all my life to reach the eminent status which I attained nationally and globally, and, is asking the Court for a retraction of the publication and an apology by the Defendants, in addition to exemplary damages, to mitigate the damage done to my reputation by the said publication.”
Ekeoma added that Otti is a respected first class economist, writer and a leading political figure and opposition voice in Abia,
According to Ekeoma, “He is also an accomplished banker who got to the pinnacle of his profession when he became the GMD/CEO of the defunct Diamond Bank, after serving for two tenure as an Executive Director in First Bank. He was once appointed Chairman Committee of Bank CEOs in Nigeria by the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria. He also Chaired Banker’s Committee Economic Development, Sustainability & Gender Subcommittee for two years. He set an unprecedented record as the GMD/CEO of Diamond, and had a sterling performance that made the CBN list the bank as one of the 8 Systemically Important Banks (SIBs) in Nigeria.
Before Otti took over as GMD/CEO of the bank in 2011, the bank had posted a loss of N11.214b in 2010 and another loss after tax of N13.940b in 2011. However, after Otti took over in 2011 and in his first full year of 2012 the bank posted a profit after tax of N22.108b, N32.5b in 2013 and N28.36 when he handed over in 2014. The bank also saw its total assets rise from N564.9b in February 2011 to N1.18 trillion by December 31, 2012 and N1.52 trillion in 2013.
“Otti doubled the full staff count from around 2,000 to over 4,000 in 2014. He expanded the bank’s branch network from 210 branches in 2011 to over 265 branches three years later. Under his watch also, the bank established an international subsidiary in the United Kingdom, in addition to expansion in Francophone West Africa (Senegal, Togo, and Ivory Coast).
“Thrilled by his outstanding performance that drew national accolades, the Board and management of the bank literally mourned Otti’s voluntary retirement and described Otti’s tenure as the brightest and most glorious in the history of the bank.
When he left the banking Industry, he contested the governorship election in Abia which he overwhelmly won but was stolen by the ruling party in the state. He retrieved his mandate at the court of appeal but was reversed by the Supreme Court. He re-contested in 2019 but lost amidst irregularities. He joined APC in 2020.”