Three years after his demise, the families of late Africa Football legend, Rashidi Yekini, are still locked in a fierce battle over the estate of the soccer star.
Jubril Olanrewaju Mohamed, who was the personal lawyer and close aide to Yekini while he was alive, tells PREMIUM TIMES, in this exclusive interview, how challenging it has been keeping Yekini’s estate for the rightful owners — his two daughters, Yemisi and Mariam.
The lawyer also recounts the sad death of the football star, insisting there was foul play and that justice has by no means been served.
Below are excerpts of the interview;
PT: Can you tell us a little about you?
Jubril: Jubril Olanrewaju Mohamed is my name; I was the lawyer to Late Rasheed Yekini and counsel to his estate.
PT: How has the task of keeping Yekini’s estate being for you?
Jubril: It has been a challenging time in the sense that I had to ensure that the estate he left behind is not taken away from the beneficiaries he left behind, that is his two children. They are grown up children and to ensure that they are psychologically stable has been challenging.
PT: There are talks that Yekini had more than two children. Has there been any claim from anywhere else?
Jubril: A Togolese lady came with a three-year old girl eight days after his death claiming that Yekini was the father of the child. The mother (Yekini’s mum) accepted and other members of the family. Yekini actually confessed to the relationship and one and half years after the relationship was over she came back saying she was pregnant. It even caused misunderstanding between him and his mum because he refused to accept the child but his mother accepted saying the more the merrier. We asked her to do a DNA after she came back but up till now we haven’t ascertain the authenticity of the child’s paternity.
PT: So back to Yekini’s estate, we hear all is not well as regards that
Jubril: The family called a number of times asking that the properties be sold and shared among themselves. I however told them their suggestion was unlawful, even Islamically because he had children and a mother. He (Yekini) gave his mother some property and it would be wrong of me to take it away from her. Also the rest of his property, he gave no instructions on how to do deal with it. His mansion in Ibadan is still being maintained and we have looked for an estate manager to help us look for anyone who is interested in the property to lease it because the money you would get from there would be substantial. At the moment the respective mothers are the ones taking care of their children with a little input from me. Yekini has the BQ, the five flats of three bedroom at Ijagbo, then the mansion.
Right now however, they (the children) get nothing from the estate as we are still waiting on the lease of the mansion since the mother takes all the proceeds from the other properties. The family members feel they are entitled to whatever comes from the leasing but I have said no, that these two children are basically and primary beneficiary of that estate. They can meet their mother for part of what she is getting from Ijagbo’s property which is massive but as for this one, no way.
My jurisdiction is limited to this one mansion because I do not want to stop what Yekini did not stop in his life time. The property would naturally revert back to Yekini’s estate after her demise and according to our traditions, no elderly person wants to be left behind while their child or grandchild dies, so the rent that accrues after her demise becomes that of Yekini’s children.
PT: You have fingered foul play in the death of Yekini, do you still maintain such stance?
Jubril: I maintain that stance because of the circumstances surrounding his death. He did not die naturally and I asked some questions on the circumstances leading to his death and they have not been able to provide me with answers. According to the report of his late younger sister who died shortly after he died and was the mastermind of his abduction, she said that morning of May 4, she said they gave him tea because he was tied down because they felt he would escape if they did not tie him down. She said Yekini begged to be released to see me and that he was being smoldered where he was. It was after he took a cup of tea which he requested for, he became restless and started gasping for breath. That was when they took him to a nearby hospital Al-Amin Hospital in Apete, in Ibadan.
According to the doctor who attended to him, Yekini was virtually dead when he was brought in because the pulse was actually very feeble before he could do anything the man was gone. So I wanted to see those guys who took him away and ask them what his treatment plan was because you can’t die in such circumstances and it would not raise suspicion. By the laws in Lagos state, there would have been an inquest into his death; the coroner should have been brought in to verify the cause of his death. That was what I was asking for. The family members might have had genuine reasons for doing what they did and I was not out to persecute them. I just wanted to know the cause of Yekini’s death. Just like what happened to Michael Jackson, there was an inquest. If it were a nobody now, we could just overlook such things but a whole Rasheed Yekini was taken to the native doctor forcefully and he died there and we did not know the cause of his death.
PT: Do you think you could have done more to avert Yekini’s death?
Jubril: Yes, I wish I did more to keep him safe. I thought the police order was good enough but may be stationing a policeman would have been better. I was disappointed that the police failed to make any arrest and ended up calling it a family affair and saying no one had come to declare their grievances. I asked them if there was a corpse lying in the street would they leave it there because no one came to report? They however were waiting for me to write a petition and I did not do that because I expected the police to bring up the coroner law and find out the cause of death of a man who was kidnapped from his house and later found dead despite an order restraining some people.
PT: Finally how are Yekini’s children faring?
Jubril : Yemisi is close to 20 and the other is 15. The 20-year-old is studying at the University of Leicester where she is studying performing arts. The second one is in Osogbo. She will be writing her final year exams soon.