Barely a year after legendary Nigerian footballer and striker, Rasheed Yekini, passed on to the great beyond, there is a fresh controversy brewing in his family circles. And the issue is nothing other than the fact that a love child, hitherto unknown to the late player’s family and friends, has surfaced.
E24-7 magazine’s Biodun Kupoluyi spoke to Rasheed’s lawyer, Jubril Olanrewaju and daughter, Omoyemi, and here is what they had to say:
There were reports shortly before and after Rasheed Yekini’s death that he was under a spell, troubled mentally?
No he wasn’t. He had always been living his life the way he wanted it. Right from when he was young, he had always been an introvert and a quite person. Even when he was playing for the national team, many of his mates then knew him; after the training, he would pack all his belongings and leave for his hotel room. He was not the type that played around all the time.
So you agree he was a recluse, so to say?
He was just the type that used to keep to himself. He didn’t disturb people; likewise, he didn’t want people to disturb him.
Are you sure he wasn’t suffering from any psychological problem?
Well, there were some developments around him; some that had to do with the National team, which made him to completely withdraw from the team and most of his colleagues, and that’s why he turned down most of the invitations that were extended to him, because he said he was disappointed in some of those people.
What exactly was the cause of the disappointment?
He was basically not happy with what they were doing there. He didn’t complain about anything except football. His passion for football was uncompromised; even if he was playing football with a five year old child, he could quarrel with the baby especially if the baby did not play well.
I learnt a love child is in the picture now, how do you intend to resolve the problem?
I have advised the lady who made the claim that she has a love child for him, when we had the Fidau prayer for him, that if truly she believed Rasheed Yekini is responsible for the pregnancy, she should go for a DNA test and that I will accept whatever result, provided that it is confirmed that he is the true father of the child.
How old is the child?
As at last year, it was claimed she was three years old.
When did the mother inform you?
Rasheed told me about four years ago, that a lady claimed she was pregnant for him. He told me he had a relationship with her, but they parted ways later on, but that the lady came back to him a year and two months after to tell him she’s carrying his baby and then the pregnancy was like eight months old then. He said he asked the lady how that could be possible and he sent her away but the lady went to Rasheed’s mother to complain and the mother called him to know his part of the story, but what Rasheed told her (mother) was that as long as the mother keeps the lady and pregnancy, she won’t see him again, and he kept to his promise. That’s one of the reasons he decided not to see his mother before he died.
Did you get his consent before you wrote the book ‘Rasheed Yekini’?
I didn’t need his consent because I would be doing a great disservice to him if I did not put this one up. He never wanted to tell the story, but I owe him the duty to tell the story. He reposed so much trust and confidence in me; he was relating so many things to me and he did not need to tell me that he wanted the story to be told after him. I came to realize the reasons he was doing that, probably because he wanted people to know more about him when he is gone; why he chose to live that way.
How many wives did he have?
He had two wives and two children.
So the one that came up now can be said to be the third child?
I won’t accept that because he disowned the lady’s pregnancy and baby before she was born, so now that he’s dead, I can’t just reclaim what he disowned, but if the DNA comes out and we are all convinced, who am I to deny it? It’s a legal issue and so we’ll do the right thing.
What about the first legal child?
She is based in the UK; she schools there. Her name is Rasheedat Yemisi Yekini and she will be coming to Nigeria for the one year remembrance of her late dad.
How many pages is the book?
I can’t tell for now, because most firms and corporate bodies will still want to place their adverts in it. The pages for now are unknown. But all the texts are ready.
Who is now occupying his house in Ibadan?
Nobody. The place is empty because before he died, there was no tenant living with him. He ejected the only tenant he had then because he wasn’t pleased with his ways.
What was his grouse, weren’t they taking proper care of the house?
Not even that; the various kinds of people they were bringing to the house were suspicious people. He said some of them were smugglers, and that they sometimes brought in smuggled cars. So he didn’t want anything or anybody that will implicate him in crime. He valued his name so much and he didn’t want anything that will tarnish the name.
Did he write a will before he died?
I will like to keep that to myself for now; everything will be revealed in the book, so I don’t want to expose it all yet.
Did he make provisions for his parents, because we heard they were not in good terms before he died?
Well, everything is about his children. You know he had done more than enough for his family before he died, and he believed that what he did for them was enough to take care of the family.
That means the notion about him that he was mentally retarded before he died was not true for him to have made such a will?
I didn’t say he made a will. I only said he made provisions and provisions can be verbal or structured in form of a will, but that’s not categorical. However, I can assure you that he tried to take care and protect his children and that was why he introduced them to me and made it known that whatever was required of him, they should go through me.
Did the mother or family tell you why they had to let him go through all those situations?
No, but they thought he wasn’t well and wanted to assist him. And they went about the whole thing in a wrong way, especially when the Commissioner of Police told them that they should leave him alone, but they went ahead.
So what is the position of the Law, are you pressing charges?
We will definitely take necessary steps; it’s just that we are being careful because of the personalities involved. The mother, immediate sister, brother, and if every one of them goes down, that means the end of Rasheed Yekini, and then we need to protect his children so that in future there would be no bad reference to them about the past happenings in the family. But we will definitely do one or two things, especially the people that claimed to be treating him; what sort of treatment were they giving him, and what did they give him to eat that made him shout from his sleep and start gasping and shouting for help before he died in their hands.
He died in their hands?
Yes, though I was told he was rushed to a clinic where he was confirmed dead. Those people should be able to explain what really happened to him. Look at the case of Michael Jackson, nobody was held but it was the doctor that told the world what happened to him. So a person of Rasheed’s calibre can’t just die like that. Even if anything happened to him, he shouldn’t have been taken to such a place for treatment. If not that they had something to hide, at least they should have invited me or his wife.
Do you feel threatened?
No. If I am afraid, I won’t be granting this interview. If I am afraid, I would have washed my hands off a long time ago, but because I owe him that duty and because I promised him and vowed before God, that I will protect his interest in life and death, I will not relent.