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PITY

Posted by By Linus Obogo (linusobogo@yahoo.com) on 2007/05/07 | Views: 2766 |

PITY


The last may not have been heard of the late politician and business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola’s children, almost ten years after his passage.

...Quit notice haunts MKO Abiola’s son

The last may not have been heard of the late politician and business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola’s children, almost ten years after his passage.

With everybody to himself, following their father’s death in military custody in 1998, life has been a mixed bag for some of the children who have since come to terms with surviving on their own.

But with that famous line “Life’s been a little bit hard on me”, made into a household jingle by Juice Newton in the 80s, it offers a glum insight into how surviving on their own has been for some of the Abiolas, particularly Lekan.

The eldest son of late Kudirat, MKO’s second wife, Lekan who is the chief executive of Kudi Oil has been going through a sticky patch, according to a source very close to him.
With an eviction order hanging on his neck like an albatross over unpaid rent arrears spanning four years for his Kudi Oil office complex located at 70 Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, and a near quit order from his rented apartment at 16B Sule Abuka Street, it’s been a rough road for Lekan to travel.

According to Saturday Sun investigation, Lekan, since 2003 has found it increasingly difficult to pay his rents, a development that prompted lawyers from Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Belgore chambers, Leo Wallace Cochrance Junior, Jorge Wallace Simonsen Junior, Ronald Wallace Simonsen &Luis Vicente Barros Mattos Junior, landlords of the property to issue him a quit order dated Agust 2, 2006. Lekan has been tenant in the property since 2001.

The property in question was among many forfeited by Chief Emamanuel Nwude, by virtue of the judgment of the High Court, Lagos in charge No. ID/924/04, delivered on November 18, 2005.
At Lekan’s 16B Sule Abuka Street residence, where his rent is due to expire in July, 2007, Saturday Sun’s source disclosed that it was hell before he could raise the money to pay. It took him nine months to source the rent.

To highlight the chasm that has laid siege in the late businessman’s family, since his death, a scenario that has seen them pitch tents with varied political groups, Lekan was alleged to have approached the bank where his elder brother, Kola is a director for a loan facility to buy the property, which also houses a branch of Union Bank Plc when it was put up for sale by EFCC, but the loan could not pull through. And so Lekan consigned himself to remaining a tenant. Saturday Sun reliably gathered that he was actively involved in general Buhari’s electioneering and had actually facilitated the visit of the ANPP presidential candidate to the Ikeja family home of the Abiolas.

Renowned for his wealth and philanthropy, a source close to the family wondered what has gone wrong with all the goodwill MKO laboured to build during his lifetime. This ugly turn of event, he said has cast a slur on the management of the late chief’s estate.

Indeed, it is hard to believe, as a close family source expressed doubt that, any of Abiola’s children, not even after his death, would suddenly assume the status of tenant.
Even though Lekan has been allowed to stay put despite the eviction order, Saturday Sun gathered that this has been due largely to his father’s name.

With the odds stacked heavily against him, Lekan, it is understood, is prepared to head for the court in an effort to stave off his forcible ejection by lawyers managing the 70 Allen Avenue property, where his Kudi Oil office is located.

Until his death in 1998, it used to be rumoured that for every lady that carried MKO’s baby, he provided a house even before the baby was born. And how Lekan, one of the supposed beneficiaries of the late businessman’s estate suddenly regressed to being a tenant is rather difficult to comprehend. This development has left many to wonder: Could Lekan have mismanaged his share of the father’s estate? Or was he schemed out in the sharing formula? This becomes even more confusing viewed against the backdrop that Lekan is not even a regular face in the celebrity/social circuit. He is said to be very prudish and rigid – almost to the extent of being branded a religious fanatic. He even wears a beard like every Islamic cleric or scholar.

Barely scrounging, his Kudi Oil, according to the source, merely exists in name, as it has been in the doldrums even before he secured the licence.

Sometime in March, at one of the fast food joints on Allen, Lekan reportedly openly and bitterly confessed to a friend how life had gone from bad to worse for him.
With the July expiry date of his 16B Sule Abuka residence looming large, the question is, where does Lekan go from here? This is surely one question that former associates, friends and especially those who benefited from MKO’s large heartedness should ponder.

Life might not have completely crawled to a stop yet for Lekan, but then, the rich also cry.

Lekan reacts
Speaking to Saturday Sun during the week, Lekan said before the property reverted from Emmanuel Nwude to a new owner in 2005, he had paid for a space on the 7th floor of the building, but did not move in until 2003.

According to him, the delay in moving in was occasioned by the non-availability of facilities such as elevator and generating set. “In effect, I paid the rent in 2001, but only moved in 2003. Why I could not move then was because the landlord then (Nwude) had assured tenants that these facilities would be in place. Sadly, they were not fixed.”

Continuing, he said: “It would interest you to know that in addition to the rent, I also paid service charge for facilities that were never provided. So when I effectively moved in, in 2003, I expected that that was when my rent ought to have commenced. By 2005 when Nwude was convicted, he forfeited the property to a new owner, I later learnt was somebody close to President Obasanjo.”

Quit notice not because of insolvency
Lekan also countered that the quit order served him was not as a result of his insolvency. “The new owners wanted everybody out at all costs. In March this year, when I was away from the country, I learnt on my return that EFCC laid siege to the premises and locked up all the offices. They said they would only open the doors if we agree to pack, else, it would remain under lock. But two weeks ago, I spoke to lawyers to the owners and they assured me of a compensation or a period of grace, but as I speak to you (Saturday Sun), they never got back to me again.”

Lekan who said he no longer operates from the property, further disclosed: Owing to the stifling environment, my business was adversely affected, as my clients no longer find it convenient to come there for business.”

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.