Classics

CLASSICS: The life and times of Mrs. Foluke Mudashiru

Foluke-Mudashiru-Former-First-Lady-of-Lagos-passes-on-at-67

NOT a few people were taken aback by the news of the death of Mrs. Foluke Mudashiru, the wife of former Military Administrator of Lagos State, late Gbolahan Mudashiru, on Tuesday, May 28, 2013.

Mrs. Mudashiru, according to the news, died in far away Atlanta Georgia, United States of America on Monday, May 27, 2013.

She died of an undisclosed ailment which some alleged could be cancer going by her massive loss of weight few weeks before her demise.

Her late husband, Commodore Gbolahan Mudashiru, also died of cancer related ailment in a London hospital, on September 23, 2003.

If the information at ENCOMIUM Weekly’s disposal is anything to go by, Mrs. Mudashiru will be buried in a private vault in Atlanta Georgia, USA as instructed by her.  We gathered that she instructed her children to bury her wherever she died.

Mrs. Foluke Mudashiru came into conscious mind of most Nigerians, particularly Lagosians, in 2003, when her husband died and she single-handedly buried him in London, ignoring the requests of the Lagos State government to give the man a state burial being a former military administrator of the state.

Her excuse for giving her late husband what many considered unceremonious burial unbefitting of a former governor of the state, was that she did it to “forestall a breakdown of law and order”.  Officers of the Nigerian Air Force and Lagos State government were heading for a showdown, because of disagreement over the burial plans.

ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that was, however, not the case.  According to our sources, she did it to spite her late husband’s family and the young wife, Ms. Taiwo Adeyanju-Erewa, who had a son for her husband and who caused her estrangement from him for almost 15 years before he died in 2003.

ENCOMIUM Weekly further gathered that Mrs. Mudashiru refused to forgive her husband for the extra-marital affair and made life difficult for him in their 24, Harold Shodipo, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos residence. She refused him access to the family businesses which was jointly owned by the two of them but was registered in her name because of the husband’s position as a military officer and military administrator.

When all entreaties from the husband’s family and friends could not yield a change of heart from her, the husband left the family residence for her and the children.

He moved to a new house at Alexandra Street, Ikoyi, Lagos, where he lived with the new wife, Ms. Taiwo Adeyanju-Erewa.  The husband married his new wife, through native law and custom. The new wife, we gathered, is divorced and a graduate from University of Lagos, had a son for him named Gbolahan Mudashiru, Jnr.

For the last 15 years of his 58 years on earth, late Gbolahan Mudashiru, did not have anything to do with his first love and wife.  They started as school lovers.

When their first daughter, Openifolu got married at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, Ikeja, Lagos, years before his death, it took the effort of General Adeyinka Adebayo (retd) to force him to enter the church for the ceremony.

And immediately after the church service, he zoomed off in his brand new Peugeot 405 salon car, just to avoid having anything to do with his first wife.  He did not attend the wedding reception at all.

So, when he fell sick and was diagnosed of cancer, he knew his end was near.  Before he went to London for the last treatment (from which he did not return), he went to his lawyer’s chamber (late FRA Rotimi-Williams chamber) to perfect his Will and Testament.

So, when he eventually died on September 23, 2003, in a London hospital, Mrs. Mudashiru went to Chief FRA Rotimi Williams chamber, where we gathered a female lawyer in the chamber who was sympathetic to her cause, advised her to go to London to claim her husband’s corpse since she was the only woman legally married to him and that they were not legally divorced before he married the second wife.

Armed with her marriage certificate, she went to board a flight to London.  Ironically, she was in the same flight with her late husband’s trustees –Mr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Mr. Ladi Cole, Dr. Olufunmilayo Coker, Mrs. Olusola Sowemimo and Mr. A. C. Mkpanu –who were going for the same thing.

At the London hospital, Mrs. Mudashiru was not allowed to claim the corpse because the hospital management claimed they did not know her as the man’s wife. They said, the only person they knew as the man’s wife is Ms. Taiwo Adeyanju-Erewa.  Based on the advise of the female lawyer in Chief FRA Williams’ chamber in Nigeria, Mrs. Mudashiru headed for the court in London.  And because she was able to produce the marriage certificate in court, she was given the go-ahead to claim her late husband’s corpse despite the fact that they did not live together as husband and wife, 15 years before the man died.

To further spite her late husband’s family, the young wife and the trustees appointed by her late husband, she decided to bury the man right there in London with only her children and the officiating priest present at the burial.

The London controversy was the beginning of the litany of controversies and litigation that trailed Mrs. Foluke Mudashiru, for the almost 10 years that she lived after her husband’s death.

For the better part of those years, she was in and out of courts. She acknowledged this herself during her 66th birthday on February 3, 2012, in an interview with a national newspaper.  Hear her, “For the past eight years after my husband’s demise, it has been from one problem to the other.  They come together in different forms and gave me hell.  We’ve been embroiled in litigations.

“Now, I’m more regular in court than even on my farm, which is very unfortunate because farming is my passion.

“I have faith in the Lord that weeping may endure in the night but joy cometh in the morning.

“I know also that at the end of the tunnel, there will be light but it’s such a traumatic experience.”

But this was not to be.  As at the time she died on Monday, May 27, 2013, there was no light at the end of the tunnel for all her cases in the courts.  She did not win anyone of them.  She lost the case over her late husband’s Will both at the lower court and Appeal Court.  The case was still pending at the Supreme Court as at the time of her death.

The case she also had against Messrs. G. O. Cappa Plc and some of its top management staff for failure to comply with an order of the court to render account in respect of late Gbolahan Mudashiru’s property at Plot 1199, Sanusi Fafunwa Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, was still pending in the court before her demise too and so many others.

The deceased couple started their love affair from their secondary school days.  The husband was then a student at Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, while the wife was at Methodist Girls High School, also in Yaba, Lagos.  They later got married in 1968 at the young age of 23 (husband) and 22 (wife) respectively. They had between them five children –four boys and a girl.  Among the children are Mr. Tolulope Mudashiru, Mrs. Openifolu Tejuosho and Mr. Oludapo Mudashiru.

 THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, JUNE 6, 2013

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