March 31, 2023

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Okunnowo Family’s Crisis Gets Messier

3 min read

There seems not to be an end in sight to the crisis rocking the family of Chief Emmanuel Okusanya Okunnowo, about 25 years after his death. Recent information reaching Global News revealed that despite entreaties made to Chief Funlola Chris Okunnowo (Bobasuwa of Ijebu Land), Remi Okunnowo, Kemi Shonibare and Bukky, four of the children of the late Ijebu high chief who are of the same mother and who have been philandering the wealth of their late father to the detriment of the remaining 21 children, they seem hell bent on not giving peace a chance.

The sorry detail of the family feud came to the fore recently at the Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Oluyemi where the brothers and sisters openly exposed, to the chagrin of all, that the house of the Baba Oni Damask is divided. The case which was brought before the court by Chief Folahanmi Okunnowo against the earlier mentioned four is that they should allow the family to choose new administrators that will be managing the multi-billion estate of their father and that they should give account of how they have been spending the money realized since the death of their father as stated in his will.

Sometime last year, we broke the news of the crisis engulfing the family, as other children of the late high chief are not happy with the way children of a mother in the polygamous house are holding other members of the family to ransom.

In the story, the Chief Chris Okunnowo, the Bobasuwa of Ijebu was, said to have colluded with his siblings to harness the proceed of the investment that was meant for the whole family to the use of only children from his mother’s side. He was accused of using the opportunity that he worked with their father in his lifetime to deprive others of their share of the property as stated in his will.

He was said to have decided to involve his maternal siblings when it became obvious he could not control the investment without them and this was the reason he incorporated his elder brother Remi who had at a time dragged him to Police Force CID at Panti, for forging his signature to bestow on himself the sole signatory to their father’s account and his sister Kemi, who had at a time cursed him that he will rot in jail for the way he’s managing their father’s property.

The latest court action, we learnt, became necessary after the four had defied all sorts of mediation over the issue. Chris, we were informed, has never appeared in court or obeyed any court order, even when there’s a court injunction that he should make available the statement of their father’s account.

The Bobasuwa was also accused of undermining the power of the Awujale who he reported the situation of things in his family to as a chief in the king’s cabinet. The paramount ruler was said to have sent for other members of the family for a reconciliatory meeting, those in the meeting revealed that the Awujale was frank with him and asked him to immediately follow the will of their late father who in his lifetime was a high chief of the town, but instead of obeying the king he did the opposite.

Another peace meeting called by a family friend who is a retired justice of the Supreme Court, where they all agreed with him that the current set people holding sway as trustees to the father’s estate be changed with the new set chosen was also rejected by him few days after he had initially agreed to it all. His refusal to all peace moves we learnt forced Chief Folahan Okunnowo to charge him and his three other siblings who are working together to court.

In the case which was argued at the Lagos High Court, the lawyers representing Kemi Shonibare and Bukky claimed that the case is in another court and that the new process is abuse of court process. Though Chief Folahan’s team agreed that the case was initially filed in a court but that it was filed without supporting affidavits and that all attempt to withdraw the case for it to be refiled were rebuffed and that necessitated the instituting of the new process. The judgment on whether the court can listen to the case was adjourned to a later date.

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