6 August 2007

Nigeria: MKO Abiola's Will - 25 Children Fail DNA Test

Lagos — Chief MKO Abiola was generally believed to have had a very healthy appetite. Like a true wealthy African that he was, the number of his wives was uncountable just as the number of children.

He was also a philanthropist and a man of many parts for which many courted him with their daughters and acquaintances.

Now, nine years after his death in controversial circumstances, the results of DNA tests to identify his real children have emerged.

According to the results, of the 113 children who claimed the late politician fathered them, 25 failed the test, 15 were not qualified to benefit from his estate and two were disowned outright by him.

The results were made available by the United Kingdom-based Timothy Daniel, the administrator of the late Abiola's estate.

Twenty-one others, including two of the late Kudirat Abiola's seven children, namely Moriam and Khafila, were yet to undergo the DNA testing by last night. Among them are also three children by Modupe Abiola (nee Onitiri).

Kudirat, Abiola's second wife, was killed in 1996 by the late Abacha military junta at the height of her struggle for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 election.

Abiola himself died in incarceration on July 8, 1998 after drinking tea during a visit by some American officials.

The results also showed that 37 children who claimed the late politician's paternity passed the DNA test.

Six other children comprising the five the late politician had by his first wife Simbiat namely Kola, Deji, Agbo, Bolaji and Wura as well as Adunola born by Sekinat Shade, were exempted from test. They were described as qualifying children specifically identified in the will.

Under the late Abiola's will dated October 25, 1989, those claiming to be his children were required to prove paternity as one of the conditions to qualify as beneficiaries of his estate. This was done by DNA testing.

Seven other children passed the DNA test but would not benefit from the will. They included three by Olateju O. namely Abdul Wakeel, Abdul Azeez and Rufaida; Raliat Kofoworola by Hannah Bosede; Kolojo Suleiman by Adebisi Oluwatoyin; Layi by Basirat Baiyewumi, and Ameen by Tokunbo Abiola.

Among the 37 qualifying children who passed the DNA test are the late Kudirat's remaining five namely Hafsat, Olalekan, Al-hadi, Abdul Mumini and Jamiu Abiodun and the five by the present matriarch of the Abiola family, Moriamo Adebisi.

They are Aminat, Zainab, Waliyat, Saudat and Olatundun Hauwa.

Others who passed the test included Saratu, Abiola's daughter by Idiat Olabisi and the only daughter of Doyinsola Abiola for the late politician named Doyinsola Hamidah after her mum.

On the list of those who passed the test were also five children of Dele Abiola, four by Gloria Bosede Abiola, four by Sitirat Folashade (nee Biobaku), two by Iyabode Yebovi, two by Sikarat Bolatito Adeyinka, two by Olive Ngaba and another two each by Mary Omotayo and Hadizat (nee Omolori).

Of the 15 children that did not qualify to benefit from Abiola's estate under the terms of the will, three mothers are unknown to the administrators while five were believed to have been born by one Remy Abiola.

Mothers of another three children of the 25 who failed the DNA test are also not known to the administrators.

The two children disowned by Abiola and specifically identified in the will were born by Sekinat Folashade.

The will administrators said all 21 children yet to undergo the DNA test and any further children who believe that they may be entitled to the politician', estate should contact them (administrators) in either UK or Nigeria "as a matter of urgency to arrange for DNA test to be carried out."

All claims are expected to be received by the administrators on or before October 1, 2007.

The contact details of the administrators in UK and Nigeria are Mr. Timothy Daniel, Kender Freeman, One Fetter Lane, London, EC4A IJB United Kingdom and Mr. Lateef Kola Abiola, P.O.Box 7700, Lagos, Nigeria, 7, Moshood Abiola Crescent, Ikeja, Lagos.

The late Abiola was believed to have won the June 12 election.

Following the annulment of that election by the General Ibrahim Babangida military regime, Abiola who initially went into hiding later appeared to declare himself president at Epetedo, Lagos.

He was arrested by the Abacha regime and clamped into detention.

Meanwhile, the agitation against the deannulment had forced Babangida out of power and in no time, a lame duck Interim National Government headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan put in place by Babangida was toppled by Abacha.

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