by Olufemi Atoyebi
A former wife of Rashidi Yekini, Adeola, has said that many of those who were close to the late Super Eagles star, did little to avert his death. Yekini died on Friday.
The Osogbo-based mother of Yekini’s second daughter, Mariam, was at her former husband’s burial ceremony at Ira, Kwara State, on Saturday, and wondered why Yekini’s friends allowed his health to deteriorate without raising an alarm.
She said, “We were married with a daughter but we stayed away from each other after the divorce. Despite the separation, I visited him regularly each time I came to Ibadan before his death. We had arguments but it was because of the way he was living.
“I disapproved his decision to live alone in such a big house although I was not trying to come back. He was such a gentle man but people who surrounded him were his enemies. They must have noticed changes in his life but they kept quiet. He was so generous and kind but they paid him back in a poor way.”
Asked to describe his final days especially with an unconfirmed report that Yekini was once taken to Osogbo, where she lives, for treatment, Adeola refused to confirm it, instead, she blamed the media for preying on his condition.
“I was not living with him so I cannot speak about his final days. Perhaps he would have lived longer if the media had left him in peace. Your people poked into his personal life all the time and abused his modesty. Since his death, I have had so many calls but what do they expect me to say about a dead former husband. I played my part in his rehabilitation but I was practically alone in the fight. Each time I read something negative about him, I would rush to Ibadan but I was meeting a brick wall and it was disappointing and painful.”
Adeola added that she was at an address in Lagos as she needed privacy to mourn her late former husband, adding that her daughter was alright but shocked about her father’s death.
Yekini’s lawyer and friend, Barrister Jubril Olanrewaju, said the late footballer was probably hidden from him and his doctor in the final days leading to his death. He said they last met during the Easter period at Onireke in Ibadan and that Yekini had a personal physician whom he visited regularly.
“I learnt he was taken away for two weeks before his death but I cannot confirm the circumstances that caused that or the location he was taken to. That was a big surprise and they probably took his phone from him because he was always informing me of anything that happened to him. I am sure he would have done that if he had his phone was with him during those periods. During our last meeting, we discussed normally and he showed no sign of depression or ailment, in other words, he was normal. He was driving around Onireke in Ibadan when we met.
“Since I met him, he had never spent a day in hospital. I know his doctor and he never called me to warn me of any serious health problem concerning my client.”
The lawyer frowned at Yekini’s decision to live alone, but said it was only recently that he made the choice.
“He had a brother, Tobi, who was living with him. But he lived alone till his death which was alien to our culture in Africa.”
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