Ekiti family members in fracas over reburial of father’s corpse
Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
The family of Olowofela in Igbara-Odo Ekiti, Ekiti Southwest local government area of the State, was engulfed in an outcry and thrown into a frenzy over an alleged attempt by a senior member of the family, Segun Olowofela, to exhume the corpse of his late father for ritual.
The alledged attempt, foiled by members of the family, divided the family as it is now enmeshed in a serious conflict.
Olowofela family of Igbara-Odo, is reportedly the largest family in the community with eight wives and 28 children.
According to an impeccable source close to the family, Segun Olowofela, a United States of America-based herbalist, is one of the sons of the late Pa Reuben Olowofela, who died 20 years ago.
Trouble started on the fateful day when the 78-year-old American returnee mobilised some boys in the town to assist him in exhuming the body of his father who was buried in the church’s cemetery, without informing his brothers and sisters, including other notable members of the family.
He was also said to have made frantic efforts and dug a new grave in a special location within the community where he wanted to secretly bury the corpse of his father without the consent of other members of the family.
Other family members that got wind of the information quickly made necessary arrangements to stop the secret move by the American returnee. They were said to have obstructed the move and invited others who were not living in the town.
The move which caught the attention of residents of the town became a topic for gossip both at motor parks and in other public places in the town.
Some residents of the town who spoke with The Hope described the move as suspicious.
A 54-year-old secondary school teacher in the town, who is also a member of the family but doesn’t want his name in print, said Segun Olowofela who traveled to the United States of America shortly after the death of his father 20 years ago, returned home to exhume the corpse of his father without informing other members of the family.
The secondary school teacher also wondered what could have prompted him to return from America, just to singlehandedly exhume the corpse of his late father who was buried over 20 years ago, purportedly to move it to another location.
“Though the late Pa Reuben Adebayo Olowofela was the “Baba Egbe” of a popular Anglican Church in the town while he was alive, he had about eight wives and 28 children, including the American returnee.
Speaking on the matter, Mr Kolawole Olowofela, one of the children, said he was not in the town but was informed on phone by one of the children and had to travel back home to stop his brother’s suspicious act.
He explained that the family members had been at loggerheads for some days over the attitude of the American returnee, adding that the family was totally against his attitude. He noted that apart from being a taboo according to the culture of the town, the family equally kicked against the move.
He explained that none of the children was aware of the relocation of the corpse of their late father who had died 20 years ago and explained that their brother who secretly returned from America had lost touch with every member of the family since he left home.
When asked if the relocation of the corpse by his brother was for ritual purpose, Kolawole Olowofela said that the action of his brother was suspicious, not only to him but to other children and members of the family.
He called on the government of Ekiti State, security agencies, traditional ruler of the town to come to their aid and stop their brother from having his way.
Other children of the late Olowofela, including Tunji Olowofela, Gbenga Olowofela and Kayode Olowofela, said the American returnee was fully part of the move to bury their father within the church premises, only to come back 20 years later and exhumed the corpse, planning to relocate it elsewhere.
The trio accused him of having an ulterior motive in exhuming their father’s corpse.
On whether the matter was reported to the police, the trio said the family had reported the matter to the divisional police station in the town.
In an interview with The Hope, traditional ruler of the town, Oba Edward Jayeola, the Arajaka of Igbara-Odo Ekiti, said the action of the American returnee negates social and moral principles. Hence, he urged him to rescind his decision and reconcile with his siblings.
Oba Edward Jayeola described the late Pa Reuben Olowofela as a good Christian and prominent indigene of the town while alive, explaining that his impact in the town cannot be quantified.
The monarch lamented that his corpse was being humiliated by the children several years after his death, calling on the children to embrace peace and allow the late ‘Baba Egbe’ to rest after death.
When contacted, the Divisional Police Office (DPO) in the town who does not want his name mentioned, because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the matter was reported at the station by some members of the family.
He said as part of the investigation by his men, the police had visited the cemetery located within the premises of an Anglican Church in the town. The police boss said invitation had equally been extended to the American returnee, but he had since disappeared from the community.