Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wills, Widow Inheritance and Remarriage - A Male POV

Here is one man’s - Hon Sola Adeyeye - efforts to protect and provide for his wife in the case of death. May wise and loving husbands/bachelors take note and do likewise. 

"I pray to die in my 70s. I will like to die after age 76 but before my 78th birthday. If I do not, I won't kill myself o! I suspect my wife will live to her 90s. Her paternal and maternal family trees are blessed with longevity.
So, I have decided to make my provisions for her when I am gone. If she chooses to marry again, it is her right to do so. If she dies before me, and I live long enough and meet another woman I like, I would remarry. Men do this typically. Why should that be a big deal for a woman to do the same? The agreement between us stipulated "until death do us part!".

I have always carried lots of life insurance to ensure that my family does not suffer upon my death. When my children were young, they were all allocated equal proportion of inheritance from my insurance. Now my children are adults and doing very well on their own. My children started work earning more than I earned at the end of a distinguished career. They can and should take care of themselves. My priority now is the care of my wife in her old age.

For years, my father put enormous pressure on me to build a house in my home-town. He got my friends and maternal relatives to constantly nag me about building a house. When he succeeded in getting Chief Bola Ige to join their chorus, I succumbed. Even so, I insisted that I would build the house on one condition! I insisted that all my father's children, six other relatives of my dad, six relatives of my mum, six relatives of my wife, and six friends of mine must be present at a ceremony of laying the foundation of the house. My dad agreed most enthusiastically.

I traveled home in August 1993 for the said ceremony. My relatives were decked in fine clothes that left me wondering what the fuss was about while I wore my Tai Solarin fisherman hat along with my customary t-shirt and shorts. Just as the opening prayer was to be offered, I raised my hand and interjected with a question.

I asked everyone present if they knew what we had all come to do. An aunt answered that we had come to lay the foundation for my house. I corrected her that, the house to be built was not my house but my wife's! Even at that, I argued that since I was not a brick layer or mason, it would have been very foolish and wasteful for me to come all the way from America to lay the foundation of any house.

A sibling opined that we had to come to pray. I countermanded that God did not need me to come to Ora that day just to pray. He would have answered my prayer no matter where I was on the planet. I then went on to tell them that I had summoned all of them so they could all be my witness as to the ownership of the house whose foundation was about to be laid!

“I stated that the house belonged to my wife whether I am alive or dead. I asserted that if my wife should die before me, the ownership would transfer to me. If I should die before she does, the full ownership UNCONDITIONALLY remains with her. I went further to say that if my wife chooses to marry another man after my death, she still retains full ownership of the house!”

I then turned to everyone present and asked if there was any objection to what I had said so that I might terminate the project there and then! Nobody objected. Everything was recorded on audio and video tape. The house was built. It belongs to my wife.

My current will has the house transferring to be my foundation upon the death of my wife and myself. The foundation is to maintain and use the house for freely housing NYSC corps posted to Ora-Igbomina.

“Each of us has to decide how to handle whatever is stipulated by the laws of his/her religion.”

We need to know that most of the laws we inherited in 1960 under the British common law still hold in Nigeria. Indeed, until revised or rescinded either by a legislature or military decree/edict, every such law still holds.

During my tenure in the House of Reps, Hon. Abike Dabiri and I sponsored a bill to protect the rights of widows but the bill died in committee because, the lawyers (among our colleagues) pointed out that the Nigerian statutes adequately protect the nuclear family, especially the widow. But no society lives by law alone!
Cultural norms and traditional conventions are as powerful as the letters of the legal code; sometimes, they are more powerful.
It is up to every man to assess his own situation and to make every effort, long before he dies, to protect his wife.”

Unfortunately, Africans are very good at enduring bad marriages! Some men do not even want their wife to be their inheritor! If a marriage is so bad that a man does not want his wife to inherit whatever he has, he should be man enough to divorce the woman. Absent that, once the man dies, the widow is adequately protected by the law.
But such widows do not live in cultural vacuums. Often they are too scared by superstitious fears and taboos to assert their own rights under the law. By the time their fellow congregants from church add the oft-touted but misunderstood lingo about "principalities and powers", most women often succumb to the peace of the dispossessed rather than risk so-called spiritual attack!

Where the marriage is good, it is really very easy for any man to protect his wife and children. Every man should draw a will that goes into force on his wedding day! I do preach at weddings and I constantly hammer on couples having life insurance and wills. Those who were at my wedding reception were stunned by my public announcement of my will on my wedding day in 1977!

I took the best possible care of my father. From 1986 till his death in 2007, I ensured that my father was the highest paid man residing in my small hometown of Ora-Igbomina, Osun State. I simply paid him twice the salary of the High School Principal who was/is the highest paid public servant residing in the community. Thereafter, I never once bought him anything; he lived on the monthly stipend I paid him. No wife can prevent me from taking good care of my parents or siblings to the best of my ability. “Even so, my parents and siblings all know that my first responsibilities are to my own wife and children. I used every occasion to remind members of my extended family that upon my death, everything I have passes on to my wife and charities. My wife has numerous audio and video recordings of such private and public declarations. I have taught my children from age six, not to expect anything from me when I die. My relatives and children all know that if they want anything from me, they should ask for it while I am alive.”

Yes, I agree that my own case is perhaps one extreme of protecting one's wife. I have friends who died and their wife/children were dispossessed by the extended family. It won't happen to my wife!

From Ginger: Amen!!


  1. There's a fair bit of waffling and humblebragging but the message is SOUND.

  2. This is a good man and his wife is definitely lucky to have him.

  3. Awwww, wow! This man is protecting his wife majorly!

  4. yes o , he is a worthy man!

  5. This guy is a thinker. He clearly had this all figured out earlier in life. His kind is rare. *Now thinking* "How do I get the husband to read this now?"

  6. A man after my heart. Correct person!

  7. I don't know why most of our people have problems about having a Will? They think once you say you are preparing your Will, you are either about to die or have been diagnosed with a terminal disease. A Will is important, so that those close to us while we were alive don't suffer unnecessarily in the hands of our culture.

    This man did right by his wife.

  8. AMEN!!! You have no idea how this hit home

  9. I loved this...this guy reminds me of my dad. It's so important for men to realize that once they marry, or even when they choose the one they want to call wife, she and the family they will build is their new priority.

  10. Sorry for the unsigned comment by am at work ;) God help the relative that comes near my mother when my dad passes away. God help them. Whether man, woman, son or daughter. Everything he owns personally belongs to her. - Lucid Lilith



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