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Update: Father of Briton tracing Nigerian roots died 1981 after car accident, investigation reveals

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Update: Father of Briton tracing Nigerian roots died 1981 after car accident, investigation reveals

Update: Father of Briton tracing Nigerian roots died 1981 after car accident, investigation reveals

The search for the father of 68-year-old mixed-race Briton, Paul Bolton, believed to be a Yoruba man, who he has never met, has turned out to be successful as investigation reveals that his father, Olufemi Odeinde, passed on in 1981, PUNCH reports.

WITHIN NIGERIA recalls that Bolton, while searching for his father, said his British mum’s family opposed her relationship with a Yoruba architecture student in 1954. A relationship, which he’s a product of. It didn’t help that Bolton didn’t have any photograph of his father.

Below are findings as discovered  by the PUNCH reporter, who  worked on the search for Bolton’s father.

Unveiling Bolton’s father

Within 24 hours, at least five persons contacted our correspondent either by phone or social media to say they might have an idea of who Bolton’s father was or be able to help him.

While this feedback was heart-warming, the reporter, however, knew he had the responsibility to be sure of these persons’ claims in order not to unleash mere opportunists or exploiter on Bolton and compound his trouble rather than bring a solution.

Of the five persons who made offers of help, four proved quite useful.

The fifth was, indeed, a report of a false claim by a third party purporting to have identified Bolton’s father and had already “linked up the family with the journalist that conducted the interview with Mr Bolton.”

Update: Father of Briton tracing Nigerian roots died 1981 after car accident, investigation reveals

Of the four useful offers of help, the first came from an architect based in Ibadan.

The architect, who elected to remain anonymous, sent a message to the reporter hours after the interview was published to say that he was moved by Bolton’s story and he felt compelled to assist, particularly as Bolton believes that his father is/was an architect.

He added that the Nigeria Institute of Architects had also seen the interview and was looking into its records to see if it would find “Femi Odiendie/Odeiwde” or any name close to it. This architect felt positive that Bolton’s father’s identity would be unravelled if he was indeed an architect, as the Briton was told.

The following day, the Public Relations Officer of the NIA, Mr Chris Uloko, also got in touch with the reporter to confirm that the institute was checking its register.

The PUNCH reporter thanked the NIA for joining in the search, assuring them that Bolton would be grateful.

While awaiting the outcome of the NIA’s check, the third offer of help came from Lanre Amao, who sent the reporter a friend’s request on LinkedIn and subsequently a message, partly reading: “I believe I know who his (Bolton’s) father is, so if he is still looking I’d be happy to help.”

Treading with caution, the reporter replied that the search for Bolton’s father was still on and that “I am sure he will be happy if you can help.”

Amao dropped his email address and mobile phone number, which showed that he was outside Nigeria. He urged that the email address and the phone number be passed onto Bolton to get in touch with him.

The reporter relayed his message to Bolton.

Later on the same day, the reporter received a message also on LinkedIn from a woman, who wrote: “… read an interview you did with a Paul Bolton. Turns out he’s actually an Uncle of mine from the Odeinde family. He’s my Mum’s long lost cousin!”

The woman’s profile indicates she is an accomplished, award-winning journalist, who had had a stint with the BBC and other notable international media organisations.

Replying her, the reporter, still cautious, wrote: “If he’s your uncle, I suppose his father is your mom’s father too or he’s your mom’s half-brother.”

But the woman said, “No, his father was my Mum’s uncle.”

She went further to say, “My uncle, Yemi Odeinde (his (Bolton’s) brother), passed away last year. He was an architect as mentioned. My aunty, Oyinkan, is Paul’s sister.”

The woman asked if the reporter would be “able to connect my family with him (Bolton)” but our wary correspondent needed to be sure of the authenticity of this woman’s claim. That the woman described Bolton as “an Uncle of mine from the Odeinde family,” and then said, “His (Bolton’s) father was my Mum’s uncle,” looked somewhat hazy. The reporter promised to do his findings and get back to the woman.

However, the first hint that the surname of the father that Bolton was looking for is ‘Odeinde’ – which is meaningful – as opposed to Odiendie/Odeiwde, which he was told, came from this woman.

In an attempt to independently verify the woman’s claim, The reporter sought information on Yemi Odeinde, mentioned by the woman and who seemed to be ‘Oluyemi Odiende’ that Bolton said he found on Facebook.

A search on Facebook turned up Oluyemi Odeinde, an architect.

Bolton had suggested that “Oluyemi Odiende may have died last year,” and this woman said, “My uncle, Yemi Odeinde (his (Bolton’s) brother), passed away last year,” but there was nothing on Oluyemi Odeinde’s Facebook page to suggest that he was dead.

Noticeably, with only five photos posted and no messages at all, coupled with the fact that he didn’t respond to birthday wishes, he might not have been an active Facebook user – which would be why he might have missed the message sent to him by Bolton in 1995.

The reporter scanned through Oluyemi’s friends’ list hoping to see the woman’s name, but it didn’t seem to be there. Our correspondent also did not see any other Odeinde on the list.

In the midst of all these, the most assured or risk-free lead seemed to be the Nigeria Institute of Architects.

So, on Tuesday morning the reporter went back to the NIA to ask if they had found in their record “Femi Odiendie/Odeiwde” or any name close to it.

The NIA PRO, Uloko, said a look through the NIA Official Gazette of the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria, containing the Register of Architects licensed to practise in Nigeria, turned up a name, ODEINDE, Olufemi Abayomi, Registered No. F/27 or being the 27th registered architect in Nigeria.

On request, Uloko obliged the reporter with a scanned copy of the portion of the register where ODEINDE, Olufemi Abayomi appeared.

In the register, Odeinde’s address was given as Ministry of Works and Transport, Ibadan.

There was an indication that this was the father that Bolton had been searching for – ‘Odeinde’ was common to the accounts of both the woman from Linkedln and the NIA.

The father’s first name, Femi, which Bolton was given, is the shortened form of Olufemi, found in the register. And the surname, Odeinde, must have been misspelt as Odiendie or Odeiwde, from the source where Bolton got his information.

Olufemi Odeinde is dead

Uloko told our correspondent that the man, Olufemi Odeinde, from the institute’s information, died long ago, precisely 1981.

“The information on the man is very scanty because he died 41 years ago,” the NIA PRO told the reporter.

He said the institute could not lay its hands on Odeinde’s photograph.

That Odeinde died in 1981 was corroborated, without prompting, by Amao, who earlier contacted the reporter from outside Nigeria.

In a chat with the reporter late Tuesday afternoon, Amao, who gave his age as 57, wrote: “His (Bolton’s) father died in 1981 around the age of 50. He was my father’s friend.”

He added, “His father’s house is two streets away from ours in Bodija Estate. He was a very successful architect but died tragically after he sustained injuries in a car accident.”

“He (Bolton) is very close to knowing where he comes from,” Amao added, after telling the reporter he knew Odeinde’s children.

But before speaking with Amao late Tuesday afternoon, following the conversation with Uloko in the morning, the reporter had gone in search of Odeinde’s descendants.

If Olufemi Odeinde was dead, the next step was to look for his children, who would be Bolton’s half-siblings.

But Uloko said he could not tell which town or state in Nigeria Odeinde hailed from.

“He may be from Ekiti (State),” he stated.

Update: Father of Briton tracing Nigerian roots died 1981 after car accident, investigation reveals
Bolton’s dad with half-brother

The Ibadan-based architect, who made the first offer of help, told the reporter he remembered that during his days as an architecture student many years ago, while searching for an architect’s office to do his internship, he used to see the signpost of the office of one Architect Odeinde in the Dugbe area of Ibadan.

He said he was willing to lead the reporter in search of the place, perhaps there might be someone who could point the direction to where Odeinde’s family might be.

He eventually led the reporter to the popular Basorun MKO Abiola House, a storey building, in the Queen’s Cinema area of Ibadan, stating that Olufemi Odeinde had his office in the building back in the day.

The architect said, “I used to come here when I was a student. We, architecture students, used to search around for an office to do our industrial attachment and his office was in this building.”

The building, which was used in the recent past as the Ibadan office of the late MKO Abiola’s defunct Concord newspapers, had new tenants who did not know the late Architect Odeinde.

However, an old security man, Sikiru, popularly known in the area as Chairman, who should be well in his 70s, said he remembered Odeinde, adding that the late architect was popular back then.

Sikiru pointed out to the reporter the particular spot where the signpost to Odeinde’s office was affixed to the wall on the storey building.

“He (Odeinde) left here many years ago. I met him when I came here but he left not quite long after that. I think he should be from Osun State but I am not sure.

“I did not know where he lived because everybody just met at the office and I had no cause to visit him at home,” the old man said.

A shop owner close to the building also told our correspondent that he knew Odeinde but he did not know his relatives.

The shop owner said the caretaker of the building, Laja Soaga, who would have been able to give more information about Odeinde, also died about eight years ago.

The architect, who led the reporter to the building, said he was glad there were still people around who could corroborate his account.

He said, “I am happy that we found some persons who corroborated my claims. We are being careful because some persons may want to defraud the man searching for his dad, having known he is based in the UK. But with what we have seen and heard now, it won’t be long before the man will connect with his family here in Nigeria.”

Search for Odeinde’s family continues

The reporter remembered that the woman from LinkedIn on Monday had indicated that Oluyemi Odeinde found on Facebook was the late Olufemi Odeinde’s son and was indeed Bolton’s half-brother.

Since this Oluyemi Odeinde was also an architect, our correspondent decided to ask the NIA for information on him.

During the Tuesday morning conversation with the reporter, the NIA PRO immediately told our correspondent that Oluyemi Odeinde was an architect and it had been established that he was a son of the late Olufemi Odeinde, confirming the claim by the woman from LinkedIn.

“He (Olufemi Odeinde) had a son that was an architect. His son revived his firm and tried to run it but that one too died last year. His name is Oluyemi,” Uloko said, piecing together the pieces of the puzzle.

With Oluyemi Odeinde dead, the next thing was to search for Olufemi Odeinde’s other children.

Another approach was to search for Oluyemi Odeinde’s children, to whom Bolton would be an uncle.

Another architect, who said he once interned with Oluyemi Odeinde, gave his home address, which was also his office at some point, as somewhere on Talabi Street, Ikeja, Lagos.

In the hope that Oluyemi’s children might be found, the reporter went in search of the house.

It was not difficult to locate the bungalow painted ochre-yellow with red gates. The gate was locked and repeated ringing of the old doorbells, which might not be working, did not yield any response. A mallam found in the front of the house encouraged the reporter to knock on the gate, since there was no phone number to call. The mallam said a lady that our correspondent could have talked to went out shortly before the reporter’s arrival.

After waiting for over one hour, the reporter eventually left. Further investigation would later show that Oluyemi Odeinde’s family was not in the house, said to have been let out to some tenants.

Uloko told the reporter, “It appears they moved back to Ekiti or Ibadan. I hear they have a family house in one of those towns but nobody knows where exactly.”

He suggested that the reporter go in search of an old architect, Theo Lawson, with whom Oluyemi Odeinde formed a partnership at some point.

“You know where Freedom Park is? At Tafawa Balewa Square (Lagos Island). The architect in charge of Freedom Park, Architect Theo Lawson, the MD of Freedom Park, was also Odeinde’s partner, I mean Oluyemi Odeinde that died last year.

“He was his business partner; they had a partnership called Lawson-Odeinde Partnership. He (Lawson) used to be my boss, I worked with him some years back in the 90s but right now, I don’t have his number. If you can get him, he will be able to give you so much more first-hand information about the son.”

But as providence would have it, the reporter laid hands on the programme booklet of Oluyemi Odeinde’s funeral.

Update: Father of Briton tracing Nigerian roots died 1981 after car accident, investigation reveals
Half-brother’s obituary

The booklet, featuring Oluyemi’s biography and a tributes section, proved to be a gold mine of information on Odeinde family. It contains many answers that Bolton had been seeking for 29 years about his Nigerian roots.

The booklet revealed that Oluyemi Odeinde was born on March 25, 1960, and died March 18, 2021, just seven days to his 61st birthday.

It showed that Oluyemi was younger than his unknown half-brother, Bolton, by six years.

Oluyemi’s funeral took place on Victoria Island, Lagos with the church service presided over by popular Pastor Ituah Ighodalo. His remains were interred at Ebony Vaults, Ikoyi.

Oluyemi’s biography revealed his mother’s name as Tinuade Olabisi Odeinde (nee Amao), described as the first indigenous Librarian of Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan.

The biography revealed that Oluyemi has a younger sister named Oyinkan Odeinde Hallgreen.

The name Oyinkan immediately rang a bell with the reporter. It was first mentioned by the woman from Linkedln, who said: “My uncle, Yemi Odeinde (his (Bolton’s) brother) passed away last year. He was an architect as mentioned. My aunty Oyinkan is Paul’s sister.”

Oyinkan herself, in a tribute penned in her late brother’s honour, revealed that she was younger than Oluyemi by “five years and five days.”

The way the dots began to quickly connect was nothing but cheering.

As promised, our correspondent reverted to the woman on Linkedln to say her narration was found to be true. The funeral programme booklet was shared with her.

In response, she said, “Thank you. Yes, this is correct. Interestingly, I read Uncle Yemi’s biography at his funeral last year. I will reach out to my mum and the rest of the Odeinde family tomorrow re the best way to proceed (sic).”

That Olufemi Odeinde died in 1981 was further established by a line in Oluyemi’s biography, stating: “In 1981, right in the middle of his (Oluyemi’s) programme, his father passed away due to injuries sustained in a motor accident.”

The family tree

Oluyemi married Susan Dada. “Their union birthed their beloved, beautiful daughter, Omotara, who is currently a Senior Policy Advisor in England.

“After many years, Yemi took another dip into fatherhood, and with Kemi Adefolu, became the parents of a wonderful set of twins, Ibidunni and Idunnu.

“Yemi was incredibly happy when he was in the company of his children and his niece, Oyinkan’s daughter, Timayo,” the biography revealed.

Olufemi Odeinde – an amiable father with ‘high-class’ home

In her tribute to Oluyemi, Oyinkan offered a peek into the man Olufemi Odeinde – the father that Bolton never saw – and their home.

Recounting an experience when they went to a party in Ibadan and returned home late, Oyinkan said, “Dad wouldn’t let us back into the house before giving us a lecture (in the middle of the night) – him inside the house, you (Oluyemi) and I standing outside waiting to be let in, being asked if all our watches had the same time, ending with a threat to cut our holidays short and send us back to school.

“As punishment, Dad wanted you to wash all the clothes in the house (by hand) the following day, and I was to iron them, or was it the other way round? Thankfully, he did not carry out the threat (it would have been uncharacteristic of him anyway).”

Oyinkan also spoke of them taking piano lessons under the tutelage of “Mrs Franklin and Mrs Santos.”

She revealed their mother’s death in the tribute’s opening line: “You (Yemi), Mummy and Daddy have gone and left me…? How am I supposed to carry on without you?”

Incidentally, Oyinkan is not all alone; there is Bolton, an elder half-brother she had never known.

Bolton hopes for acceptance

The reporter sent an email to Bolton to inform him of the discoveries that had been made.

It was his wife, Jane Bolton, who replied on his behalf.

She wrote:

Dear Oladimeji,

This is Paul’s wife, Jane, and I am a friend of Enyi Njoku, through who we have now made these amazing discoveries about Paul’s family: how sad that he will never meet his brother, Yemi.

I just wanted to thank you for taking up this story and helping to fill all the gaps that have eluded us for so many years.

I know our children have a great interest in learning all about their African heritage and I hope we can establish an ongoing relationship with their family in Nigeria and elsewhere.

It will be interesting to learn if any of the family or old friends were even aware of Paul’s existence …I hope they will view him as a welcome addition to the family.

With kindest regards and best wishes,

Jane Bolton

The post Update: Father of Briton tracing Nigerian roots died 1981 after car accident, investigation reveals appeared first on NEWS.

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Aminat Aigbe

Aminat Aigbe is the first lady of afronaija and a very good blogger ( Original Mrs AfroNaija )

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