– The Sun News

The next of kin

Rose is one of the women who suddenly became a widow as a result of the November 1996 crash of an ADC aircraft that plunged into the Ejirin swamps on its way from Port Harcourt. She was in her late 20s then and had a three-year-old son in the kindergarten.
Two years after the unfortunate accident that made her a widow, barely two years into her marriage, Rose found herself alone, with an almost uncertain future.
Even though her husband died while returning from an official assignment, his employers could not hand over his entitlements to his widow because Rose was not the official “next of kin” of her late husband. The deceased made his brother his next of kin.
Rose’s brother-in-law and the rest of her late husband’s family were not disposed to handing over the money to her. Their reasons? She would ‘use’ the money to marry another husband. Not sane enough reason but that was their stand. For years, the widow struggled on her own: there was rent to pay, she had a young son to feed, school fees to pay all that in addition to nursing the trauma and loneliness of being a young widow.
Hello dudes, whose name is on the next of kin slot of your employment form? What provisions have you made for your wife when you are no longer here? We all pray to live up to old age but the reality is that death has stopped arranging his calls according to age. The end could come anytime. If yours comes now, would your wife be at the mercy of your brother or sister? Would she have to grovel and beg for every dime she gets from the people you think will take care of her? The next of kin issue has been discussed over and over again but even in this 21st century, we still find men who do not think their wives qualify to be their next of kin. So you see, we cannot pretend that all is well, because it is not. I certainly don’t see what informs those men’s attitude.
If a woman has devoted her whole life to you, she shouldn’t be left out in the cold.
Don’t even tell me to define devoted! You sleep with her anytime you choose, abi? She has children for you. She cooks and cares for you and your children. When your relatives come, she cares for them. You can turn to her when you are broke. She pays the bills when you are not able to. She supports you in all ways possible.
When you are ill, she is the one who runs up and down. When (or if) you get into police trouble, she bears all the stress and coughs out money to bail you out. In between jobs, she carries the housekeeping burden. She gives you so much love, attention, her whole life. She takes up where your mother stopped. She is your friend, confidant, sounding board, psychologist, mother and everything, apart from being a wife.
Tell me why it is the guy you speak to on phone three times a year, see at the December family meeting that should be made your next of kin.
This is not about being a mercenary, it’s about what is fair and responsible. Men who make anybody else their next of kin need to have their heads examined. I agree that a lot of women are “irresponsible” but they are few and you (probably) can’t say boldly that your wife is irresponsible. Women’s love for their children is incomparable.
Sisters, don’t leave anything to chance. Use everything you have to get him to tell you who he filled as next of kin on his employment form.
Persuade him, cook edikangikang or whatever his favourite meal is. Give him all the styles you know in bed. Educate him on why he has to make you his next of kin. And then, the will. Most men think their wives want to kill them once they start talking about their will. Look, women who want to kill their husbands do not give an inkling of that intention.
They cover their tracks and whether you write a will or not, your wife will kill you if she wants and she’ll make away with whatever she wants. It’s sadder when men who have no visible estates say their wives want to kill them. Though conflicts after death may occur, the existence of a will can make life easier for those left behind.
Women ought to be careful about owning joint properties with their husbands. If you must buy land, for instance, the receipt should read Mr. David and Mrs. Florence Aduke Giwa, not simply Mr. and Mrs. Giwa considering the number of Mrs Giwas that could surface at Mr. Giwa’s graveside.
According to late Professor Jadesola Akande, former Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University, it is risky to merge income with a man. “A woman should prepare for the rainy day. If you jointly buy land, let the deed of conveyance read your personal names, not just the Mr. and Mrs.”
Professor Akande also advised all men above the age of 40 to write their wills.
Referring to the Mojekwu vs Mojekwu case, where Mrs. Caroline Mojekwu battled for 31 years for her husband’s estate, until 1998 when the case was decided in her favour. By then, Caroline Mojekwu was 94 and senile. Any estate would make your future easier when the man is no longer there. Prepare for the rainy day, own separate properties that no greedy brother-in-law can lay claim to. Ensure that you are his next of kin. You are responsible to yourself and for the children’s future.


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July 2018
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