Says man who donated 35 acres of land to church to build training centre
By Moshood Adebayo
Chief Abel Gbolahan Ogo-Oluwa Bankole, has donated a 35-acre of land to the African Church, Ogun State Province, to build a vocational training centre for youths. The land is on the Abeokuta-Lagos Expressroad, by Afowowa Village Junction, near Wasimi, Ewekoro Local Government.
He made the donation to celebrate his 69th birthday, which came up last month. He counselled against donating inheritance only to children and family members:
“I see this as a cowardly act on the part of the benefactor, not to have disbursed his inheritance in his life time, but explains the disbursement only in his will which is only read after death, thereby causing more problems for the receivers.
“I have noted with dismay the number of disagreements and litigations that followed after the demise of property owners either by his or her children or by other interested parties, most of whom never contributed to the property at its building state.
“Give away what you wish while alive and see who will dare challenge you on how you want to share your property. Giving out what you have in your lifetime will reduce litigation among children, wives and extended family members. There are many high profile court cases among children of the late, but respectable Nigerians lasting decades. Giving out your property in your lifetime forecloses obvious and challenges usually associate with writing wills.
“There are some cases of donated property by well meaning Nigerians only for their children and others to repudiate such intention in courts. But if this donation had been done in the lifetime of the benefactor, it would have been difficult for anyone to challenge their audacity to have done what they did.
‘’When I was about to buy the land, I did so for a purpose to develop some industrial complex. If I later realized that I could not realise the purpose for which I bought it, giving it out in charity will not be too much for me and posterity after asking my children if they had any use for it and they said no.
‘’I would not have given them to survey and begin to sell, that will not have been an achievement on my part and their parts too after I educated them to university level and travelled abroad, I don’t think selling of their father’s landed property would have been an achievement, but rather a failure on their part.”
He said there was nothing bad in giving out things that one does not need for the benefit of mankind: ‘’Even giving out one’s clothes and other personal effects that are surplus to our needs will be appreciated than allow them to rotten in the wardrobe.’
“As a father, bequeathing a parcel of land to your children, or wife or wives, will not solve their problems. Rather, it will compound it the more, because they will not know what to do than to divide it and begin to sell it and in the process, they get into conflicts and troubles. So, why do you need to create problem for your children or wives, thinking that you are solving their problems? A gift or donation must fulfill some conditions.
“The greatest asset anyone could have in life is the name, which must be guided jealously. But unfortunately here in Nigeria, we value more than name, which we don’t protect. For me, I believe, we should develop our names in such a way that it can be used as a reference point. When you use your name well, it becomes an asset. What’s the name of Nelson Mandela’s children, do you know? I doubt even if you know that of Balewa, Awolowo or Ojukwu. Names are personal attributes that are not transferable.’’
He said before he gave out the parcel of land to the church, he took his wives on a tour of Abeokuta to show them houses owned by those one could describe as men and women of yester-years:
‘’I told them that this is the way it will go if they are not reasonable. Others have gone that way and you can visibly see them. I was the president of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Ogun State, for four years. That gave me the opportunity to go through a lot of factories in the state including, Agbara, Ota, Ijebu Ode, Sagamu and Abeokuta.
‘’I have seen a lot of failures, shortcomings of families in terms of inheritance and the so-called heritage in ruins simply because they could not be sustained by the beneficiaries. It is the benefactor that has the vision. When you give inheritance to a child who does not share your vision, such a thing will be in ruins and may even destroy him or her.
“Why do you need to saddle your children or wives with burden of life after your death? Some parents even make the mistake of bequeathing their inheritance to their first son who does not understand the template.
‘’A lot of companies have gone down with the heritage; either a small factory, bakery, sawmill, a printing press, others. I asked them (my wives) to name 40 companies that were there in 1976 when the state was created that are still running. They could not name just five. They are dead not because of government policies, but because of mismanagement of the inheritors.
The Bishop of the province, S. O. B. Ojumu, commended Bankole for the donation, which he said was not only to the African Church alone but for the humanity. He warned those amassing wealth, only to die and create problems for their relations to emulate Bankole whom he described as a cheerful and intelligent giver.
He said the donor would go into history of well organised individuals who love God, the Church and humanity as whole. He disclosed that the church in no distance future would commence the construction of Ogo-Oluwa Vocal Training Centre.
Bankole is chairman, Premier Paints and the Mercyland Group of Schools, Abeokuta.