¦ Brother hits back
IKENNA OKAFOR, who was in Lome, Togo
Following the recent posts published on Facebook by Tottenham Hotspur’s striker, Emmanuel Seyi Adebayor against his mother and siblings, Ikenna Okafor caught up with the former Manchester City’s star younger brother, Rotimi Adebayor in Lome, Togo to hear the family side of the story. Although Sunday Sun met with Hajia Adebayor, the mother of Togo’s most famous football player, she revealed that she is under instruction not to talk about the issue while Iyabo, the elder sister of Emmanuel Adebayor was in Ghana, where she currently resides. Emmanuel Adebayor was said to have left his house in Didjole for Accra, Ghana.
Some people here in Togo said that you are always willing to give out to the needy. How are you able to meet their demands now that your elder brother, Emmanuel has withdrawn his properties from your care?
It’s really tough now. The situation is no longer the way it used to be. I hardly go out because I have my own business to mind. As you can see that I run a bar very close to where I live.
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What about your numerous fans in Lome…those who used to hang out with you?
I used to have many friends because of my brother’s popularity but today; they are nowhere to be found. They have all left me to face my travail. ‘Owo epo laiye n ba ni la won ki n ba ni la ti eje’ (People are willing to dine with you when the situation is perfect but you’ll never see them in difficult times). These are the people I used to dash out 5000CFA, 10,000CFA, even 20,000CFA without blinking but now things are not the same. I have accepted to carry the cross alone. Now I have learnt a big lesson. I don’t have any friend again.
Where is your mum now?
We have moved out of my brother’s house in Didjole. Now she stays a stone throw away from my place, I mean the same neighbourhood. It’s a rented apartment.
How do you combine your bar business with your football career?
I have people that work with me in the bar. They are nice guys. They give sales report anytime I am in Benin Republic but I am around now because the season has just ended.
Tell us about your performance last season in the Republic of Benin?
I didn’t start the season with Royale FC. I joined the team in mid season and I scored 9 goals in 15 matches. I believe that’s a huge return in terms of goals conversion rate.
Why didn’t you or your brother represent Nigeria?
We were born and brought up here in Togo. This is the culture we understand and for me, I never thought about representing Nigeria. It never came across my mind.
You speak Yoruba fluently but have you been to your village in Nigeria.
We are from Osun State. Our dad is from Igbaye while our mum is from a neighbouring town called Ekusa. They are both in Odo-Otin Local Government Area. Yoruba is our first language then we are also fluent in Ewe and French. I do come to Lagos to see my friends and club mates but not Osun State.
Scouts may not be able to fish you out in Benin Republic. Why don’t you try a move to Europe?
I have received offers and I wanted my brother to help but he failed to do so because of the current family issues. I believe I can make it over there because I played some pre-season friendlies with Valladolid in Spain some years back but failed to sign for them.
I also received an offer from a club in Belgium but my brother isn’t willing to assist me again.
You don’t need your brother’s influence or financial support if you are good enough?
Things are really hard for me right now as I hope my brother would accept my apology. He knows I am a good striker as well.
You seem to be confident of your football skills. Why haven’t you been invited to the national team of Togo?
I was in the national team when Stephen Keshi was in charge. He invited me and was happy with my performance in training. During a particular session he called my brother, Emmanuel and I aside. He looked straight into my brother’s eye and said that, ‘Watch out, this boy would be better than you soon’
And what was your brother’s reaction?
He didn’t say anything.
Did you feature in the next match after the training?
No, I cannot explain what happened thereafter. I was not invited again and then Keshi left the national team a few months later.
Did Keshi resign because he had a problem with your brother just before the World Cup?
Yes there were some issues but I cannot recall what happened then because I was very young and unwilling to interfere in such issues.
Now your brother has a problem with you, which you can remember?
Ah! the Facebook rants. Everyone knows what happened because he decided to make a mountain out of a molehill. ‘Oro ase ni gbogbo e’ (They are words spoken out of context)
Are the allegations levelled against you untrue?
I have my own story as well but ‘Omo ti owo e o ti te eeku ida ko gbodo bere iku ti o pa baba re’ (A child who is yet to take control of the sword should not seek reasons for his father’s death)
But you have apologized to him; did he accept your plea?
No response from him yet. I apologised because he is my elder brother and we have resolved so settle issues amicably. My elder sister advised us to bury the hatchet.
You met him at a training pitch yesterday (Thursday, May 21)…
Yes, we met and he said, ‘Omo Iya ba wo ni’ (My brother how are you). However, I didn’t play with them because I wasn’t in the mood.
And you didn’t wait for him after the training.
No, I was there till he left but he didn’t greet me as he drove off.
He is a superstar indeed?
I agree, yes he is
And you annoyed him so much that he made such revelations about you?
Hmh! I can’t explain what happened
But you know what happened to the missing 21 phones including play station games from 27 players?
(Smiles) No, 26 players excluding me. ‘Mi o kin se ole’ (I am not a thief)
Is it because you cannot steal your own phone?
‘Mi o ji mobile phone, Mo ri he ni’ (I didn’t steal any mobile phone. I fortuitously found them and picked)
How did it happen and when?
It was at the FC Metz football Academy in France and I was 14 years old then. My mates were already at the training pitch on that day, so I was running to meet up with them when I found the mobile phone on the aisle within the training complex.
So you picked it and didn’t declare that you found a mobile phone, which belongs to your teammate.
That was the mistake I made and I regretted it thereafter. Actually I kept it on the table in my room and my roommate wanted to know who owns the phone because he didn’t have any then. I told him how I found it, and then he demanded to make use of it.
What’s his name?
Kelvin. He is an American and the owner of the phone is from Asia but from an ‘Arab country’ The ‘Arab’ boy saw the phone with Kelvin and immediately reported the case to the management of the academy.
They informed my brother about it. He called me to hear my side of the story but I was later informed to pack my things out of the academy.
Then you could have returned to complete your secondary school in Togo
No I love the game so much that I left for France just after my primary school
Amazing Grace Primary School in Aflao, the border town between Togo and Ghana.
So you didn’t attend any secondary school?
No, I didn’t.
What about the remaining mobile phones you were accused of stealing at the academy?
‘Mo ni mio ja ole se’ (I didn’t steal). I have just explained what happened.
Your brother has released three posts on Facebook to paint a bad picture of the family?
It’s really disheartening that such a thing is happening to us right now. My wife was mocked at the market after the first post Seyi (Emmanuel Adebayor) published on Facebook. She called me to inform me about what people are saying. Immediately I logged in and read the post. I felt very sad.
What did you do thereafter?
I called him and asked him why he had to do that but he got angry with me. We had a heated argument on phone, which led to unprintable words being used freely. As a matter of fact, we quarrelled over the phone for almost two hours.
You hurled insults on your elder brother who made you and the Adebayor family famous?
Yes I did that because I felt very sad and embarrassed. Then he made a decision to inflict more insinuations against me.
He called my phone before he released the second post on Facebook. He asked me to go and read the second posts, which he wanted to release in 30 minutes.
He did in exactly thirty minutes and before I could log into my F acebook account, my friends called me to quickly go and read the second part of my ‘film’.
The post he released, the second rant against the family. It’s sad because our mother, who poured her blood on our heads, received the greatest insult of her life. A woman who suffered so that we can live a good life is now receiving such a disgraceful accusation.
You mean the witchcraft allegation?
Yes and all those nonsense things he wrote against me and our elder sister in Ghana. Well, we have decided to leave it all in God’s hand. Our mother is a not a witch neither does she practice witchcraft. How can your mother wish you bad luck? I play football as well and I know that players do suffer loss of form. He shouldn’t put the blame on anyone.
He said that he sent a huge amount of money to save Peter’s life but alleged that the family squandered the money?
To be honest, he did. Seyi sent the money but it was judiciously spent to meet his (Peter’s) health needs. He suffered before he died.
Some people in Togo are of the opinion that Peter died as result of the hard substances he used to inhale?
No, he wasn’t into such but he was hooked on ‘Igbo’ (Indian hemp), which affected him mentally. He was such great person who also helped financially to make Seyi achieve his football dream.
And the family didn’t spend the money very well for his rehabilitation?
No, we did but he died. We lost him in 2013. His death and our father’s in 2005 are factors that have affected the family in a big way but I wouldn’t like to be drawn into such issues now.
What happened to Seyi’s home in Ghana?
He has over 50 houses in Lome and currently lives in Didjole. He also has some others in Ghana. He has taken custody of everything.
What about the house he alleged your elder sister rented out?
‘Oro ase ni yen se’ (They are unrealistic words)
Opinions are divided among the citizens of Togo concerning Emmanuel Adebayor’s biological mother?
People can say whatever they like. He is my elder brother and we know we have the same mother. I am less bothered about the rumour going round the city.
You blamed yourself for the lingering crisis in the family. What did you do?
A lot of people do not understand the beginning of this issue but I put the blame on myself because of the boy I wanted to help. His name is Masaudu. He’s from the Republic of Benin. I brought him from the rough side of the border so that he can help us with some domestic work. He grew up with the family and betrayed us. Masaudu cooked up stories for Seyi to believe and he succeeded in destroying our family. He was the one that was sent to inform our mother to pack out of the house. But I believe that God’s judgment will prevail. I will continue to appeal to him (Emmanuel Adebayor) to be considerate in his judgment. I want him to forgive and forget in the memory of our late father and forget what people are telling him. We have our children and we shouldn’t let this issue degenerate into generational fight.
Now you have suddenly become spiritual?
I am not far away from God.
Where do you worship?
We are members of the Baptist church
How often do you go to church?
Hmnn! Not always sha! but our mother hardly misses church services. She’s always there every Sunday. She’s already preparing for the Pentecost Sunday tomorrow (Sunday May 24). It’s a big day in Togo and the next day is a public holiday.
Did you marry a Togolese woman?
No, She’s a Nigerian from Ife in Osun State. Her name is Shantal and we are blessed with a two and half years old boy- Kingsley.
You’re trying to bring up a good family but there were allegations made against Kola, who is based in Germany about his inability to cater for his family.
He is my elder brother and I am not going to make any comment about him. All I can say is that he is a very nice person and contributed immensely to the family needs in the past and at present, he is doing well.
Your mum is back at where she sells polythene bags, padlocks and other things at the border.
It’s really sad to see her return to a business she left a long time ago. No one would be happy to see her mum in this sort of situation. Well, I leave it all in God’s hand. He will judge every situation. ‘Ayanmo ni gbogbo nkan’ (Destiny will always prevail).
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