Barely 3 years after the death of Tunji Badejo Okusanya, founder of Nigeria’s biggest funeral services company, MIC,the family he left behind is in disarray. If you recall, the MIC boss died alongside his son Tunji Jr, in the ill-fated Associated Airline plane that crash in Lagos, en-route Akure,on his way, for the burial of late former Ondo Governor, Olusegun Agagu. If half of what we gather is anything to go by, Late Tunji Okusanya, will by now be sad in his grave.
We have it on good authority,that there has been a big row, in the family for over one year now, the peak of which was the setting up of LTJ Funerals (which does same business as MIC) by the first child of late Okusanya, Bolanle. Bolanle Badejo-Okusanya shocked not a few when she set up LTJ Funeral Services last June. This was more so because prior to this, she was in charge of running her late father’s MIC.
Her decision to quit MIC, we learnt followed a disagreement with members of her family, including the elders.Here is the details of what transpired. Late Okusanya’s first son, Olatunji Okusanya (Jnr.) was already taking after his father in the profession too before the unexpected happened on October 3, 2013 and he died with his dad in the air crash in the line of duty.
Mrs. Bolanle Okusanya-Feyita, the first child of late Tunji Okusanya, who is married with 2 kids and was based in London relocated to Nigeria and took over her father’s the business. But Bolanle was just in MIC for six months before she disappeared and many were wondering what was happening to the thriving business.
She returned again, but this time with a new company, LTJ. After the launch of the new company, Bolanle granted some press interviews, in one of which she said that LTJ is in the same line of business with MIC, but with different approach. She said LTJ, which was officially opened on Wednesday, June 3, 2015, is set up in memory of her father and brother. But what made Bolanle make that huge move?
Our source revealed that immediately after the late Okusanya and his son died, his widow went into the traditional mourning process, which normally last for months. The widow, who is the legally married wife of late Okusanya was the General Manager of MIC even before his death. Bolanle’s mum was the late Okusanya’s first wife, but they have divorced for more than 20 years. So, it was when Okusanya’s widow was in mourning that Bolanle took charge of the running of MIC. When the widow, Adebola came out of the traditional mourning exercise, and she was ready to come back to her post at MIC, Bolanle was not prepared to run the company with her stepmom.
The family, including the late MIC boss’ mum then waded in and called meetings to resolve the imbroglio. The position of the family was that the MIC Legacy should be protected and that everyone should be involved in sustaining the business. The late Okusanya’s widow, as agreed at the meetings should be the chairman of MIC, while Bolanle should be the MD.
This however, didn’t go down well with Bolanle, who we gathered told his grand mum and other elders at the meetings that she would get back to them soon after she might have consulted her mum and some other people. Meanwhile, she never did. She cut her communication with the family and later returned to set up her own company. This development, our sources informed didn’t go down well with a lot of members of the family.
According to our source, while he was alive, the late Okusanya ran MIC like a family business. In fact, he engaged many of his nieces and nephews, as well as other extended family members into MIC and they are all doing well.
The development later degenerated into a deeper family rancour when it was becoming obvious that Bolanle’s LTJ would do the family’s legacy, MIC more harm than good. We learnt that at a point, clients began to get confused about the 2 companies, as they have difficulties differentiating between them. Also, most of the places where MIC go to bid for jobs, LTJ is always also among the competitors who also drag jobs with it.
This irks the Okusanya family members so much, as they see what Bolanle did as an affront to the family elders.Our source also hinted that the family is not disposed to the report that Bolanle at some points has been telling clients that MIC and LTJ funeral services are the same. Right now, the late Okusanya’s widow is in charge of the running of the company, alongside some of the family members who worked with the late MIC boss when he was alive; including his immediate younger brother.
However, we gather that the company has been doing well. When she set up LTJ, Bolanle poached one or two key workers at MIC, we learnt. When our reporter visited MIC’s office in Lagos Island few days back, no one there was willing to talk.Reluctanctly,the mother of the late Tunji Okusanya, 94yr old Mrs Juliana Olayemi Okusanya.“
Well, I can't be happy when I and some elders of the family told my granddaughter to stay and carry on with her father's company and she refused. Although, as a mother, there is a certain level you cannot take your anger to. It is true that family members met and persuaded her to stay with MIC, but she declined. I wasn't at the first 2 meetings, but I attended the last one, where the decision was taken. One of the uncles of Bolanle's late father, who is his 90s, was there on that day.
"My son's widow was also present. We agreed that since the widow, who is Bolanle's stepmom had been running the affairs of the company, and that she should continue in that capacity, while Bolanle take the executive role. She was not ready to work with his late dad's widow. After enough persuasions, she told us that she would go to consult her mum's family and get back. Weeks after the meeting,
"I called my granddaughter severally on her phone lines in London where she was staying, but she never picked until I got angry and never bothered to call again. The next thing I heard was that she has relocated fully from London to set up her own funeral services company. She didn't tell me about her decision, but yet what can I do? Would I have said she is no more my granddaughter; the very first one? And she was in charge of MIC for some months when the widow was observing her traditional mourning rites.
" It was after the meeting that she left the country and later returned to set up her own”.When contacted Bolanle Badejo Okusanya said“I really don’t have anything to say about this.”