Unknown to most people, Joseph Bodunrin Daudu, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA ), who penned a much-publicized tribute to his late wife, Ranti Bosede Daudu, at her burial in Kaduna last week, had sued his late wife for divorce in 2016. Mr. Daudu, who addressed his tribute to his “darling wife”, claimed that he had hoped that he “could have worked things out” with the late Mrs. Daudu.
However, nearly two months before her death, on 8 May 2017, Mr. Daudu had testified in the divorce proceedings that he filed against the late Mrs. Daudu at the High Court of Kaduna State. In his evidence, Mr. Daudu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had told the court in clear terms: “I am no longer interested in the marriage between us” Claiming that he earned less than 10 million Naira annually, Mr. Daudu also testified in court that he could offer the late Mrs. Daudu a monthly allowance for maintenance of only N20,000 (twenty thousand Naira) “until she remarries”. Below is the full transcript of his testimony in the proceedings:
TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH BODURIN DAUDU, SAN, IN HIS DIVORCE SUIT AGAINST THE LATE RANTI BOSEDE DAUDU
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Examination in Chief by the petitioner’s counsel.
My name is Joseph Bodunrin Daudu. I live at plot 16 Road 65 Gwarimpa Phase 11 Abuja. I am a legal practitioner. I am a SAN since 1985. The respondent is my wife. We married on 24/10/1987 under the Act. After the marriage we lived together. But those places enumerated by the Respondent are not places of our habitation. But since the 30/03/2013 the habitation has ceaseded between us. It is not true that inhabitation continues from 30/03/2013. We have been apart since then we lived at Gwarimpa together in Abuja. There are 6 children of the marriage, the last child of the marriage is 14 years old. We have an arrangement about him. He lives in Abuja. We have no problem at all. He comes to me always and I send him to his mother.
The Respondent has never been a partner in my practice. That has never been a partnership deed between us. It is not true that we agreed that she stays in Kaduna while I stay in Abuja. Asking for restitution infers that we are staying together. I am no longer interested in the marriage between us. I will continue to pay the School fees of my children including the last child. The N10,000,000 claim is not reasonable. I don’t earn that amount in a year. The houses referred by the respondent are mine and subject to my will. None has challenged my ownership. There is another claim of N10,000,000 monthly for the respondent’s maintenance apart from the N10,000,000 for the child. I don’t have that money. I don’t concede to the reliefs asked for by the respondent. However, I made an offer of monthly allowance of N20,000 to the respondent until when she remarries.
There was another property in Barnawa, Kaduna South worth N25,000,000 and renovated at N25,000,000. She can have that property. I want the marriage to be dissolved on the ground that we lived apart for 3 years. I urge the court to dismiss certificate of incorporation of my practice. I have the CTC of the certificate. It was my photograph, the name of the firm and stamp of the corporate affairs. The address on it is Ibrahim Taiwo Road T/Wada, Kaduna. This is the document
The document was sought to be tendered, but objected to, however the court admitted it and marked same as “exhibit P1”. The petitioner was cross examined.
I registered the business in 1986 or thereabout. It is a long time ago. P1 is not a certificate of registration but an application for registration. It was made on the 09/08/2016. It is an application for certified true copy of the registration of business name. It is so, on face of it. I removed one partner from the business last year. He was appointed a judge of the FHC. I used to maintain an account in London. I cannot remember that I asked her to deliver any letter to the bank in U.K. I closed the account. Osajile Isiram still works with me. He is the Director General, Kaduna head office of my business. I copied the letter to her because she is my wife. This is the letter copy.
The letter was admitted as exhibit P2.
I can’t remember that I wrote a letter to consular British High Commission, Visa Section asking for Visa for my son. I can see exhibit P2; paragraphs 1 &2. I have an office in Zaria and also in Abuja. There is no Zaria partner. There is no Abuja Partner. I am the sole signatory to the business accounts. But there is UBA account to which she was one of the signatories. There is IBTC Bank Plc account. That respondent & I co-signed a letter to the Bank; the original letter should be with the addresses. This is the copy.
The document was admitted without objection and marked as P3.
As at 2015 the respondent and I were not cohabiting. We were not running the business of the practice together I don’t visit the Barnawa House. I only visit the office which is next to the house. I have never seen the title of the house. She decided not to go to my house at Gwarinpa since 2013. The house No:29 at cemetery Road, Zaria was given to my family as marriage gift, long after we developed the property. The other properties were built when we were married. I own them. The USA & UK properties were acquired during the pendency of the marriage. The UK property has our names on the title. She used to receive about N250,000 monthly from my pocket. That is not salary. I also used to give her monies for the upkeep of the home. She is the mother of all my children. Yes, you are right she plays the role of a wife, a mother and a lawyer in my office. She became a lawyer in 1995.