From Funsho Arogundade’s FB page.
Joel Olayinka Ayefele is about to cry. Actually, the man close to tears was exceedingly overjoyed while narrating his triumph and God’s faithfulness in his life. Ayefele’s watery eyes morph into a smile of satisfaction as he talked about the physical and emotional pains he has had to endure for over two decades. Of course, millions of people know by now that Ayefele survived a ghastly auto accident on his way to Abeokuta from Ibadan for a radio show on December 12, 1997. That was to later confine him into the wheel chair. “I give God the glory for sparing my life after the auto accident. If I had died through the accident, it’s possible I would have been forgotten, but here I am today,” Ayefele said edgily as he sat on his motorized wheel chair in his spacious office at his Music House Headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Indeed, Ayefele has every reason to thank God for his life. From the experiences as a man who has had an active 31 years of life on his feet but now confined to the wheel chair for the past 20 years, all you can gleaned of is nothing but an intriguing stories of faith, family and confronting life challenges.
The music maestro has had to endure severe pains even till date as he always groan terribly for almost 24 hours in a day because he still has five broken ribs yet to heal. “After over 20 years of the accident, I still have that persistent excruciating pain every day. But I have learnt to live with those pains because if I have to take to those non-steroidal painkillers, it might later cause damages either to my kidney, lungs or liver. That’s why I ensure that I get myself busy at all the time to wave off those pains,” he said.
But it’s not only physical pain that Ayefele had contended with. The 51-year old owner of fast growing Fresh FM network of radio stations —Ibadan, Abeokuta and Ado Ekiti— has also battled emotional pains of not having his own biological babies until recently. While many think it cannot happen, Ayefele never waver in his belief in the spiritual power of God as well as modern science. “For so many years, I visited various mountains to pray for God’s interventions as well as visited so many hospitals home and abroad for series of tests and treatments. You know, Yinka Ayefele is on a wheel chair and a lot of people see me as someone who cannot have sexual intercourse with a woman. Many think I cannot have erection because of my situation with the spinal cord injury that I suffered. But after series of test in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States, I was told that medically, everything is okay with me and my wife. We then intensified effort on treatment but several failures,” Ayefele told this medium.
However, the music crooner and his wife, Temitope —who he met few months before the accident— decided to weather the storms together. For many years, they tried several other expensive options including IntraUterine Insemination, IUI and In Vitro Fertilisation, IVF, all resulting to failures. But he never gave up on himself. With snide talks and several innuendoes, Ayefele, however, untie those strings believing it will happened one day. To him, he also knew he’s medically fit to perform what nature gives him as a man.
“I am very fit and can perform virtually every other thing any man can do. I am very agile, despite the pains, but I try not be restricted by the pain. I live with it. I don’t have any other health issues than the fact that I cannot stand on my feet. At the initial stage, I only feel the sensation limited to my shoulder from my head. But with time, I felt the entire sensation all over my body down to my toes. Yeah, I can do what any other man can do,” the entertainment mogul said, laughing and breaking into a bigger smile as he was then reminded of the reports which trended on the rumour mill that he already fathered two children before now.
He however cleared the air on that. “I can understand why they think so. Some got confused when I held two different naming ceremonies here at the Music Complex (in Ibadan). Unknown to many, those kids belong to my younger brother who was living with me. I have always seen those children as my biological children and I shoulder their responsibilities. More so, I have been using them as a point of contact with the belief that one day God will answer my own prayers and blessed me with my own children too.”
And at the appropriate time, January 18, 2019 to be precise, God heeded Ayefele’s prayer as he finally clung to his lean frame bosom his biological bundles of joy.
According to him, he was hoping for one but got three beautiful kids —two boys and a girl— as a great surprise. The triplets —Richard, Eniola and Raymond—came to this world at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States where Temitope was put to bed. “I couldn’t explain the feelings. Is it how I felt at each stage of the pregnancy till the day she put to bed? On the day the result of the pregnancy test was confirmed to be positive, I nearly run mad. But on the night my wife finally put to bed those babies, it was an unexplainable moment for me,” said Ayefele.
Yet the music star delayed the announcement of the good news. Even when the news finally leaked, he denied the reports until they were six months, prompting theories and various resounding questions around the existence of those babies. “To be honest with you, I was so afraid because those children were born premature and they were so tiny then,” he said with calm mien.
“I was so afraid looking at them in such state at the intensive care unit of the hospital. I was so worried about their condition and afraid of losing them after so many years of waiting. So, you can understand why I had to conceal the news of their arrivals until they were fully grown”.
But at a point, according to Ayefele, his Pastor cautioned him about denying God’s gift to him. “My Pastor told me that God did this and that He, who gave me those kids, will preserve them. He said I should not deny their existence any longer. He encouraged me to blow the news to the world of the God’s blessings so that God can be praised. And that was when I decided to finally confirmed the news in June. But I was initially afraid because of their look at that point but I thank God they are all big and looking robust now,” he said.
By any measure, Ayefele is a generous man in ways large and small. He has been giving back to appreciate God. While he champions no particular cause, most of his charitable efforts, done primarily through the Yinka Ayefele Foundation, fall into two categories: empowerment and fertility treatment (for obvious reasons). It was his long fertility challenges that inspired him to float a help group to assist other families facing similar challenge but incapacitated by finances.
“Before I had my triplets, we started a programme called “Fertility Community”, a group where we assist families that need children. Those that want to go for IVF, we support them with certain amount of money as sponsorship for the fertility treatment,” he said.
“There was even a family we supported through our programme that already has a quadruplet at the same hospital in Ibadan where my wife was treated before she conceived.”
Ayefele’s own familiar meteoric rise could be the stuff of screenplays. His power and success penetrate music, media and hospitality industry. But has anything changed about Ayefele since the arrival of those babies? He responded in the affirmative: “Aside the joy of joining to wean the babies at home, things have changed positively for me in every of my endeavors. The triplets are Omo Alalubarika (Children of blessings). Since January, I have been celebrating their birthday every month. To tell you, since their arrival, I have increased in many ways. Starting immediately my wife conceived, we started the test transmission of Fresh FM in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Three months into the pregnancy, we got the license to start another Fresh FM station in Ado Ekiti. So, Fresh FM is three years old and I have triplets.”
From C2C GROUP, we say congratulations to the Music Mogul and Father of the triplet.