+How He Suffered His Spinal Chord Injury
Last weekend marked 20 years that Ibadan based music star, Yinka Ayefele suffered the accident that led to his Spinal Chord injury. To mark the anniversary, Ayefele gave back to society. He visited the Neurology ward in UCH Ibadan, where he was on admission then, for about11 months. He gave gifts to the widows at his Music House in Challenge and had a big party to celebrate his 20 years anniversary. Last week, the Ipoti Ekiti born singer for the very first time sat down with City People for 2 hours to recount his ordeal plus how his accident made him shift away from broadcasting to embrace music, which eventually gave him the popularity he enjoys today. Ayefele is a lucky man. He has in his life time actualised the 2 dreams he had when he was still very young. One was to be a broadcaster, the other was to be a successful musician. Today, at over 50, Ayefele has made a success of his dreams. He is not only an accomplished broadcaster, he runs a successful radio station, FRESH FM in Ibadan, where he also presents 2 popular radio programmes.
For somebody who started his musical career as a instruments parker for big names like Wale Toye Ajagun and who has played all the instruments like Guitar, Trumpets, he now runs a successful band that is highly sought-after. He told City People Magazine Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE the story of his life.
Tungba King, Yinka Ayefele has released his new album titled Living Testimony. “After 20 years, God has made me a living testimony”, he explained last week. “It is in celebration of 20 years of suffering his Spinal Chord injury on his way to Abeokuta from Ibadan.
Last week, he put finishing touches to this his new album. He started work on it last April. He has released the album. He has also released the musical videos for 2 of his previous albums, titled Fresh Glory and Upliftment.
“The album is done,” he explained. “It is coming out alongside the video of my previous album, Fresh Glory and Upliftment. The videos are coming out at the same time. So, its 3-in-1. So, it is my album; the audio of 2017 and videos of 2015 and 2016 albums. Its been a lot of work. I have been so stressed. Its been stressful. I have been on it since April but I have been able to reach a conclusion”.
“By the grace of God, we started the activities commemorating the 20th year; 20th anniversary of the accident last Wednesday. We went to the UCH, to the Neurological Department (North West 1) to encourage patients about life and give them some gifts. We also hosted the widows here at Music House, as many as we could attend to. We gave them food items and cash gifts. We also dedicated the hall built in my former school, Ipoti Community Secondary School, my alma mater. I built a hall for them. We will commission it as part of the celebration.
We also visited the less privileged and the motherless homes last week to encourage them and give them some gifts. Then, last Sunday we hosted eminent Nigerians here at Music House and we launch the 3 albums, the 2 videos and the new Living Testimony album.
How does he feel, when he looks back 20 years after his accident?
I give glory to Almighty God, it is not my doing, it is not by my might or my power or by knowing people. I think it has been the grace of God that has sustained me up till now. Each time I look back, I give glory to God for how far I have been able to go”.
For those who are not familiar with the story of his accident, how did it happen?
“It was on December 12, 1997. I was on my way to Abeokuta to stand in for the late Kola Olawuyi on his programme, Irinke Rindo Arole Akolawole Olawuyi. He was away in Germany and he was supposed to come back that night, then I took off Ibadan to drive down to Abeokuta to meet him. But unfortunately after leaving Orile Ilugun, I had an accident in which I sustained a Spinal Cord injury. I was the one driving in my Volkswagen Beetle car. It was so serious; I was coughing out blood. I had 5 ribs broken in my right chest. That is why I still have this persistent pain even up till now. I was later taken to a nearby hospital, then later to the UCH, where I was for almost a year. That was where they finally discovered that I had a Spinal Cord injury. I have been trying with it since then, the pains and the trauma of it. I am always in pains; I go through a lot of pain that many can’t imagine”.
At the time he had the accident and he was still in the wreckage, what went through his mind? “I felt that may be the end of Yinka Ayefele but thank God I just had the courage of saying that I am not going to die. I continued saying it that I am not going to die, that I will live. Behold, I am living today. That’s why I said I am a Living Testimony.
That is why I went to UCH. I went to encourage people going through such challenges. We need to encourage people in this condition. It is not easy at all. The pain is so severe. You are always in pain and then the restriction. When you want to do something by yourself or on your own, you have to wait on people. You can’t do things on your own. Its killing. You can imagine for someone like me, I used to be up and doing. I used to be agile. Suddenly, I can’t move around again without help. I have to depend on others. You can’t do something on your own. We have to let others know that they still have the life; they still have hope. When there is life, there is hope. God can do anything when you think of it. Its killing. It discourages one to live. But we need to let those affected know that their conditions can change. Miracles still happens. You still have to make the decision by yourself that you still want to live and you will definitely live and if you decide that you will overcome it, you will definitely overcome it. That’s the message we have been passing around, thats the encouragement we have been giving to those in that same conditions.”
It was after the accident that he abandoned broadcasting and became a musician. Tell us about Yinka Ayefele the Broadcaster. “Yes, before the accident before I turned into a musician, I was a radio broadcaster. I worked with the FRCN Ibadan (National Station), as a Presenter and Broadcaster. I started as their yearly Father Xmas but later turned to a Studio Announcer, Presenter with the FRCN. I presented programmes like Irohin Olongo on Wednesday morning. It’s an early morning Chi Chat Programme. Then Friday, Lagbo Faji and on Saturday, Temidire and Eku Isinmi on Sundays. That was what I was doing then. I happened to be one of the pioneers of those that introduced musical jingles. We composed songs for products.
I was one of those that introduced it. What people record and you will just read your scripts. But I later started composing songs for products. That was my major job then, Jingle Production. I stood our then. The pace of music which I used in the production of my jingles have been in me because I happened to be a Guitarist. Really…? Oh yes, I was a Guitarist. I was a keyboardist, I played Saxophone. I played trumphet. I was a member of the Boys’ Brigade, that was back home then.
When I first came to Ibadan, I joined the Agbeni Company. I was one of those that played last for Baba Awolowo’s burial at Agbeni Methodist Church in Ibadan were I played with Uncle Toye Ajagun, as a Guitarist with Micho Ade as a Guitarist. We started Wale Thompsons band together I was a Guitarist with Wale Thompson for years, before I joined FRCN Ibadan (the National Station) as their Father Xmas like I said earlier. That was how I joined broadcasting. I was basically into musical jingle production. I was into broadcasting presentation per excellence. That was what I was doing before I had the accident.
“I went to UCH. I went to encourage people going through such challenges. We need to encourage people in this condition. It is not easy at all. The pain is so severe. You are always in pain and then the restriction. When you want to do something by yourself or on your own, you have to wait on people”
People thought he was working with Kolawole Olawuyi because of that his song where he said Oga mi ranmi ni ise. Was he Olawuyi’s staff, he was asked?
I was working with him but I was not working for him. I just supported his dream. He used to give me jingles which I lived on then. Because of his patronage I got closer to him. Not as a staff, I worked for him. I followed him around. I support whatever he does. I produced virtually all his programmes themes. That got us closer and that was how I got closer to the late Kola Olawuyi. Musically, it was like a Yoruba translation, saying you sent someone on a message. Because of the philosophy of his kind of programme then, a lot of people read different meanings into the song I sang that you send someone this and this then happened. Singing that Oga mi lo ran mi ni ise, lo fi keregbe ran mi lo mi has nothing to do with the relationship I had with Kolawole Olawuyi. But eventually, it turned to something else of which I had to apologise to the late Kolawole Olawuyi. We reconciled before he died”.