Nigerian popular gospel singer, Yinka Ayefele, who dishes out melodious music from his motorised wheelchair has finally opened up on his ordeal and triumph being married for 22 years without a child.
The broadcaster cum singer speaks with Potpourri in an interview at his Ibadan studio, to celebrate the public announcement of his triplets.
How do you feel to be a father after many years of marriage without a child?
I am the happiest man on earth, after being married for 22 years without a child. We give glory to the Almighty God, it’s a bundle of joy, my triplets came on January 18, 2019 at Holy Cross Hospital in the USA. It is what I have been waiting for, for so many years and I give God the glory. I was praying for one child but God surprised me with triplets; two boys and a girl.
How come the triplets are your first kids when it was reported that you have done naming ceremonies for children that were presumed to be yours?
Well, my siblings and their children stay with me and according to Yoruba tradition, your siblings’ children are yours too, so, I have been a father to their children and I have been using them as a point of contact that one day God will answer my prayers too. I have been taking care of those children, handling everything about them and they are still my children.
For some people, after having triplets they would want to stop at that; should we expect same from you?
I don’t mind having triplets, even if I can go as far as having 20, I really don’t mind because the pain of looking for a child was so aggravating. It wasn’t easy going to mountains for prayers, going to different hospitals, both at home and abroad, doing one test to the other. Yinka Ayefele is on a wheelchair, people think I can’t get a woman pregnant because of my situation, because of my spinal cord issue. Eventually, God blessed me with triplets.
Did you at any point give up on having a child?
One thing about Yinka Ayefele is that he’s a stubborn and a strong believer. I never give up. I always want to win. I don’t believe anything is impossible with God. I just believed one day he would do it. That’s my own way of life and I believe one day I will walk again.
How did you manage family pressure; were you at any point pressured to take another wife?
No, at all. I was never pressured. I enjoyed the support of my family members supporting my wife and encouraging us to keep praying. I was never advised to take another wife.
Can you tell us how you met your wife?
I met my wife through a friend, Laitan Adebiyi who is her cousin. I was working with Radio Nigeria, Ibadan, at the time. She has stood by me since then. I have been singing before I met her. I used to belong to a band known as “Message of Time Band”, which was attached to Assemblies of God’s church. I did a cassette then titled ‘Nigeria is for Jesus’ although the song was not as popular as the Ayefele’s songs. So, I have been singing before I had accident and before I joined broadcasting.
How do you describe your kind of music?
I’m a gospel artiste, a gospel singer and I call my kind of music ‘Tugba’. The usual way of playing gospel music in the old days is quite different from the way it’s being played today. I designed mine differently, it’s my own way of preaching the word of God and my own way of winning souls. I have different kinds of people listening to my songs. I have the Muslim fans, Christian fans and other kinds of people who dance to my music.
Are you saying you are very religious …
(Cuts in) I’m sorry I don’t need to prove to you that I’m religious. I know my relationship between me and my God. I know the extent of my belief and how I accepted Him as my personal Lord and Saviour. Even if I tell you, it’s between me and my God, you will only hear what I tell you but deep down is between my God and I. I know I’m a ‘born again’ Christian.
We notice you always release one album a year, what is the big idea behind it?
When you are a star you will always remain relevant. If I release two to three albums a year it will be boring. I take my thing to release an album and I make sure it is what people want. People can release as many albums as they want a year but I do my differently.
Why did you keep the good news of your triplets from people?
Yes, I even denied it once when it happened. When the news broke a lot of people were talking about it because my babies were very tiny because they were born prematurely. So, I was afraid to broadcast. I did not want to lose them after the long wait and according to a Yoruba adage that says if you broadcast a child you might lose the child, so, I decided to keep it within the family until they are fully grown and healthy.
That is why I denied when the news got out. But my partner told me not to be afraid, that God, who gave the kids will surely protect them and that was when I came out to tell people. I was initially afraid of how they looked, very tiny, thank God today they are big. It was hard to keep it a secret. A lot of colleagues in the media knew about it but I told them to hold on till the right time to broadcast it. I tried as much as I could to keep the news, I did not release any of their pictures.
What did you do when the news of their birth came to you?
It was stage by stage. Are you asking me when we first went for the pregnancy test or when the pregnancy was a month, 3 months, 6 months or 9 months, or during labour or the day my wife gave birth? I can’t explain it each month from the 8th day she was confirmed pregnant. I most ran mad when I heard she was pregnant. I could not believe it after series of attempts. I didn’t know who to explained it to, but the night she gave birth it was as if I have seen them together before because I have followed her to many scan sessions. It was like welcoming them fully that night. I can’t really tell how I felt that night.
Has anything changed since your children came?
People around me can answer to that question; a lot of things have changed positively. The children kin the family have been celebrating their birthday since the first month and every month after. I celebrate them too every month. Many things have changed positively in my life and I have been increasing day by day, blessings keep coming.