Twenty years after a life-threatening accident, Ibadan-based popular gospel musician, Dr. Olayinka Joel Ayefele, has revealed that he suffers no health issue than being confined to the wheel chair.
According to Ayefele, who owns one of Nigeria’s most-listened to radio- Fresh FM, ”Medically, I am very fit including every other thing (Laughs). I am very agile despite the pains because I try not to be restricted by the pain. I live with and by it. I don’t have any other health issues other than Yinka cannot stand up.”
Ayefele, who recently celebrated the 20th remembrance of the accident that almost claimed his life, said that he feels like jumping to dance many times while performing.
In an interview with Nigerian Tribune, he said: First and foremost, I give God the glory for sparing my life; my reflections have been based on what the spinal cord means to every human life. These memories flood back each time I feel the pains I am going through, so I reflect on the importance of the spinal cord at all times.”
On his alleged bitterness with his late ex-boss, Kola Olawuyi, he said: ”I will say that I was not grown then, but now I have learnt my lesson because if I had known, I would not have taken it to that extent because I now believe that God has purpose for everything that happens at a particular given period. If Kola Olawuyi had taken it upon himself then, maybe I won’t be where I am today; just like King Pharaoh insisted that Israelites would not go like that, God hardened the heart of Pharaoh for a reason because he wanted him to perish.
“Likewise, if Olawuyi had helped me like announcing on his programme about my ordeal while I was passing through pain, maybe a lot of people would have rallied round me to give me support financially; maybe I won’t be where I am today because I would not want to be unfaithful and ungrateful to him. But at the same time, well meaning Nigerians rose up and supported me during treatment. Although it generated a lot controversies then I still had to apologise to him because we just have to let it slide.”
Speaking on what was going on his mind two weeks after the incident as he laid on the hospital bed, “I thought it was the end and that I was going to die, but when I got to know that it was a spinal cord injury, I was a bit confused because I did not really know much about the importance of the spinal cord and its value in human lives. So, when I was told that I might be confined to a wheel chair for life, I thought I was going to die but eventually I made up my mind and told God that I wanted to live believing that I would still walk again. We were about over 40 that were brought to Neurological Department of the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan (UCH) at the same time, and all died, except me. I thought it was going to be my end but God is indeed awesome.”
He said that being on the wheelchair for 20 years is painful, adding that “I can tell you authoritatively that life on two legs is far better than being restricted to the wheelchair. The pains and the restriction alone are cumbersome because you may want to get something done but cannot do it if there is no assistance. But if you are on your feet, despite not having cash in your pocket, you can still run around to get things done. However, in all, I give thanks to God who has always been my shield and helper.
” Can one prefer or choose to be in pain? I am in terrible pains 24hours everyday because I had five ribs broken and I still have that persistent pain. I have learnt to live by it each passing day because if I want to be taking pills, it might cause damage to my kidney, liver or lungs so I decided to live by it. So, I cannot say I prefer living in pain, it’s impossible.
“Well, if I did not tell you now, nobody would know I am still passing through some pains. I just left downstairs playing with children because I love being around people that love me. So, whenever I am in such a gathering, I forget every pain and play along with them because if eventually I walk, they won’t have known who I am during the 20 years that had passed. So, I need to enjoy the time I have presently. Whenever I am on stage trying to make people happy, I am always ready to give them what they want.
“Several times! Most times, when I am performing, I want to jump out of the wheelchair, especially whenever I am on stage. Every minute I wish I could stand up because most times I make moves with my legs. Most times I want to show a lot of people that I am still very fit and whenever I see people dancing to my music, I feel like joining them to dance,” he added.