Nigerian singer Yinka Ayefele recently marked 20 years, since the accident he had which left him crippled. He spoke more about the aftermath, read the interview below:
t’s been 20 years you had the accident that changed your story in many ways. What are the reflections you have at this stage of your life?
First and foremost, I give God the glory for sparing my life; my reflection is that the spinal cord means a lot to every human life and that is what I usually recall whenever I remember that accident that almost took my life.
The accident also further helped me know how important our spinal cord is; each time I remember the pains I am going through, I reflect on the importance of spinal cord at all time.
For the first two weeks of the incident when you laid on the hospital bed, what was going through your mind?
I thought it was the end of the whole thing, 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 spinal cord and its value in human lives. It was then realised the importance of the spinal cord.
So when I was told that I might be confided to a wheelchair for life, I thought I was going to die, but eventually I made up my mind and told God that I wanted to live and I would still walk again; it was a proclamation.
I didn’t want to die and at the end of the day, I’m still living because we were about over 40 that were brought to Neurological Department of the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan (UCH) at that same time- virtually all of them died, I was the only survivor. I thought it was going to be the end for me, but God is indeed awesome.
You’re about 51 years old now and you’d enjoyed walking unaided for nearly 31 years but had also endured being on a wheelchair for 20 years. Did you ever compare the times?
I can tell you authoritatively that life on the feet is far better than being on the wheelchair because you are restricted when you are on the wheelchair and lots of things you should do would be done for you.
The pains and the restriction alone are cumbersome because at the time you want to get something done you cannot do it if there is no assistance. But if you are on your feet despite being poor, you can still run around to get things done. But in all, I give thanks to God who has always been my shield and helper.
Would you have preferred to be standing on your feet and be poor to life on a wheelchair as a rich professional?
That’s technical. Well, if I have been on my feet, I know where my mates are and I know how we used to struggle together and how far they’ve gone. The truth is that if I’m on my feet; I won’t be where I was, definitely, I would have forged ahead and maybe become what I am now. But maybe for a reason or purpose, God has His way of doing things and He just said, ‘sit down’. Maybe if I am not sitting down, I would have gone to where I’m not supposed to be found.
How would you react to those who feel you prefer to be on the wheelchair so as to continue to enjoy proceeds of patrons’ empathy?
Can one prefer or choose to be in pains? I’m in terrible pains 24hours because I have five ribs broken and I still have that persistent pain. I learn to live by them every day because I don’t want to be taking pills, it might cause damage to my kidney, liver or lungs.
So, I decided to live by it everybody. So I cannot say I prefer living in pain; it’s impossible. Maybe if I would have worked towards relocating abroad doing music or something else that will make me prosperous.
Some have also argued that because your spine is affected, your virility may be the first casualty…
Medically, I am very fit including every other area you may have doubts. I am very agile despite the pains, I try not be restricted by the pains. I live with and by them. I don’t have any other health issues other than ‘Yinka’ cannot stand up.