50th Birthday Exclusive | My Life of Fame, Women & Scandals—Romance Journalist, Kayode Ajala + “Why My First Marriage Didn’t Work”

The King of Romanmce Journalism, Kayode Ajala in his youth at 24 when he took over as Executive Editor, HINTS Magazine
I am sure many of us and indeed, a lot of  Nigerian youths of the late 80s and early 90s
know the name Kayode Ajala as we all
grew through school reading his works in either Hints, Hearts or Sweet Heart and many of the various
magazines where he sired his gift of romance writing.

Till date, he remains the
“Godfather of Romance Journalism in Nigeria” and that is why when he clocked 50
on Saturday February 21st 2015, I decided to chase him and ask him
questions about the history of his life @t 50. It all started with a “Birthday
Wish” on Facebook by his lovely wife
and eatery merchant, Madam Linda Fash
Ajala
. She had opened a kind of “One-Hour-Count-Down-To-My-Hubby’s 50th”
campaign on facebook which got a lot
of responses from family, friends and well-wisher across the world. I had
equally interviewed Madam Linda Ajala
in their posh Ojodu GRA home 3 years ago when clocked an auspicious age like
her husband and the interview was published on this blog. I heard madam didn’t
stop at the facebook campaign, she
equally set up a low key celebration with a special cake, sumptuous meal and
drinks for friends and well wishers who took time to visit their Lagos home.
Forty eight hours after the event I made a call to the romance king for an
opportunity to interview him which he obliged and immediately granted me the
opportunity.  We met around 4pm inside
his new office somewhere in Ogba Aguda area of Lagos, South West Nigeria and
the encounter which is quite revealing took place. It is a compendium of  all the issues that characterized the life of
the romance journalist from the start of his secular career down to his new
found  divine career through a call by
God to serve in the vineyard as an Evangelist in the Celestial Church of
Christ, Calvary Parish.

The Romance King, Kayode Ajala

The Resume…

The name Kayode  Ajala keeps ringing
bell from Nigeria to every corner of the world. He is more like an institution
but that name was never built with brick and mortar. It is a name that came
with the test of time spiced with the trajectory of a life of hard work, society
adoration and career poise. Some three decades ago, the name drew a cult hero
worshiping that cut across the crowd of young people especially of the opposite
sex. The name Kayode Ajala was known
for one thing-R-o-m-a-n-c-e! He was
the king of the art, the prince of the trade and the scion of the dynasty that
was created by the lawyer-writer Dr. Ibe
Kachikwu. Kayode Ajala
who was rated by the Local media as Nigeria’s
youngest and most paid editor in the early 90s at age 24 had all the pecks of life at his beck and call. Handsome,
gifted, friendly and generous, he earned the respect of high society but also
unintentionally sulked the emotions of the opposite sex, grabbing their
attention and they came after him in droves and gave it to him in high dosage.
He was then the poster boy for love, romance and sex and what next? Controversy
came over him like a torrent of water; either because of his sensual height as
a dashing young man or because of his gift of penning words that drags out
sexual feelings from the opposite sex. But in the end, Kayode Ajala was romance
journalism
and romance journalism
was Kayode Ajala. The English
graduate alumnus of Ogun state
University
, Ago-Iwoye has grown out of it all today. After years of marital
and business experiences that could make a blockbuster movie, the King of
Romance Journalism clocked 50 on Saturday February 21st.
It was a time to reminiscence over the event of the past three decades and reviews
a new chapter of his life as an Evangelist
of the Celestial Church of Christ
The King of
Romance Journalism
gave your soar away
Africa’s number 1 Celebrity encounter blog, AsabeAfrika the authentic story of his life of  whirlwind fame, romance, success and scandals.
From his success in the media, scandal with women that lap up his creativity
and failure in businesses due to youthful exuberance , Kayode Ajala gave us a memoir-like revelation. Enjoy the excerpts.
 

Kayode Ajala to Asabeafrika….’When you marry for all the wrong reasons in life, the marriage is bound to crash’

How I feel @ 50   

Sir, how will you define your
experience at 50?
Well,
at 50 I feel the journey has just begun. I feel really reinvigorated; they say
50 is the golden age and they say it is the age when new things begin to happen
in the life of a man. I feel it is a new beginning, I am refreshed and most
importantly, I am very thankful to God because when I was much younger, when I
see people who are 50 years old, I feel these are old men but today I am 50 and
I don’t feel like an old man. I feel as young as ever. I mean, it is amazing.
So, I am happy. I am thankful to God that at 50, I am this healthy, at 50 I
still have a lot of things that I want to do; I feel really energized to do
them. I owe God all the gratitude.
 “Yes, it is true I was the youngest
in that crowd of Dele Momodu, Mayor Akinpelu, Kunle Bakare, Seye Kehinde, FAJ, Gboyega
Okegbenro, Shina Peters
and the rest of them. I was the youngest but I will
tell you something. When I look back now with the benefit of hindsight, I think
God has planned everything out for me because it wasn’t my making. I never
struggled. I didn’t strive for what I became at that time”
Kayode
Ajala to Asabeafrika….Funmi Davies remains a friend and sister but I
wont discuss our relationship because she i respect her new status as a
married woman

Did you nurse a fear in the past over
growing to become 50?

Well,
maybe when I was much younger and when I say much younger, maybe in my 20s and
my 30s and I was consumed with the pleasures of the world. I was a
fun-loving-happy-go-lucky person, maybe at that time I used to be scared of
getting old but somewhere down the line and I cant really pin-point when that
happened, I think I received a touch and I began to lose interest in a lot of
things that used to interest me and this must have happened well over ten years
ago. All those things that used to interest me, hanging out, playing around,
having fun, drinking, smoking, I have done it all; somewhere down the line, I
don’t know when it really happened I stopped being interested in those things
and I can’t explain how it happened. I think gradually, people noticed that I
was no longer part of that tradition and they began to leave me to my own new
ways. Yes, because at that time I used to receive a lot of invitations, I used
to receive a lot of visits from friends, dragging me out to do things together
and I really used to look forward to them but somewhere down the line like I
said earlier on, I don’t know how it happened I began to lose interest in those
things and those calls and those invitations would come and I will just brush
them aside, I just wasn’t interested. It wasn’t because I was incapacitated in
any way, but I just lost interest. I can’t explain it and when that happened,
all the fear about getting old also vanished with it. I was 50 two days ago, I
look forward to being 60, I look forward to being 70, I am not scared of
getting old; no, no, I am not and I am not scared of death either. Because it
is when you are not right with God and when you are not doing the right thing
that such things scare you, if you have a covenant work with God and you are
worshiping him in truth and in spirit and you have received the touch of God
you are not going to be scared of such things when you know you are doing the
right thing.
“I cannot imagine myself now at 50,
keeping late nights; I cannot imagine myself now at 50, having a string of girl
friends. I cannot imagine myself now at 50, drinking excessively like I used to
do and smoking excessively like I used to do. 
One, it will destroy my health, it will destroy my home, it will destroy
my marriage; what will my children look up to in me?”
Kayode
Ajala (Middle, back row) in the 90s with Sir Shina Peters, FAJ, Lord
Mayor Akinpelu, Basorun Dele Momodu & Billy Adedamola

How I became a celebrity @ 24

You are one of the very few men who
made success at quite a tender age; at 24 you were already the editor of
Nigeria’s most thriving romance journal, Hints. How would you describe the
impact of that success on your life at the time as your career colleagues like
Dele Momodu, FAJ, Mayor Akinpelu, Billy Adedamola etc were older than you do?
Yes,
it is true I was the youngest in that crowd of Dele Momodu, Mayor Akinpelu,
Kunle
Bakare, Seye Kehinde, FAJ,
Gboyega Okegbenro, Shina Peters
and the rest of them. I was the youngest
but I will tell you something. When I look back now with the benefit of
hindsight, I think God has planned everything out for me because it wasn’t my
making. I never struggled. I didn’t strive for what I became at that time. I
did not strive for it, I did not plan for it, and I did not work for it. Yes, I
went to school and thank God I went at the right age I came out at the right
age; I did my NYSC at the right age. Well, maybe not at the right age, maybe I
had an advantage of doing some of those things at a younger age than most
people because when a lot of my peers were just getting into university I was
already out. So, when I look back now, I did not do it with an effort. I did
not sit down to chat and plot my graph of life. That is why I said I think God
has designed it from day one, He is the master planner; He is the master
architect. I think He has planned it and I want to thank God for that because
He gave me the opportunity quite early in life to do a lot of things, to
achieve a lot of things that even now people at my age, 50, are striving to achieve.
Some are striving for the limelight, some are striving for recognition. Some
are striving for position even at 50, 55, and 60. I am not striving for all
those anymore because I achieved that in my 20s and it came on a platter of
gold. 

Kayode
Ajala to Asabeafrika…’Many things i got on a platter of gold in my
younger years are things people of my present age are struggling to get
now’

Another thing I thank God for is that the wild life that people live, I
was able to live and go through that at a very tender age. In my 20s and my 30s
I had all the fun that anybody could imagine; I dined with the high and mighty.
I don’t know what else you want to do that I did not do and at the right time
also, the master planner Himself put a stop to it and I lost interest in all
those things. So, now, when I see people at age 60, 50, 55, doing certain
things I get easily irritated. It irritates me; maybe because I have had the
advantage of going through that, I see people getting into excessive drinking,
I see people getting into women at an age when they should be redefining their
relationship with God that is when they are doing all these. I just must thank
God that my own life was planned by God the way He planned it and I did all
those things at the time I did them in my youth, when I was young and the way I
see it, what I am doing now is what I should be doing. What I did then was what
was what I should have done then. I cannot imagine myself now running the
street; I cannot imagine myself now at 50, keeping late nights, I cannot
imagine myself now at 50, having a string of girl friends. I cannot imagine
myself now at 50, drinking excessively like I used to do and smoking
excessively like I used to do.  One, it
will destroy my health, it will destroy my home, it will destroy my marriage;
what will my children look up to in me? My children are grown ups now and then
at the age when my children are grown up I begin to keep late nights and
perhaps not even spend nights at home because I am in one club or the other or
I am in one party or the other. If I am doing that now, then I will be doing
the wrong thing at the wrong time. Like I said I did not plan it that way, I
give God all the glory. I became editor at 24, I hit the limelight about the
same time; I drove some of the best cars that anyone will wish to drive. I
lived in good houses, I travelled the world. I had relationships with women. I
did all those in my 20s and in my 30s, I did not plan it. I did not plan it, I
did not plan it. I think it was God.

“I can remember so many instances
where women will practically throw themselves at me. Some of them, much older
women, some of them my age, some of them younger, it was crazy; I used to
receive mails in thousands. Thank God in those days we did not have the GSM, I
am sure my phones would have exploded from phone calls and test messages and
all that; but it was incredible, it was crazy”.
Kayode Ajala to Asabe Afrika…’At 50, i am not afraid of anything, even death’

I was not able to handle the surge of
women because….

You grew large to become the
Godfather of Romance journalism in Nigeria and one chapter that remains so
paramount with the institution called
Kayode Ajala was the one that has to do with women. In those days, you
had it great with almost all the good women in town. Maybe because of your
prowess at writing good romance tales, a lot of women wanted to have Kayode Ajala
in their arms, in their bedroom and if possible as their love concierge. How
were you able to survive all the tides and waves of emotions from the opposite
sex?
I
was not able to handle it. I am not going to sit down here and tell you that I
was able to handle anything with women. I couldn’t handle anything and I could
not have handled anything with women because one, I was young, I was
inexperienced. I was exuberant at that age. Expectedly so, and I had my fun and
I had a couple of scandals as well, concerning women. You see, with the kind of
job I had at that time, editing a romance magazine that was very popular with
the opposite sex and with young people, the exposure to women was incredible.
The exposure to women was just incredible; I can remember so many instances
where women will practically throw themselves at me. Some of them, much older
women, some of them my age, some of them younger, it was crazy; I used to
receive mails in thousands. Thank God in those days we did not have the GSM, I
am sure my phones would have exploded from phone calls and test messages and
all that; but it was incredible, it was crazy. I would have had to be a saint
not to have keyed into the pressure that came from women. I would have had to
be a saint and truly I was not a saint. I enjoyed myself; I am not going to lie
about that. I had my fun. When it came to women, I didn’t have quite a good
reputation because I was just young and I was just taking everything that came
and it was only by the grace of God that I was able to survive because I know
people who did not do half of the things I did who are no longer alive to tell
the story but I was able to do those things. Maybe the innocence with which I
did them because I didn’t know and there was nobody really, to guide me at that
time; there was nobody to guide me. I just took everything that came to me, I
enjoyed myself, lapped it all off like a puppy and in the process I got into
trouble a couple of times. But like I said, I am happy that I am alive to tell
the story. A lot of people would not have been here to tell the story. 
“I enjoyed myself; I am not going to
lie about that. I had my fun. When it came to women, I didn’t have quite a good
reputation because I was just young and I was just taking everything that came
and it was only by the grace of God that I was able to survive because I know
people who did not do half of the things I did who are no longer alive to tell
the story but I was able to do those things”.
Kayode
Ajala to Asabeafrika….’At 24 I was celebrated as the youngest editor,
drove the best cars, lived in the best apartment and had the best women
around…’

Why my first marriage collapsed…

In the course of your celebrity
status, you lost your first marriage and there were different opinions in town
at the time; some said she was the one that was unfaithful to you while others
said ‘oh, it was Kayode Ajala’s celebrity status that led to the break up. What
can you lay claim to be the real cause of the break up with the mother of your
first two issues?
When
you get married for the wrong reasons such things would happen. When you don’t
get married for the right reasons, such things would happen. And what are the
wrong reasons for getting married? You go and get married because everybody is
getting married and you think the time has also come for you to also get
married, you will get into trouble. You go and get married because you think
the lady is very beautiful and that is just what you want in a lady, you get
into trouble. You get married because you think the lady has money or you think
the man has money and then you jump into marriage with the person, you get into
trouble. What am I trying to say here? I think with the benefit of hindsight I
got married for all the wrong reasons and inevitably it did not work.
Kayode Ajala to Asabeafrika…’from my youth age i never struggled to be a star because God the Ultimate Planner planned it all’

Who was to be held responsible
between the both of you?

I
will not lay blames and I will not also claim that I do not have a fault in it
because I was young and perhaps I was not quite ready to be tied down. And
perhaps in her own case, she didn’t also go the extra length to make it work.
Kayode Ajala to Asabeafrika…’As a young journalist i was a happy-go-lucky-chap’

But are you still in touch with her
and how is the relationship?

Well,
there are two kids in that marriage. When you have kids in between there will
always be a relationship. Weather that relationship is cordial or not, there is
always a relationship because somewhere down the line and in-between, if you
don’t interact, you will have to interact because of those children. So, that
is the situation. Whenever we have cause to interact, we do. But strictly over
the children because there are two kids in-between, a boy and a girl and am not
going to wish that away. So, if we have to relate, we relate strictly on that.
Was there ever a move for
reconciliation?
Well,
at the time I took a decision that I was done with that marriage, there was
nothing anybody could have told me. There was just absolutely nothing because I
did not just wake up one morning to take a decision that I would be better off
without that marriage. I also taught at that time, that she would also be
better off without being married to me. I hope you understand?

Gbenga Dan Asabe of Asabe Afrika meets the Romance Journalism King, Kayode Ajala for the encounter
I do
So,
I believe that we would both be better off living apart. I taught it was the
best thing for both of us or else we would have become sworn enemies, the
relationship would have become destructive to both of us. So, I taught the best
thing at that time was for both of us to go our different ways and you see, one
thing that a lot of people do not know about me is….. except those who are
close to me, it may take me a long time to take a decision, I don’t take
decisions hastily. I take my time in taking a decision and sometimes in certain
cases, it may take me years to take a decision but once I take a decision, it
is final. I tarry a lot I do not rush into anything, it is one of the lessons I
learnt. It also happened when I decided I was going to get married; nobody was
able to discourage me. I remember my late father tried to discourage me at that
time; and he called me one day and said ‘are you sure you are ready for this
marriage?’. My father called me when I told him I was getting married, he said
‘no’, I said ‘I am sure’ he said ‘no, I don’t think you are ready’. He said
‘because you are out there, you are in the limelight. Too many women, I hear
things about you, I read things about you. I am not sure you are ready for this
marriage’ But I had made up my mind that I was going to get married. So, I went
ahead and got married. The same thing happened when I decided I was done with
that marriage, I had taken my time, I took decision and I think the decision
was a good decision.
But did she offend you?
Well,
you cannot live with a person for eight years and you won’t have cases of
conflict. Even the tongue and the mouth, they clash and yet they live within
the same cavity. So, it will be an unusual situation if you live with a woman
for eight years and there are no disagreements. There were disagreements but
for me, the over all reason for taking the decision to move on was that I
believe, and I still believe that both of us are better off to stay apart.
Kayode Ajala revealing the story of his early life to GDA

Please, don’t discuss Funmi Davies….

Another very interesting episode of
your life was your celebrated romance with the female broadcaster Funmi Davies
now Funmi Davies Farodoye. Many people taught you guys were very compatible but
again, the relationship didn’t sail through. What can you say was responsible?
Funmi remains a friend and a sister but I
won’t want to talk about my relationship with her because I know she is happily
married now and I want to respect that status. She is happily married, I am
happily married. I think we should respect those two marriages by not talking
about them. 
(Watch out for Part 2 of the Kayode Ajala
Exclusive tomorrow titled
“How I became Nigeria’s Number 1 Romance Writer” + “How I escaped
assassination after I left Heart Magazine”)

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