Interviewed By Quadri. R. Atanda
Sir, you are well known for many of your impactful advice, yet people still want to know more about you, can you tell us about your origin?
My name is Ayodele Olusola Adeyemi, my father is Pastor Zaccheus Ajileye Adeyemi from Ajowa Akoko in Ondo state, while my mother is Mrs Juliana Adeyemi from Ile-Ife in Osun state. I was born and bred in Ile-Ife.
Tell us about your family background, parents and siblings and how your growing up years were like?
My father was a pastor and my mother was a petty trader. We were six children with only one female as the first child, and she is the popular Rhoda
Which schools did you attend sir?
After my secondary school education, I went to Kano and gained admission into Kaduna polytechnic on the same day my father died, so I could not process my admission. I had to wait till I travelled to the United States of America before I could continue my education at Community College in Baltimore. Thereafter, I returned to Nigeria to study Law at Lagos state University. Presently, I’m studying public administration at Joseph Ayo Babalola University.
How were your formative years like?
My formative years were wonderful and hectic, since we had to hustle to make ends meet,I hawked everything my mother sold from garri, pap, titus fish, tinko, ekuru to moinmoin and so on.
After school life, what careers or fields of human endeavour did you involve in and which organisations did you work in?
I worked at Restaurant Africana from 1985 to 1992, then I left for the USA to school, I worked in several places in the USA before I relocated to Germany. I returned home to venture into entrepreneurship, investing in eatery, poultry, procurement, with sales and supply of general goods.
As a widely travelled person who has been to several parts of Nigeria which in itself constitute a form of education and exposure, can you tell us about what your experience of Nigeria as a Nigerian looks like?
By my own experience, I see every part of Nigeria as unique in their own way, however, I discovered that all Nigerians are kind if you respect them and their culture.
On a lighter note, tell us about Restaurant Africana, and the other side of you?
Hmmm, that’s a long story, I had about seven years of experience in Restaurant Africana, and it was my first experience of life. So, let’s keep it for another day.
What are the values and virtues that have shaped you into who you are today?
The best of values that shaped me into who I am today are basically my mother’s wisdom and her resilience
What about your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life is simple, ”a life of no impact is a life of no value”.
Come to think of it,”Omo Iya Rhoda” as your identity has become widely accepted, tell us more about it.
Iya Rhoda is a whole book, I really can’t say much about her, because whatever I say will not be sufficient. The only summary is that she was a very wise and intelligent woman. When she speaks, nothing more to add. That’s why we say,”leyin oro, ko si oro mo”(after the speech, nothing to add again).
Which particular project has been the most challenging for you in terms of work or initiatives?
I don’t think I can reveal this for now, because I’m yet to overcome the challenge
Is there any particular experience you can never forget till you depart planet earth?
Ah!Ah!Ah!Ah!Ah! There are many of them, but the day I slept by the sea in Martinique is a unique one.
What led to you having to sleep by the sea in Martinique,how was the experience and how did it end?
Hmmmmm, I really don’t want to reveal much about that experience, other than to say it was my struggling days. I simply did not have money to pay at the hotel again and I went to the seaside just like any other tourist, and I began to sleep there until I got a job to move on.
Many relationships are crumbling nowadays, what advice do you have for those going into relationships, courtship or marriage?
Relationships crumble these days because most couples don’t speak the same love language, same love language is always the nexus where both lovers should meet when there is crisis. Secondly, there are lots of discrepancies on how couples meet these days.
That reverence, the way we have onitiju (people we revere) in those days, the way we used to fear someone in one corner,” please don’t let Mr Lagbaja hear o”, there’s nothing like that again. We import foreign culture that we don’t have full understanding of , then use it to water down our own that we loved and respected before.
What factors differentiate marital unions of yesteryears from those of today, because it seems there are more relationship break ups nowadays?
Well, I honestly don’t believe too much in marriage counseling, because no one cap fits all, each relationship is unique. However, all I can say is, every couple should take up John Maxwell’s theory that says,” concentrate on your strengths and manage your weaknesses”, with that, you will enjoy your marriage.
As a father what advice do you have for fathers out there to help them build stronger bonds with their spouse and children on the home front?
Bonding with children is simply to listen to them and be involved in their lives.
Can you tell us about books and intellectual works that you have to your credit?
Well, the only book I have written is, “Pot of wisdom”, but it is not yet published, I have written over 150 articles that are majorly based on family values and my mother’s lessons.
Recently you won an award, what was it all about and which other recognition have you been bestowed with?
The first award I won was the one given to me by ”Egbe Isokan Yoruba”,in Washington DC. It was given to me because I composed an anthem for the organisation and that anthem is now used as the song of Yorubas in diaspora. Then, during the Covid-19 lockdown, some organisations just decided to honour me because I tried to lift peoples burden financially during the pandemic by using my Facebook page to raise funds for those in need. I think it is my calling.
As a public relations personnel, what have been your up and down moments in the industry?
I’m still new in the field so I have not really had any major experience, though I always feel bad when I call for fundraising and people don’t respond on time.
Being a man of influence, you must have been influenced by some mentors and role models, who are they?
Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, Maya Angelo, Malcom X, Nelson Mandela, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Bishop David Oyedepo. Above all, Mrs Juliana Adeyemi……Iya Rhoda.
How do you manage to combine your roles as a dutiful father, loving husband, marriage/relationship counselor, let me even add that you are more of a life coach; where do you get the energy to do all that and double as online and offline personality with significant influence?
I hardly sleep beyond 1am every day, most of my works are written in the night. I’m also involved in politics but I will like to keep that under wraps for now.
What’s your favourite brand of music?
Rhythms and Blues is fine, preferably Robert Kelly.
So, what dish makes you salivate being your favourite?
Amala(yam flour) with good vegetable soup, preferably ugwu (fluted pumpkin).
In addition, what will you like people to know about you or what do you have to add that will be beneficial to people out there?
Nothing. In fact I have never revealed this much about me before.
Thank you for finding it convenient to grant this interview.
Thank you too.