By Glam & Essence
Renowned fertility doctor and Founder of the fertility centre,NORDICA turns 60 on march 15,2021,and one person who has been excited about this birthday of his is his lovely wife,Ranti Ajayi,as she has been celebrating her husband’s upcoming 60th birthday,with many looking forward to a party to celebrate him.
In this interview with Susan Eyo Ikpe,Dr Ajayi says that won’t happen,not the corona virus still to be contained.Dr Ajayi,however is grateful to be 60,as he never thought he would attain that age.Read on.
How does it feel turning 60?
I guess it is great,because it is only by His grace,especially in an environment in Nigeria,where you are in constant dread of everything,including the health services,though l’m a doctor,l know.
It’s by His grace if you live up to 60,especially if you live and there is no known medical condition,that’s a rare condition,so it is great.
What were the things you U listed out to do before turning 60,and were you able to get them done?
I didn’t have anything listed,because l didn’t expect to live up to 60.
Ans:Maybe because my parents didn’t live to be 60…l didn’t have the vaguest idea that l would be 60,but it’s okay.It’s great to be alive and well.
So how has the journey been for you so far?
It’s been an experience so far.l really don’t have anything on my marking scheme that l haven’t ticked. But now,lm setting myself some new goals.
What would you say has changed about you as you turn 60?
Without my knowledge, l have become more patient,l think it comes with the package.You are more mature,you look at life and take everyday as it is,a present.l have also been lucky that l have not had to put my hand into anything that l don’t need to.l think it’s grace,l cherish everyday as the day that God has given to me to do good.
What are the new lifestyle changes you plan to incorporate into your life now that you are 60?
Seriously,l just intend to keep doing what l have been doing,exercise a little bit more and change my diet now,as l know that l can’t be putting anything in my mouth.Once in a while,l still indulge,l have a very sweet tooth,so that,lm trying to control now.The good thing is,l really don’t feel like l’m 60.
Looking back at your work as a renowned Fertility doctor as you turn 60,what makes you feel fulfilled with the work you have done so far?
Hmmmm!,l think that’s the area of my life that I like the most,that l have been able to bring smiles to so many couples who,obviously had lost hope in that area,especially in this part of the world.No matter what you achieve,if you don’t have children, it’s like something big is missing from your life. To be able to meet that need is joyful for me…..But sometimes,even when we fail,what is important to me is to be able to get you to understand. You know,in this part of the world,what I say is,what is different between us and the advance countries is the fact that the people over there,the general knowledge is so much.We have a lot of specific knowledge but very little general knowledge.The fact that l can help people to understand what is happening in their bodies is gratifying for me.That’s why l take patient dedication very seriously.Knowledge they say is power,so the first thing is that, you need to know and be free from some of the shackles of the people who are taking advantage of other people.
What would you love to see adopted by people as it relates to what you do as a doctor that could make life easier for them?
People should pay more attention to acquiring knowledge,especially now that knowledge is everywhere.But what we like is the opposite…Like religion for instance,people are religious but they are not godly.The hard things,we don’t want to know,but we like listening to fables.How can you be going to night vigil and you are not working and you want to be rich?..Na so?.
If your tubes are blocked and you say you are not doing IVF,so what do you want to do?!The first thing is that,you need to understand how your body works,what is wrong with you and what are your options Those are important things to know And God is so merciful that He has given us so many options now.So we should be able to take some of these options.We should see how we can make our people get out of ignorance and it will make life easier for everybody,both the doctors looking after them.
Black people need to come to terms with Science, God is in charge of Science.The bible says secret things belong to God,the things that are revealed belongs to the sons of men.So when God has revealed things to us, He expects us to use them.So when we still fight with Science, it’s crazy.
Talking about your work at NORDICA,what are you still looking forward to see happen at the centre at this stage of your life?
Plenty o!.Anytime l wake up,l’m like a 30- year- old,my dreams are like a thirty year old,because l still want NORDICA to be a global brand,at least an African brand and before l die,a global brand.For me, we have just started,we are scratching it on the surface now We need to make our mark,at least ,when you mention NORDICA ,that everybody can resonate with it.People ask me why did l set the centre up and my answer is so simple, l saw that in Nigeria,businesses don’t outlive their owners. But l decided that mine must outlive me.So when people say to me that l’m opening branches and l’m not there, people will do this and that there,my response to that is,let them do it,because you must learn to trust people when you are alive,and build the system when you are alive.So that when you are gone,things will continue to run.For me,we are still a long way from getting to where we want to get to.
Do you think the awareness for IVF as an option for having children is wide in Nigeria now?
There are two things to this .Awareness in terms of knowledge has improved drastically from when we started,but access is still limited in the sense that the cost,not many people can still afford it.Infertility problem does not know a rich or poor man.For access to be available especially for people who don’t have financial strength,access to IVF is still a big problem.That is one of the problem we have at the moment.
Is there anything NORDICA does for such people to help them get access?
Yes we do,but it’s not just enough.We have NGO set up to take care of such people,which we call Fertility Treatment Support Foundation,offering free IVF.We also go into collaboration with people who have likeminds,like the Ibidun Ighodalo Foundation that gives free IVF support.We are constantly aware that there are so many people in that category that need IVF but can’t afford it.
Your wife has obviously played a major part in the growth of Nordica,was that deliberate and how does it make you feel?
Let me say that it was purely accidental.When l started NORDICA, I swore that l would never work with my wife.Not because of her,but because of the experience l have seen,how some wives destroyed their husbands businesses by laying unnecessary claims to some things and prevent growth. I thought she would not plug into my vision,but when we started, necessity became the mother of invention,l need her support.And maybe because of her kind of person,she just fitted straight into that vision,that NORDICA was not about Dr Ajayi and his family.NORDICA is what we would want to hand over to other people after us.She bought into the vision and she has been marvelous.
How long have you been married and how would you describe your wife and her influence to your success as a doctor?
Well,we have been married for 33 years this year.
We are old,isn’t it…(laughs)
We started early.Maybe because of her training as a Nurse,that has helped us.Of course,l think from the get go,she saw my dedication to my work,because you need someone who understands that.The one thing you can’t play with is my work.She quickly got that and it’s made us to work well together. And she’s contributed immensely, we are unlike poles,she is the outgoing type,while l’m not that outgoing.I have learnt some few tricks though,but l go to the deport mode,which is being by myself,being in a corner thinking of things.
She has been celebrating you prior to your 60th,so how do you plan on celebrating,taking into consideration the pandemic restrictions?
Ans:I didnt know that until this question.l think she is doing that because l said there is not going to be any party,because of the Corona virus pandemic. Everything is on zoom.Until this is over, there is nothing like anyone having a party.
Qtn:As you turn 60,is there anything you wish you did differently?
I’m someone who doesn’t miss what he doesn’t have,so, maybe what l would have done different would probably be to have stopped drinking alcohol a long time ago.I just stopped about three years ago.
So how do you keep fit and healthy now?
I go for walks more now and watch what l eat,courtesy my wife.l have cut down on the chocolate and the cakes.