Ace Fuji Artiste, Chief Kollington Ayinla was full of life and excitement as he welcomed this journalist to his home at Alagbado in Lagos State. In this interview, the veteran musician was full of regrets as regards one of his wives whom he said was a great stumbling block to his life and career. In the course of the interview, he would pause intermittently saying ‘Obinrin’ (women). However, he is grateful to God for sparing his life after 10 years of being bed-ridden and could still perform as a musician. In this chat, he talked about his latest album, lifestyle and lots more.
You are from Ilorin, Kwara State, what is your reaction to the current political development in the state?
Laughs…I’m very happy with the current happenings in IIorin. People are now jubilating about the unfolding development. What else would I say in the midst of plenty people? We thank God that our wish has now come to pass. What we prayed for is what is happening now. For a long time Kwara State was under the bondage of one person but God has now set us free. If someone is not a bastard from Ilorin, one would be rejoicing about the recent political development in Ilorin. I’m really happy at the development. This is because for a long time, people have derided us that we are slaves to one man. Today, we are giving all glory to God for liberating us.
You have been quiet, not visible as before, what is the cause?
That is how life is. Sometimes a famous person will suddenly lie low and the upcoming musicians would take over. They will now be the one enjoying all the limelight. Then later, another younger generation will surface to displace those ones also. That is what life is all about.
At times, old musicians do envy the new ones, why is that so?
My own life is not like that. I pray for the young ones to do more and achieve more than we did. In my latest release (Album), I prayed for new and younger artistes that all of them will prosper. I also admonished them to respect their elders because someday, they too will grow old.
Which songs made you more popular?
It is Ijo Yoyo that gave me fame
Did you envisage the popularity when going to studio for the song?
I didn’t. It is just like my latest song, Yuppie Daddy, it has gone viral. It’s just like Ijo Yoyo. The acceptability is great.
What keeps you looking good?
It is the grace of God and I don’t over stress myself. I do my things accordingly.
Do you have special food to stay this young?
No, I don’t. I eat well, and also do my exercise. I just put on my boxer short, and I walk round my house. I was a soldier and I walk round the house severally everyday. . That keeps me fit.
Any regret quitting the military for music?
I don’t have any regret. I wouldn’t have been what I am today if I had remained a soldier. So I thank my God for what I am today.
What was the reaction of your friends when they knew you were quitting the Army?
Nothing. I didn’t tell anyone when I was joining the Army. When I was leaving , I did that with my late friend , Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. He was the one that wanted both of us to leave. He always wanted us to quit.
Was he a soldier too?
Yes, he was. I started a year before he also joined in 1968. I joined the Army in 1967.When Sikiru Ayinde saw me in Army uniform, he admired the uniform and my cap. Anytime he comes visiting , he would wear my cap and ask if it fits him and I would said yes, he keeps doing that anytime he comes visiting until he finally joined the army. I was in Signal Department then based in Apapa barracks. But from there I was posted to Abeokuta. But when it was time to quit the Army, both of us resigned at the same time.
Then how did you go into music?
He (Sikiru) came to meet me in Abeokuta and said , Kola, we should go back to singing. We have been singing right from childhood. During Ramadan period, we used to sing to wake people up to pray early in the morning. Initially, when he said we should go back to singing, I screamed and said ‘Haa , what if they caught us and dumped us in guardroom [The Army authorities]’ But he said once he gets to Lagos, he would start going for music practice. Sikiru Ayinde later came back the following week to inform me he had started practising. He persuaded me and that was how I started practicing, not knowing that it would lead to my success. In 1975, both of us went on a trip to Mecca.
Did the Army query you for going into music?
They said nothing because we wrote letter for voluntary retirement and they obliged.
So both of you were that close, but there was a time you sang against each other in your lyrics
Yes, that is very normal. That is how it is in the industry. Our forefathers, also fought. Our baba, Haruna Ishola, late Ayinla Omowura, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, they all fought and later became friends. Sikiru Ayinde and I too fought but we also settled.
Why the fight, was it because of women?
No. It’s about rivalry. We attack ourselves in our lyrics, that’s just that. Not because of women .It was also part of the game ,what you call marketing strategy.
Did you settle your differences before his death?
Yes. We reconciled, and became best of friends before he passed away. When our children were getting married, we would put on same attire, and were doing things in common. We became very close. His death was very painful. His sickness didn’t appear to be life threatening when it started but God knows everything. I was the one that was even falling sick and he would always come to see me in the hospital. I thank God today, and I praise God everyday because I never knew I would still be alive today. The death of one of my wives also affected my health but God delivered me. I won’t lie to you, I was very sick and then late Sikiru Ayinde was coming to visit me.
What was the nature of you sickness?
It was later that we discovered that it was one of my wives that was behind my sickness using her diabolical powers. This woman was even bringing food to me in the hospital but God later exposed her. She comes to the hospital taking care of me but she was the architect of my predicament. Human beings are wicked, most especially women.
Why did she do that, she should know that musicians and women are friends
They don’t think that way. If we (musicians) don’t toast women, they will toast us. God is the only one that can protect musicians.
Did her action in anyway reduce your affection for women?
Not at all. They don’t write wickedness on women’s foreheads. Again, I can’t be hostile to other women because of her action but that woman tortured me.
Did you talk to her about it or challenge her?
I did. I challenged her but she denied. My prayer is that God will judge her according to her actions especially what she did to me. I was bedridden for more than 10 years. She wanted to eliminate me at all cost but God says no. She’s a real witch.
But they said musicians have powers too
God has all the powers. I have no power.
What lesson have you learnt about life?
My lesson is what I said my wife did to me, she did not allow me enjoy life to the fullest. Men should be wary of women. They should fear women. Women are so powerful. But the only time you enjoy them is while you both are still smiling at each other but once she changed, then trouble has started. I saw hell on earth. I was badly tortured. I went to different hospitals, different herbal homes within and outside Lagos, all to no avail but I thank my God now because I’m quite okay. Men should be careful of women. Once a woman turns her back on you, then you are in trouble because there’s no length she couldn’t go. When we took her to a native doctor to confess she said she was given a medicine called, Akoya [Charm to punish her oppressor] with her friend, insisting that she’s not a witch. Later, I found out that the word Akoya is a terminology for witches. When she was packing out of my house, the juju we found in her room almost filled one nylon bag, imagine that when she is not a native doctor. That woman tortured me for good 10 years.
Does this woman have children for you?
Yes, she has children for me.
What advice do you have for men looking for wives?
They should look well. She wasn’t bad when we got married, she just became bad suddenly coupled with influence of bad friends. She went to get the witchcraft with her friend. Only God can save men. We cannot save ourselves. Women, women women are bad, when they want to harm you, they don’t look back.
What is your favourite food?
Semolina and vegetable soup
Do you still dance as an artiste?
Yes, I dance very well.
You dress well years back and you still look good
I love latest fashion. Those days, I have different designers; Vivid Imagination, Latris , these are my designers then. But I’m still fashion conscious, our job demands that we look good and fine for our fans.
Any regret in life?
Women. God did well for me but I mistakenly married a bad woman. That is the only regret. I married erroneously.
I’m a happy person but the woman did not allow me enjoy my life as I should have, she made me spend a lot of money to heal myself. I went to several places seeking solution to my ailment.(hissed). I pray that nobody close to me , will meet a bad woman in life.
How do you relax?
I’m very homely. I stay at home when I’m not engaged anywhere. I stay in my house. I watch movies. I sleep, wake up and eat and I don’t drink. I don’t smoke also.
You don’t drink at all?
I used to drink like two bottles when we go clubbing with friends back then. But when I discovered that I get drunk with the two bottles and would come home to beat my wives, later, I found out that I’m the one guilty during the settlement of our quarrels. As this persists, I had to put a stop to drinking. My friends couldn’t believe it at first but I maintained that till date. I discovered drinking is not good for my brain.
But they say musicians drink and smoke to stay high on stage?
I cannot say yes and I cannot say no to that. But I don’t do it at all. I heard that musicians take stuffs to stay high but I don’t do it and it doesn’t disturb my performance on stage, it’s not the best.
Who do you take after growing up?
I look like my mum. She died 12 years ago. I am her only son. She pampered me like a baby. I lost my dad as a baby but my mum stood by me. She comes to barrack at Abeokuta and cried why I was a solider, she cried. The day I left the Army, she was very happy.
Why did you separate from Salawa Abeni as your wife?
It is this same woman that separated us.
How is your relationship with Alhaja Salawa Abeni now?
We are very, very intact. I call her and she calls me. My children are with her. One is in Canada and two are with her.
Are you the biological father of Salawa’s son, the musician?
Yes, Big Sheff. He also featured in my latest album.