You are stunned visiting Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos. At the reception, you are welcome by two beautiful ladies sporting sky blue curly afro wigs on their uniform of sky-blue and orange-stripped shirts and black pants. Later, the Clinic Manager, Mrs. Tola Ajayi (wife of the Medical Director) appeared in a shouting orange afro wig. It was a beautiful sight. Smiling to welcome this reporter, she said, “We are celebrating Nordica at 15.” And from there, she began to talk about the journey so far, challenges working with her husband, their recent outing on Endometriosis, her lifestyle and lots more.
Over the years, you have been working with your husband, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, how has this been?
Well, I think I will call it great. Though it was a bit tough, I never thought I could work with him. He just came home one day and said, you are coming to Nordica. I was trained as a nurse. I was working at a neurology clinic. One thing I decided since the day I joined him almost 11 years ago was that when I’m at work I’m not Mrs. Ajayi, we will relate like I work for him. But the moment we get into the car, I become Mrs. Ajayi. When he calls me at work I answer, ‘Yes Sir’, that is the only way we can function because if you allow emotion to come in, you won’t be able to function, so I don’t put emotions to it at all when I’m at work, he’s not my husband at all.
Any challenges working here?
Sometimes, I have contrary opinion to his and because I cannot confront him, I just keep quiet. Maybe we now talk about it later. Sometimes, if I feel strongly against what he says I do send him a text or Whatsapp message of ‘No, No, I don’t think this would fly.’ We may be in the same meeting. I’ll just quickly send a message about my opinion on the issue because I will not want to oppose whatever he’s saying. That, sometimes, is a challenge. If I’m right, I will not let him rest until he listens to me and he knows. I will not let him rest. I will keep bothering him until he listens to me.
You are a sex therapist, tell us what it entails?
I do fertility counseling, I do sex, and I do relationship. They are all interwoven. That’s why I had to go for training so that I will know what to do talking to our clients. We have issues about sex among people who are fertility-challenged. Sometimes, they don’t even have sex again. Sometimes, it has become like once in six months, sometimes two times, some couples, maybe only during ovulation, and other clients, it’s a ‘No, why are we doing it?’ Sometimes, you see the men coming to the clinic unable to produce semen [and you think] maybe there’s no erection. The man would come in to confide in me, ‘madam I don’t have erectile problem o, I can perform outside. It’s only with the woman’. Sometimes, they don’t find each other attractive again, so there’s no sex. Meanwhile, the man says he’s fine outside. Looking at that, it’s not a sexual problem, it’s a relationship problem. Things like that you have to work on it for them to get over it.
You are really hot fashion wise. Has it been like this?
This has always been me. Right from growing up, this has always been me. I had my low cut almost 20 years now because my last daughter is 16 years and I have started wearing low cut before I was pregnant of her. I just got fed up one day and I cut my hair. I just like to be happy. I believe that the situation in the country might not allow someone to be happy. When you look at the situation around you, you will not be happy, but I choose to do some things that will make me feel good. My dressing is one of them. I do not owe anybody any explanation. Whatever will make me happy is just what I want to do. There are two colors. Nordica has orange and blue. I bought five orange, five blue afro wigs. I picked orange. I use the wig to express how happy we are. On Valentine’s Day, we use white and red, during Christmas, we use green. For Independence day, we wear green wigs; endometriosis, we use yellow wigs because that is the colour for endometriosis. I know someone who makes wigs. She has a factory. Anytime I need a particular colour I will just let her know and she will make it for me. It’s the norm here, part of our dressing anytime we have to celebrate. I order for the colour of the day of the event. We appear this way because Nordica was 15 the day we had endometriosis gala and because of the event, we didn’t feel the anniversary celebration, so we decided to make some fun with our clients. And they all love it. Seeing the colours make them feel so good.
You recent endometriosis day/gala night, tell us how it went?
It was a beautiful outing. The turnout was impressive. We had the awareness walk in March; we always want it to coincide with International Women’s Day. We had a walk and a lot of people joined. Diamond women and it turned out well. The awareness of endometriosis is gaining ground in Nigeria. Someone will call to say, I think I have a friend who might have endometriosis from what you people are talking about. We are getting there. We are not yet there. A lot of people do send messages on Instagram, or Facebook messages to Dr Ajayi that they have endometriosis, how can you help? We also had a special roundtable, where we invited two doctors from Germany to have a talk with our doctors on the current diagnosis and management of endometriosis and the turnout was very impressive. To round it off, we had endometriosis gala night. We wanted to raise awareness and see if people can donate to the foundation. It’s a way to tell people to support the foundation. We had the media merit award that night which was the third edition. We also had secondary school essay competition, the second edition and incidentally the school that won last year also won this year and the English teacher was recognized.
Even as a grandmother you look good, tell us your secret?
Now, I exercise. I wasn’t doing that before. I eat right; I eat lots of vegetables and fruits. I don’t eat late. I drink a lot of water. I take about 4.5 litres of water in a day. I exercise and I pray. Up till two years ago, I wasn’t doing anything fantastic. I eat whatever I want to eat, I changed because I saw a friend diagnosed with cancer and it progressed until she died and that really shook me. From that moment, I decided to have a change in my eating pattern. I don’t stress myself because I know that whatever I’m not in control of, I cannot do anything about it, so I don’t put it in my head. But my look has always been a blessing from God. Even my style, I grew up with that type of life with my mum. She used to be a major distributor of lace materials when we were much younger. Then, we were not wearing many dresses, we were so much into lace and gold. That was my style then. I wore lace and gold a lot until I met my husband and my dress sense changed.
What kind of clothes do you prefer to wear?
To work, I wear everything; I wear trousers, but now I’m beginning to tilt towards three-quarter pants and a jacket. I’m doing more of that now. I like to wear trousers a lot. My casuals are usually like top and jeans, leggings and top. I love my Owambe (party)outfits too.
Congratulations on your anniversary once more, can you tell us the number of children given birth to at this centre since inception?
We have about 2,500. Why we cannot say this is the number is that some people when they get pregnant, we don’t hear from them again. Sometimes they even change their phone number. Sometimes, they don’t know it’s for their own good because we want to see how the children are growing, because we probably need to look into their developmental stages because a lot of people still believe that IVF babies are not normal babies but we are saying they are normal babies and I want to see them grow so that we can monitor them. We want to see their performance in school. The ones that we have now, we monitor a lot of them and they are doing very well. That’s why I will not want to put a number but we have about 2,500 and we count more because we have a lot of multiples, we had five babies, four, and three, there are plenty of twins.