Why I don't like watching my father on TV-Mojisola, Papa Ajasco's daughter - NIGERIAN NEWSORBIT


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Why I don't like watching my father on TV-Mojisola, Papa Ajasco's daughter

Papa Ajasco and daughter, Mojisola

Mojisola Ayoyinka is the first daughter of Abiodun Ayoyinka, better known as Papa Ajasco, for his role in Wale Adenuga’s popular soap opera ‘Papa Ajasco and Company.’ In this interview with GODFREY GEORGE, Mojisola offers a glimpse into her father’s life off the TV screen
Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Mojisola Ayoyinka. I am 31 years old. I was born on February 2, 1990. I went to Lagos City Polytechnic and bagged a Diploma in Business Administration. I have my own business at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos. I deal in phones and phone accessories. I am from Ogun State. My dad is from Ijebu; my mom is from Abeokuta. I am the first daughter of Mr Abiodun Ayoyinka, better known as Papa Ajasco to many.

 Your father is a famous actor, having acted the character of Papa Ajasco for over 15 years in the Wale Adenuga’s soap opera. How would you describe him?

My dad is a very caring man. He is very jovial. He is my ‘world’s best’. Words cannot describe him at all; no words can adequately capture what he is to me. If you meet him for the first time, he is someone you can go along with, because he is very free-spirited.

What kind of relationship does he have with his children?

He is a very busy person. I am the first child of the house, we are just two girls. Despite the fact that he was always busy, he has always been there for us. He would squeeze out time to always come and see us, take us out and make us feel happy. He is a father that you’d miss whenever he was away, because of the life he brings when he is around. Everything comes alive around him.

I didn’t use to stay with him as a child. I was staying with my grandmother. Much later, when I turned 14 years old, I moved in with him, and I have been staying with him since then. It has been very blissful, I must confess. Sometimes, for a month or two, he may be on a movie set and we’d be left all alone at home. But he always comes back, anyway. One thing I’d love to mention, which I think everyone should know about him, is that my dad is quite funny in real life. There is no dull moment with him. He is always laughing and making others laugh. During the weekend, he would take us out to eat after church. He is a religious person. He loves God and doesn’t joke with prayers and church services. So, most of the earliest memories I have of him were those we spent worshipping God.

As a child, what kind of treatment did you get from people as daughter of the popular Papa Ajasco?

I have to honest with you, life as a celebrity’s child is very difficult (laughs). It is very hard. Any little thing you do or don’t do, everyone’s eyes would be on you. So, my dad would always warn me to be careful in whatever I was doing as I could not afford to be like other children. He would say in Yoruba, “You know how this life is. Anything you do, they would say it is Papa Ajasco’s daughter that is doing this or that. Please, don’t disgrace me!” It was very tough growing up. The truth is that humans will always be human.

When I was in secondary, I remember my dad was the brand ambassador of Chi Limited then. In my class, no one knew I was Papa Ajasco’s daughter. Even if I told them, they expressed deep disbelief. I did something wrong in school one day and they asked me to call my parents. I went home, and even though I was hesitant, I told him. He didn’t say anything that day, only for me to see him in my school the next day. He walked straight to my class. When my class teacher saw him and recognised him, she was like, “Ah! Sir, how may we help you?” She was blushing so hard, I could see it in her face. He said he was there to see me and the entire class went wild with excitement. They couldn’t believe they had been in the same class with the child of Papa Ajasco all the while. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t know how to react. It was like I should just hide or disappear, because this meant all eyes would be on me and the things I did.

After then, people began to ask me to tell them the kind of person he was at home, where my mom was, what he loves to eat, where we lived and what the experience was living with him. It was so funny, because even my teachers were not left out. They also joined my classmates to ask questions about him.

He must have told you how he met your mom. Would you like to share the story?

That is a long story. I think they met when they were in school. My dad was in the Obafemi Awolowo University then. My mom was a student. They gave birth to me and that is about the only thing I knew then.

I grew up under the care of my grandmother, but moved in with my dad at 14, as I told you earlier. I am not one to meddle in the matters of my parents, but I know that up until I lost my mom in 2015, at times, there were issues, but they were not irreconcilable differences. If you saw them playing together, you wouldn’t know it was the same people who, just moments earlier, had an argument. When he went to a movie location and didn’t come back on time, my mom would call him to ask him if he wouldn’t be coming home and what he would eat if he was. She would be so worried like it was the first time he was going to be staying out late working. You could see that they loved each other from their actions.

How did he receive the death of your mother?

He was not around then. He was in Ghana for business. I called him and told him my mom just gave up. He was quiet for a while. He was confused. When he came back, he held me and urged me not to cry. It was a really bad experience, but who are we to question God?

Were there some fond memories he shared with your mom that you know about?

I cannot forget the vacations. Those were very fond family moments I would never forget. When she died, a lot of things changed. I am now an adult and the urge to always go out with him has been overtaken by our different daily activities for a better life for all of us. I miss the good old days, though.

Growing up, would you say your dad was a disciplinarian?

(Laughs) No, he was not. Don’t just mess up and don’t lie when you do (mess up). Tell him the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He hates lies so much. Apart from that, he is very calm. He is an understanding father. My father never laid his hands on me, not even for one day. He didn’t even shout or nag at us. When my friends in school told me how their dads canned them, I was always wondering how that was possible, because all my dad ever did was talk to me. He has never raised his hands to hit me or my sister since I knew him. All he does is talk.

What do you feel when you watch your dad on TV perform as Papa Ajasco?

The funniest thing about this whole thing is that I have never watched that show in my entire life. I see it on TV and I steal a few snippets, but I haven’t sat down for the 30 minutes it runs on Saturdays then to watch an episode from beginning to end.

Why was that?

I don’t know. I cannot tell. Let us just say I don’t like watching it when people are around, because of the questions I’d be subjected to. If he danced, they’d ask me if I knew he could dance. If he laughed in a certain way, they’d ask me if I knew he could laugh like that. Too many silly questions and that put me off entirely. But I really love the ad song. Once they start the first line, ‘Papa Ajasco and Company’, you’d see me joining in and dancing, but after that, I moved to my room.

Would you say this happened because of how it felt to watch your dad on TV?

Exactly, that would be it. He is my dad. For instance, if someone comes and tells me they saw the show on Saturday and it was interesting, my response would be like, ‘Wow! Good!’ Then, when I got home, I’d ask my dad what his last episode was about and all that. Also, I think this disinterest might also be because I loved to read his movie scripts. I think I prefer reading the script to watching the performance.

Is there any difference about his character as Papa Ajasco and as Abiodun Ayoyinka?

There is no difference between how he acts in Papa Ajasco and how he behaves in real life. He is just as jovial. Apart from the fact that he wouldn’t tie his wrapper with his suit like he does on the show, he is just as funny as he was on the show. There is no difference. If you are with him, just get ready to laugh out loud. You may even start to tear up from laughing too hard. He is a very funny man.

Now as an adult, how often do you get to see and talk to him?

Well, you know adulthood comes with some level of independence. We don’t really talk that much now, because of both our busy schedules, but when we do, we make sure we talk about everything. Now, we talk maturely. It is not as lively as it was when I was a child. We now have serious talk about life, family, career and every other thing. Though there are still moments of laughter in between, it won’t be as it used to be when I was much younger.

Do you guys visit your village, Ijebu, often?

Of course, we do. Sometimes, we visit the village twice in a year. My dad, my sibling and I spend a few days before we return to Lagos, our base. The experience is so beautiful. I cannot really explain it. The crowd which accompanies us when we drive in is unprecedented. It feels so surreal that these villagers are not tired of seeing his face. Whenever they see him, it seems like they haven’t seen him before.

Did he tell you about his childhood?

Not really. All I know is that he is the firstborn of his mom out of three boys.  He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth though, because his mother was very rich. They gave him a good life, I would love to think.

What sacrifices would you say your dad has made to take you to where you are now?

There are too many sacrifices. Some move me to tears. He is a very selfless person, who’d put his children first before anything else. He was even the one who helped me get my office on graduating from the polytechnic. I remember when he called me and asked me what I wanted to do after I left school. I was so confused. He schooled me on some business tricks here and there on how to do business in Nigeria and survive the harsh economy. The money I used in starting my business in Alausa, he gave it to me.

How does he relax?

If he is not on location, he hangs out with his friends. He comes home and takes us out.

What is his favourite food?

My dad likes eba and efo riro (vegetable soup).

How does he like to dress?

He is a simple dresser. You can see that evident in his style. He doesn’t like stress. Once he has a clean shirt and a nice pair of trousers, he is good to go.

What kind of music does he like?

He likes most of the songs of the 80s or even earlier. His favourite were songs from Ayinla Omowura and Sunny Ade.

Who are his close friends?

My dad does not have a particular set of friends. He doesn’t keep friends. He is a very busy person, so I won’t be sure if there are people who were his close friends, but I know he didn’t bring a specific set home for dinner or lunch. He is a friend of everyone; this is evident in the way he greets people anywhere he enters. He makes sure he leaves smiles on the faces of people.

What would you say has been his  biggest influence on you?

My dad is more like a mentor to me. He taught me how to be independent even as a young Nigerian woman. He taught me not to be afraid, but to face my fears.

Would you say his name has opened doors for you?

There was a day I was in a commercial bus, and someone who knew me called me ‘Papa Ajasco’s daughter! Papa Ajasco’s daughter!’ and everyone in the bus turned to look at me in amazement. They were so surprised. Even the conductor said I shouldn’t pay the fare for the bus. If I want to quickly seal a deal and I mention my name, it makes the dealers eager to give me the work, just knowing that I am Papa Ajasco’s daughter. His name has definitely helped me. I sell phones in Alausa today, it is because of my dad’s name. There are some places I have entered today only because of my dad’s name. When I tell them I am Papa Ajasco’s daughter, they don’t think twice, they would just give me the job, because they believe I should be equal to the task.

When it comes to relationships with men, what reactions do you get from male admirers when they find out you are Papa Ajasco’s daughter?

When they do find out about whose daughter I am, it changes everything. That is when you’d see a man bring all his problems to you because you two are dating and you are Papa Ajasco’s daughter. This is why I don’t tell people about it. I just get along with you and just talk. Once I tell them, everything changes. They would start expecting more than I can give. At the end of the day, the relationship wouldn’t last.

Did you ever consider going into acting like your dad?

I wish to act, but my dad said he doesn’t want that for me.

Why is that so?

I don’t know. He has been acting for over four decades. If he says no, then, there must be a good reason for doing so.

Would you say your dad has got his due accolade after his many years on TV?

I don’t think so. He can still do much more than he has done. He is just 62. There are still some grounds he needs to cover. He is also a good dancer, and I don’t think he has explored this part of him. I would want him to do more on this. He is a legend.

Culled from The Punch

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