The February 11, 2021 funeral of the late founder and Medical Director of First Foundation Medical Limited, Lagos, Dr. Tosin Ajayi, was laced with much drama that left many friends, family members and colleagues in awe.
The burial of the wealthy physician and businessman, who had interests in many companies, took place after series of court hearings and reconciliatory meetings among the deceased’s first wife, Adenike Ajayi, her five children, and their father’s wife, Helen Prest-Ajayi.
Kemiashefonloven learnt that the funeral service which held at the small chapel of the Ebony Vaults, Ikoyi, Lagos witnessed the sharing of two different pamphlets!
Helen Prest, whose celebrity friends were in attendance, printed her own burial pamphlets with her husband’s date of birth as March 1, 1952.
Then, another set of pamphlets was shared by the first wife and her children with the deceased date of birth inscribed as 1945 and aged 75 years. Prior to the burial, the children had ordered the police to investigate why Helen Prest was at their father’s office after his death to pick certain documents.
On why his client made away with some documents from Tosin’s office shortly after his demise, Helen’s lawyer said she needed vital information such as his date of birth and other bio-data, which would be included in his death certificate.
“One of the controversies was his age. So, she needed to consult documents. The documents she got revealed that he was actually 75 and not 68 as she had thought,” the senior advocate said.
Moreover, while the first wife and her children (four females and a male) opted for their mother’s Shepherdhill Baptist Church, Obanikoro, Lagos, Helen Prest invited Pastors Ituah Ighodalo of The Trinity Church and Kayode Pitan of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God, Ajah, Lagos (probably the church her husband attended before his death )
Recall the older children of Dr Ajayi had insisted that his burial be officiated at their mother’s church, while Helen had insisted that the deceased wished to have his burial conducted by the pastor of one of the RCCG parishes on the Island, where he worshipped.
The deceased was said to have refused to attend the weddings of two of his daughters that held at the Shepherdhill Baptist Church, for reasons best known to him.
By the time the funeral service came to an end and everyone headed for the graveside, every guest took to support who they came to honour. While Helen Prest , her three daughter and friends all wore white and gold, the first wife of the deceased and her daughters chose powdered blue attire and headgear .
At the graveside, the interment ceremony was laced with the pastors reading bible verses and rendering songs for the dead.
The dust-to-dust rites must have sparked the disagreement of the event.
According to the court rulings, both wives should be given equal rights throughout the burial ceremony. The court also ruled that after the first wife has completed the rites, the next person should be Helen Prest.
However, Pastor Isreal Kristilere insisted the older children of the deceased from the first wife should perform the rites after their mum.
At this juncture, Helen Prest grabbed the mini shovel used for the rites and told the pastor that it was her turn to do so and not the children.
Commotion. Arguments and shouts.
The deceased’s older children and their mum almost fought with Helen Prest Ajayi over the mini shovel used to pour the dust, and forcefully collected it from her.
The children, while struggling for the shovel with Helen kept saying, “Madam, respect yourself.”
Meanwhile, Helen’s celebrity friends including media personality, Mo Abudu kept shouting and urging her ‘to fight for her rights.’ They harped on her ‘25 years of marriage’ to Dr Ajayi and why she shouldn’t be treated ‘unfairly.’
The graveside almost turned to a wrestling ring but for the intervention of the pastors, some concerned friends and then, Dr Ajayi’s relatives, who were said to have been at loggerheads with Helen.
Their (Dr Ajayi’s relations) conducts at the graveside signaled support for the first wife.
“They are blabbers, let them keep blabbing,” one of the relatives of the deceased commented about Mo Abudu and other friends of Helen who were shouting at the ceremony.
In a viral video shared by Mediaroomhub, Kemi Ashefon observed that after Helen’s daughter, Tomisan Ajayi, performed the dust-to-dust rites, she hastened to give the shovel to her older sisters but Pastor Isreal Kristilere refused and said their names weren’t on the list of those who the court authorized to do such.
Helen Prest’s first and second daughters were products of her union with Jimmy Davies.
61-year-old Helen Prest was said to have met the deceased 25 years ago after he had been separated from his first wife, Oluyemisi Adenike Ajayi for 10 years.
A family friend of the Ajayis said that the deceased and his wife, Oluyemisi, a retired Chief Nursing Officer with the Lagos State Government, were legally married even though they were estranged as of the time of his death.
Currently the children have put up a press statement on the marital status of Helen Prest—she is single but was his [i.e. their father] “partner and civil companion for the past twenty-five years prior to his death.”