PROFILE OF PRINCE (DR) AKINTUNDE AYENi
CHAIRMAN YEM-KEM INT’L NIG LTD.
For one to write on a very young man who heads an organization tagged “the leading name in natural curative remedies” may be premature because the achievements recorded so far may be a child’s play when compared to what the future has in store for him. Born in Oye Ekiti in the early 60s. He attended Saint Patrick Primary School Oke-Parade, Ibadan Oyo state and Adelagun Memorial Grammar School Ibadan. He later obtained a Higher National Diploma Certificate in Fisheries Science from the Federal College of Fisheries Maiduguri, Bornu state in 1984 . Immediately he left school, he took to the profession, which carved an image for him in the society today.
Prince (Dr) Akintunde Ayeni believes that there is no limit to knowledge. He spends time and resources on research into herbal medicine. He has paid visit to Asian countries and Germany in search of knowledge in traditional curative remedies. It is worthy of note to make it known that these herbal medicines have been subjected to clinical test and found non-toxic and good for human consumption which is in line with the conditions set for herbal medicine by World Health Organization. The organization responsible for these tests is the Nigeria Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC).
The major products include:
BLOODCURE, ENERGY2000, NPFORMULAR, M&T FORMULA, M2 CAPSULES & VISION YK1000.
Apart from those listed by the NAFDAC, we have other 40 herbal formulations to his credit.
Through hard work Prince (Dr) Akintunde Ayeni was able to launch himself into international orbit as far as traditional medicine is concerned. The visit of Mrs. Harry Anderson (a representative of British Broad-casting Commission) to YemKem International Nig Ltd in February 1997 afforded the international community to have first-hand information about Prince (Dr)Akintunde Ayeni his company and the development of traditional medicine in Nigeria and Africa in general.
The interview he granted during that visit is relayed on BBC worldwide news periodically on the programme -DEVELOPMENT OF TRADITIONAL MEDICINE IN AFRICA. The second visit took place in August 2001 and our production center and its activities were covered during the visit.
The cassette is now lying in the archives of the British Broad-Casting Corporation.
Today YemKem International Nig Ltd maintains a network of branches to serve Nigerian people. The branches are located at Lagos (Maryland Office) Head office Branch, No 70 Ikorodu road, Ilesha, Ado-Ekiti, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode, Ilorin, Oshogbo, Oye, Ikorodu, Ikoyi, Idumota, Akure, Ibadan, Kano, Port Harcourt, Abuja. We have also opened branches in Europe and the United States of America. Our London address is as follows:
18 Beresford Avenue,
Wembley Hao lyp(London).
while that of the United States of America is
4223, 58, Avenue T4
Bladensburg M.D 20710
Prince (Dr) Akintunde Ayeni also diversified into film production. A lot of giant strides have been achieved in this regard.
Prince (Dr) Akintunde Ayeni is the executive producer of the following films.
IDE, KOTO-AIYE, ALAGA COUNCIL, EWURE IYA OSHOGBO, ORANMIYAN & JOGUNOMI.
These films were executed by Gold link Production & Communications Nigeria Limited which is a subsidiary of YemKem Intl Ltd.
YemKem International is now accessible globally through our website: http://www.doctorayeni.com and through our email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Prince (Dr) Akintunde Ayeni is a philantropist and a generous giver. He has made his presence felt both within and outside his place of birth. His philanthrophic activities cover religion, social and cultural areas.
He is now capped with:
(1) The BOROKINI of Alimosho Land in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos state.
(2) The ASHIWAJU Medical Herbalist Association of Nigeria.
(3) The BOBAGUNWA of Ilemosho Ekiti in Ekiti State.
Prince (Dr) Akintunde Ayeni is a member of the following clubs:
Lagos Country Club
Rotary Club of Ipaja District
Rotary Club of Idiaraba
He is also the patron of the following associations:
Association of Nigeria Theatre Practitioners.
Freelance Independent Broadcasters of Nigeria
Decent Ladies Club
Ekiti Progressive Association.
In recognition of his contribution to the society particularly the giant strides he recorded so far in the field of herbal medicine, many awards were bestowed on him both within and outside the country.
He is a catholic by faith, married to Cheif (Mrs.) Abiodun Ayeni JP and blessed with children.
In this encounter with Ayeni, he shared the story of his life with Tunji Oguntuase, Dele Adeosun and Rotimi Omole. Indeed, it is vintage and revealing. Excerpts:
When were you born and what were the peculiar circumstances surrounding your birth?
A: Well I was born in the year 1963 in ibadan to the family of Dada Orimekunluyi Ayeni(late), who was renowned traditional medicine healer. But the fact remains that the family was from Oye-Ekiti. My father migrated from Oye-Ekiti and settled at ibadan to practice Herbal medicine. Having said that, in Oye-Ekiti, the Ayeni family is well known for exploits in traditional medine. My great-grandfather was a traditional medicine healer of repute and at the same time a very powerful hunter. During his life time he used to turn a tiger while hunting. This is where the title- “Orimekunluyi” was derived. I was born into the families of late father Pa Orimekunluyi Ayeni and my mother who is still alive is Mrs. Adesoye, JP.
I attended St. Patrick Primary School Oke-Pade Ibadan Oyo State and Adelagun Memorial Grammar School In 1980. I later obtained a National Diploma Certificate in Fisheries Science, from Federal College of Fisheries,Maiduguri Bornu State in 1984.
I was told that when I was a year old I was very stubborn adventurous and brave, and that I do not even write down what my father would send me or how he goes about his work because the gift is already in-built in me and the work I’m doing is natural to me or better still, an endowment from God. History has it that at the age of one, the trait of becoming and sound herbal doctor became obvious my father therefore gave me all the opportunities in this world to learn the trade. Even when I am asleep, revelations always come to me.
From Astral world too, in turn, that can be experimented when one is awake and when such things are carried out they work tremendously. Likewise what I am doing today was never as a result of impartation I received from my father, it is as a result of experience. I think I got that from my father. My father was not the type that would ask you to take your pen and write things down unless you show interest and ask him.
He was very careful about this so that he would not control the choice of profession of the children. I could remember in the 70’s when my father married a woman and when all effort to make her pregnant failed, she was taken to Ago-Iwoye. The man we met there taught my father different types of medicine that can boost the chance of pregnancy in a woman suffering from infertility. I was the one that wrote the medicine down. And when we got to Ibadan my father told me to re-write the medicine and requested for the original copy, which I did. And from that book I learnt a lot about medicine that can make women pregnant. So in traditional medicine, documentation is very important.
Q: There is this particular story about how you were born that has to do with your calling. Can we have insight into the event?
A: You see, I was born a mystery child. Before I was born, my father was told to go through Ifa oracle so that the child he was expecting would be great in life.
You know in the olden days when a child was bor, he/she would be taken to Ifa oracle so that they might know what his/her future would look like through divination, what he/she should eat or not.
The problem most people have today time from neglecting that aspect of our culture. Today, you will see a professor that has nothing to show for his/her efforts. You see, there are things we are supposed not to eat individually from the spiritual body, which causes backwardness for some people if they eat such food. But had they been brought before Ifa oracle, Ifa would have told the parents the child’s sterling qualities or gift, his/her strength and weaknesses or his/her dos and don’ts towards achieving set goals in life.
Q: There is an adage that says: Behind every successful man is a woman and therefore, how did you meet the woman in your life?
A: That is a very good question. You see as a man you will have a lot of girl friends. But I am highly principled. Even I did not have any girlfriend until I finnished secondary school. My father was a disciplinarian who didn’t give room to any form of indiscipline to the extent that my friends were not even allowed to visit me let alone a girl. So he was able to guide me a lot. Before I got married to my woman, there was a lady that came into my life. She was pregnant and a baby boy but the body boy died along the way after nine months old of birth. As for my present wife, I knew her when she was in class 3 at Oye. I happened to see her when she was passing by my father’s house; I developed a special interest in her which prompted me to call her. Although at first, she refused because she was very young, but after much pressure from all directions such as writing letters, visiting and so on, she gave in. In fact, on the day I saw her, she was coming from the photographer’s shop. I saw her picture and found that she was very beautiful but along the line when she left secondary school, there was communication gap between us. I didn’t want to marry the lady that had baby for me, because she was the type that hates to see her in-laws or people around me. So when she had the baby I told her to look for another man to marry.
Consequently, she took the baby to my mother in Ibadan but the baby died some months later because he had been having one form of sickness after the other. What actually led me to accept the lady in the first place was that 1990 when my sister died, my mother was very anxious and was pestering me to get married. So when I look critically at the lady and found that we were not compatible, I told my mother would not marry her. She now said we should let her deliver and thereafter, we would look for somebody else.
Therefore, I had to go home to renew my “contract” with my present wife because I have not been going home while I was having relationship with the other girl. We have not been communicating again and we thought our relationship had ended. That was after a year she left school, so we had to renew our relationship. Then, I was living in a room and her father had already died. But luckily, she had a very good result and I then told her to convince your mother to allow her go with me to Lagos to look for a job or better still to further her education. My overtures now made her agree to come to Lagos. And that was her first time of visiting Lagos.
We were living together in my one-room apartment while I gave her result to a lady who happened to come from do-Ekiti and was working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). When the lady saw her result, she took it to her office and told me that it was likely they would call her for interview. So she further told me that if she (my present wife) got a job at CBN our friendship might not last, because another man’s could Snatch her, having known that I was still struggling and living in a room! And that she would not want the situation whereby accusing fingers would be pointed at her that she was the one that gave away my wife to another man by helping us get a job. Having said that, I sought her advice on what to do. She then advised me to first get her impregnated. So, after about six (6) months into her pregnancy, the lady now came to inform her that she has been invited for an interview but being pregnant the offer will not be forthcoming.
And that’s how we have been together. Our relationship has reinforced the saying that behind every successful man there is a good woman. So, what I have noticed is that we are very compatible and our coming together has brought fortune to us.
Q: Did you ever contract marriage with the first woman in your life?
A: Well, there was an idea. My present General Manager who happened to be a brother to my friend at Maiduguri and who was working at first Bank Plc then, was the one who drove me to Ibadan to see her family. I had the intention to do introduction, but her father objected to it, saying he wanted me to relate with her for at least two to three years within which I would be able to assess her and the conversant with her after which I could then come back to marry her. He didn’t want a situation whereby we would have done introduction only to come back after six months to disengage.
Q: Can we know how you started your calling?
You see it is an in-born thing, which runs in my blood. It is an idea of so many years. I cannot say how it started. What I knew was that after I finished my secondary school in 1980, I determined that I was going to be a renowned herbal doctor in this country. And that’s why I have been able to go into a lot of research work. You know there is no part in this Yoruba land that I have not been to search of knowledge through research. At times I would go to a certain town, stay there for two or three weeks. Sometimes I may receive a phone call telling me that there is a powerful herbalist in a particular town, I would go there to, spend about three months with him and whatever he taught me I would put down and practicalise.
That’s why I am well known at Akanran(a town near ibadan) because I had lived there for about a year , likewise Aiyegbaju-Ekiti and Obo village where I lived with a man named Apeye-Oko for more than eight months.
So, when doing all these things peope don’t see you but when you get to the top or succeed they will now be asking how you gotto the level.That’s why I tell people that the medicine I am formulating now is as a result of the knowledge I acquired over many years.
Q: One thing that I believe distinguishes you is your foray into Chinese and India medicines, comparable to Nigeria medicine. Now, why did you go into this areas and what are your experiences, research wise?
A: Well I went into the research of Chinese and Indian medicines so as to know how they produce their drugs, because people talk so much about Chinese and Indian medicine as a result of their presentation and packaging. So, for me to know that, I cannot sit down in Nigeria except by going to India and China. I visited the two countries in 1980. That gave me the opportunity to know how medicines can be capsulated and how you can protect your medicine in terms of preservation. It also gave me more insight into Herbal medicine.
You need to learn, and you can only learn when you move out of your domain to other places. So when I travelled to China and India to acquire more knowledge about their herbal medicine, I gathered a lot of information and acquired a lot of ideas from them. In the first place, if I didn’t go to India I would not be able to know that I can get capsulting machine from there if I even get the capsulating machine, where would I get empty capsules that there is no machine they have in their country that I cannot formulate in my country. But I have medicines in my country, which I cannot put in capsules, tablet or package very well. So I have to move out to see where and how they could be packaged. For me, I was able to gain a lot of things to the extent that the medicine they are producing in their country can also be produced in Nigeria. When I returned to Nigeria I decided that the first thing I should have is a factory where I would be able to produce my personal drugs. So I had to go back again, bought the machines that capsulate, and made arrangements with the company that produces empty capsule and a lot of things like that. Having successfully acquired capsulating machine, I later went for a machine that can produce liquid herbal products. I wanted It purchased in Nigeria at a given rate, which I considered expensive, I have to travel to India where the cost is relatively lower. So from that, I gained a lot of ideas, which assisted me a great deal. Take for example, one of our products – Energy 2000, which I used to put into about four or five jerry cans, and anybody could just get there, take his own and go away. But after so many years of producing Energy 2000 and having observed that the medicine is very good, I now sat down and started repackaging it. From that day, if people approach me for the medicine, I would tell them that it is now in bottles and that they should go and buy one. So when people now see and use it, they will notice that it is as potent as that of Indians and Chinese even in packaging. You see like our forefathers, they will prepare powder medicine and prescribe it to the sick. But because of our Western training and government inability to encourage the practice of herbal medicine in this country there was no room for encouraging our forefathers to document what they had done. As a result of thi,s many of our forefathers died with ideas and medicine, which could have been useful for Nigeria today. For instance in China, their government generates so much revenue from herbal medicine because they have documentation and because they have been encouraged to do so. You see the documentation and practicalisation of Chinese herbal medicine began in China before the birth of Jesus Christ and the documentation is still there today. But sadly enough, our government did not encourage this.
Instead of them going to villages or rural areas to meet our fore-fathers on assist them financially and encourage them to acquire lots of ideas and have the products and ideas documented in computers and archives, they would rather waste their money on western medicine which at the end of the day would not profer solution despite its attendant side effects. That is why most of these disease are killing a lot of people in Nigeria. Our forefathers knew the medicine but there was nobody to deliver it, so they have died together with their ideas. That is what we are trying to reverse. Therefore, we are trying to leave a legacy for our children to follow.
You see in Yoruba land, we are blessed. Our forefathers knew the medicines very well. Regardless of their lliteracy, they were highly blessed and intelligent. When they go into bushes and farms, they would know the particular root or plant that is applicable to one disease or the other. It is what they had been doing for a long time Would you now tell me that a man who has been practicing herbal medicine for the past fifty years and who has been treating infertility in women for many years doesn’t know what he’s doing? Or does he need to go to the university to know the full anatomy of women before he can treat a woman? No. These are the challenges. But now we have to come into the practice of herbal medicine to re-organize and reform it so that people can see the difference. There is nothing like voodooism or something to be scared of in herbal medicine. It is only because of the secrecy that surrounds herbal medicine that our forefathers had not been hygienic enough or that something strange was being found in their homes. It is a fact that every profession in this country has its own secrets. Even in China, India of Japan, they have their own spiritual aspect of medicine. How they prepare it and the means with which they do it. So it is not limited in Nigerians.
If you go to Egypt and see how the practice their spiritual medicine or voodooism, you will be surprised. They do it genuinely and in a very neat way because their government trained them and they were encouraged. But if our government had encouraged our fathers, that Baba, this your Ogun or Ifa that you re worshippping, I think there are better ways you can make it secret, than putting iit in front of the house so that people will be seeing it.
What we are trying to reform now should have been done more than hundred years ago. That is where we are still lagging behind in the field of herbal medicine. And in the whole of Africa, Nigeria is a country where we are blessed with best effective herbal plants because we have the soil that favours the growth of plants, just like Ghana now, it’s just because there is no proper documentation. As you can see, herbal medicine is very friendly to our body system because our body composition is natural while the medicine is also natural, so the state of equilibrium is balanced. Go to anywhere in the world today, they are now yeilding to herbal medicine. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has established that people patronizing Herbal homes are 60% compared to the remaining 40% that still patronizes medical hospitals. Therefore, all over the world, the people that use herbal medicine nowadays outnumber those that use orthodox medicine. Today, there are a lot of people who have been to medical hospitals for solutions to their diseases, all to no avail but got cured permanently at Yem-Kem through the use of natural medicines.
Q: What is your reaction to steps being taken by NAFDAC to regulate the herbal practice in Nigeria?
A: What NAFDAC is doing is very encouraging. If you look at the practice and the people in the traditional medicine now today they assume herbal medicine as a profession where people can just wake up one morning and call themselves traditional doctors. They go to television and radio stations making noise that they can do this or that. So, I think that is the best way to flush out quacks because I believe many people are using the avenue to dupe a lot of people. This is in turn have negative effects on the image of traditional medicine. I think NAFDAC is trying to set a legacy that can do a lot of image-making to herbal medicine practitioners.
At YEM-KEM now, there are no qualms, as some of our products have been listed by NAFDAC for example, our M & T that is very good for malaria has been listed by this highly respected NAFDAC. Then if after passing through the processes and test and subordinate comes up with these processes and tests and somebody now comes up with less effective products which have not been certified good making noise and competing with us, these would not make any sense so the sanity, which NAFDAC is trying to bring into the practice of herbal medicine is to sift the wheat from the chaff, it is a welcome development.
Q: Our belief is that there is no any known cure for diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetics etc. Do you think with your experience that these diseases are actually curable by traditional medicine?
A: Well, as a matter of fact there are diseases that are very difficult to cure when they have got to advance stages. For instance, HIV and AIDS have been in existence for so many years. It is a problem of immunity- when your immunity is very low. It is in deed an epidemic. As you can see, the issue of HIV has been politicized globally. There are a lot of politics in it. But I still believe that there are some diseases that are not curable with the use of western medicine except traditional medicines. Not only that, when you are talking of hypertension and diabetes, we have seen many people that have been cured totally with the use of natural medicine. The problem is the level at which they are. There are diseases that cannot be cured through western medicine but which would be monitored to the end of one’s life. Therefore, one has to be coming to the doctor often for regular medication. Meanwhile, this is how they get money to run their hospitals.
So, if anybody comes around and tells you and the public that you have a medicine that cures diabetes or hypertension they will say you are telling jargons. The fact is that most of these diseases were in existence during the time of our forefathers and there were ways of treating them. But what happens is when a disease has got to an advanced stage it will be very difficult to cure by natural or western medicine.
Therefore, that is why it is very important that when you have a problem or disease and when it has not reached an advanced stage, it is very easy to tackle with the use of natural medicine. We have seen a lot of cases of incurable diseases, which have not got to an advanced advanced stage and when they use natural medicine they got cured though it takes time. We have seen a lot of cases of HIV, when your viral load is very high then it brings your immunity down. But we have medicines that boost immune system, which can reduce the viral load and thereby sustains your life. Some people are HIV carriers and they still live their normal lives because they eat good food because their immunity is very high. Some people are virus carriers and they would never fall sick because their immunity is very high. So, that is what actually happens. Some years back, did you hear of AIDS in this country? No! How does it spread? It is because of Nigeria’s airspace has been polluted. You know virus and bacteria live in the airspace. Take cholera for an example, if you are in an open garden where there are thousands of people, you can be infected.
Q: Your calling is herbal practice. Why have you now made a foray into movie industry?
You see it is my hobby and I believe I need to promote some people in the movie industry so as to protect and promote our African culture, and the only way to do that is for the company through one of its subsidiaries Golden Link Production and Communication Limited to finance some African movies that are very epical, so that people can see the way people lived in the olden days.
Take Oranmiyan for example people have heard the name Oranmiyan but they did not know whether he was a man or woman how he lived, his character and lifestyle. So that is what we have established. So also is the story of Jogunomi who was a warrior in Ibadan and Eran Iya Osogbo. We are trying to establish miserable things that happened in our society. Things that people believe are not possible in our Society like the story of Koto Aiye.
Apart from that, there is a film with producer- Alaga-Kansu. The film shows the way our politicians live, how they dupe people, how they tell lies so that people could vote for them and how they mess up when they get to power.
Q: What is your philosophy of life and what would you like to be remembered for?
My philosophy of life is hard work, dedication and loyalty. You see when you are honest, hard-working and you are loyal to everybody, I think there is nothing you will want in this world that you will not get. But if you’re not honest, loyal but you are hard-working no matter how hard-working you are, there is nothing you can get, because the three has to go together.
Besides, whatever you are doing in this world, try to believe that you are going to be successful. I believe, with my present status, that whatever I have achieved in this world is through my being honest, hard-working and lawyer. I would like to be remembered that I was able to transform herbal medicine from old idea to modern one; that in Nigeria, in the field of herbal medicine, I was able to transform herbal medicine to capsule, and packaging into well acceptable medicine that could be compared to any Orthodox medicine in the world.
So, that is the kind of person I would like to be remembered in the world, that when they talk about natural medicine in Nigeria, I would be referred to “as Akintunde Ayeni, the pathfinder who blaze the trails, by introducing corporate packaging and the first person who introduced research into herbal medicine practice in Nigeria”.
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