One would have thought that following the success of several mediation meetings by concerned friends and family members to get ex beauty queen, Helen Prest-Ajayi and her husband’s ex wife, Yemisi Ajayi, to shelve their 10 months old battle over who has the right to bury Dr Tosin Ajayi, that the two women would pay their last respects without allowing their feud to surface at the burial ceremony.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be, as right there, as the corpse of Dr Ajayi, the late managing director of First Foundation Medical Centre,was lowered into the ground and it was time for the dust to dust rites, all hell went loose.
The presiding minister at the burial, Israel Kristilere of ShepherdHill Baptist Church, had requested that the first wife, Yemisi who the late Ajayi parted ways with 35 years ago, go first to perform the dust to dust rite, which she did. He then asked that the five children she bore her late ex husband go next for the dust to dust rite after which Helen would perform hers, followed by her own children.
This didn’t go down well with Helen who insisted that she be the next person to perform the dust to dust rite after the first wife and not after the late Ajayi’s five older children. Commotion ensued with the children from the first wife dragging the mini shovel for performing the rite with Helen.
After a lot of scuffles and arguments, Helen eventually let go when they succeeded in dragging the shovel from her.
But this show of shame was to say the least bit, embarrassing to guests and friends of the parties involved.
Surprisingly, the service of songs for the late Dr Ajayi which took place a day before, went peacefully. Perhaps because Helen conducted her own service songs at the Ikoyi home she shared with her late husband before he breathed his last.
But how did things degenerate this bad, you may wonder?
Well, following the death of Dr Ajayi on April 26 2020 at the St Nicholas hospital, after battling kidney problem, his older children from his first wife who is a younger sister to the minister of state for health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, petitioned the police, alleging foul play in the death of their father.
An autopsy which was carried out at the behest of the children revealed that he died of natural cause, as no foul play was found.
The older children then got another death certificate issued to them, different from what was issued to Helen who was with him at the time of his death and deposited his corpse in a morgue. The new death certificate his older children got, captured the residential address of their mother, contradicting the Ikoyi home address where he lived and shared with Helen and which they had admitted to as being his residence in their earlier petition.
While trying to rectify this, the older wife wanted his corpse released to her and her children. Helen refused and thus began a civil case.
Sources close to the family alleged that the older Ajayi children demanded that Helen hand over the original death certificate, a request she refused to heed, since they were planning to exclude her from the burial.
They also insisted that his burial be officiated at their mother’s church, SherperdHill Baptist Church, Lagos, even though the deceased had insisted he would want his burial conducted by the pastor of one of the RCCG parishes on the island, where he worships.
But as it turned out, the first wife and her children eventually had their way contrary to what the deceased wanted.
But in all of this, friends and family of the first wife revealed that even though Helen was with the deceased for the last 25 years of his life, they were never married and she only bore him a daughter. Her first two daughters are from a previous marriage. Also, the deceased never divorced his first wife, as they were only separated. And according to family sources, while the deceased was alive, Helen made sure he never kept in touch with his family.