Maje Ayida in an interview with Punch talks about childhood experiences, healthy living, and the impact of “On Becoming” on his brand.
The book was written by the wellness coach’s estranged wife Toke Makinwa.
See excerpts of the interview below:
What ambitions did you have as a child?
I didn’t really want to become anything. However, I liked dancing and I wanted to be like the Jackson 5 group because Michael Jackson was pretty much my hero. I was also into sports and I remember that I represented my school in sporting events like rugby, cricket, archery and horse riding though I excelled more in athletics. But in my teenage years, I began to think of banking and that’s because a lot of my family members were bankers, and I didn’t think I could be anything else.
How would you say the British educational system impacted on the man you have become?
While I was there, we were filled with the idea that we were among the top one per cent of society, so we came out with a sense of entitlement that everything would be handed to us. However, upon graduation we were confronted with the reality that we were not that special and would have to work hard for whatever we want like everybody else. While searching for a job, I discovered that it is important to have attended a good school, but it’s even more important to be able to get the job done.
Who were some of your earliest influences in life?
As a child, watching my father excel made me know that I had to work hard. The only problem was that I wasn’t passionate about school and banking, and that made me think I wasn’t good enough. But I now realise it meant I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. Growing up in England also gave me the opportunity to experience different cultures and made me a more grounded person. I once met Muhammad Ali at the airport and I could literally feel greatness oozing out of him. That chance meeting gave me the resolve to become a person of significant impact.
What actually does it take to eat and live right?
I think it is about being mindful about what you put in your mouth. It’s about knowing when to eat the right food and what portion you should eat it in with the right amount of exercise.
Is it true you’re taking Toke Makinwa to court over her book, On Becoming which contains some derogatory material about you?
I’m not at liberty to discuss that. Since the case is already in court, it would be illegal for me to do so.”
Has the book affected your brand?
People tend to form a perception of you from what they read or hear about you. Having those kinds of things written about me and circulating in the public domain has definitely hurt my brand, though it’s hard to quantify the kind of impact it has had. However, I concentrate my energy on doing good work and letting it speak for me.
Do you foresee any chance of reconciliation between the both of you?
I’m not at liberty to discuss