Five children of Dr. Tosin Ajayi, the late Managing Director of First Foundation Medical Centre, Lagos, have said ex-beauty queen, Helen Prest-Ajayi, was never married to their father.
The five children – Mrs. Tomi Deru, Dr. Olumide Ajayi, Mrs. Omolade Soetan, Mrs. Mayowa Okeowo and Bisola Ajayi – who are products of Dr. Ajayi’s marriage with his estranged wife, Mrs Oluwayemisi Ajayi, said the records needed to be set straight because of the controversy that their father’s death had generated.
The five children and Helen have been at loggerheads since April 2020 when their father died.
Due to their feud and a prolonged court case, Dr. Ajayi’s corpse remained in the mortuary for ten months before they reached a compromise as regards the church and manner of his burial.
A trending video of the funeral showed that when it was time for the family to perform the dust to dust rites, Helen had wanted to go first, but the five children insisted that their mother would go before her because their parents were never divorced.
In a statement titled, ‘Let the Truth be Told about Helen Prest’, the Ajayi children said Helen had clearly stated in court papers that she was a “companion” and thus could never be a wife.
Below is the full text of the official statement made by the Ajayi children:
“We are constrained in issuing this public statement at this time to set the records straight. Before now, we have restrained ourselves from speaking out for several reasons. Among other reasons, this is because we’re a quiet and dignified family that seeks to avoid publicity as much as possible and do not believe in litigating matters in the court of public opinion and not given to hugging the klieg-lights of media.
However, after a lot of reflection and deliberation, we have decided that it is important we now break our silence. We have taken this decision because we realize that the consequences of misinformation, especially in this social media era of alternative reality, can be grave, as a lie told repeatedly may begin to appear as the “truth”. We have taken this decision because it is clear to us that Helen Prest/Helen Davies (parading herself under the name of “Mrs. Helen Prest- Ajayi”) continues to seek to perpetuate a lie/fraud on the public by exploiting our predisposition as a quiet family to maintain an honourable and dignified silence. But even the saying “silence is golden” must have its exceptions and must not be stretched too far. Today, we break our silence. We break it not only for ourselves, but also for other similarly-situated families. We break it because we believe it is our responsibility to play our part in ensuring that the Nigerian society must be one where ladies like Helen Prest are not encouraged to perpetuate a lie/fraud on the public for any reason whatsoever, whether to secure their so-called celebrity status or delusional ego tripping or otherwise.
We must set the record straight that our mother, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Adenike Ajayi, and our father, Dr. Olutosin Ajayi, Founder/CEO of First Foundation, who got married in July 1974 under the Marriage Act, remained married until our father’s death in April 2020 (i.e., they were never divorced). We must also set the record straight that Helen Prest was never married to our father, whether under the Marriage Act, by customary marriage or any form of marriage known to our law. As many lawyers know, and Helen Prest who presumably herself is a lawyer, ought to know, our father in any event could not have been legally married to anyone else without first divorcing our mother, which he never did.
The irony in all of this is that the fact that our father was never married to Helen Prest is only in dispute in the court of public opinion, but is not in dispute even by Helen Prest in the court documents filed on her behalf. We refer the public to the filings by Helen Prest in Suit No. ID/7096GCMW/2020 that was before the Ikeja Division of the High Court of Lagos State. Specifically, paragraph 4(h) of the Counter-Affidavit filed on her behalf in that suit states that Helen Prest was “his [i.e. our father] partner and civil companion for the past twenty-five years prior to his death.”
Despite the fact that Helen Prest has never claimed to be married to our father in any court filings, she brazenly persists on various social media platforms (and through the collaboration of certain newspapers) in deceiving the public into believing that she was married to our father, including constantly referring to him as “my husband” in her posts and referring to herself as “Mrs. Helen Prest-Ajayi.” She persists in seeking to create an alternative convenient reality in the public, while recoiling to a different position in court documents, knowing fully well that the public would not bother to check her court filings and in the expectation that we will continue to operate under a “silence is golden” policy. All in a face-saving effort, with her many collaborators and internet trolls, to stifle the truth. Well, the game is up, Helen Prest.
Those peddling the idea that Helen Prest was ever married to our father, Dr. Tosin Ajayi, are either doing so out of ignorance based on the lie she sold them or are just being mischievous.
We end by saying that many that knew our father regarded him as a very smart and intelligent man. We have no doubt that he was. While our father and our mother might have had some disagreement along the line (not unusual in marriage), we’re equally sure that for very good reasons their separation never resulted in divorce till our dad passed on. He chose to remain married to our mother and both of them still had cordial relationship. We have no doubt that he also had good reasons for choosing never to marry Helen Prest. He did not marry Helen Prest and Helen Prest knows this and she confirmed this to many people we know.”
The Children of Mrs Oluwayemisi Adenike Ajayi