Why I Relocated To America – Adewale Ayuba

LAGOS – Fuji music icon Adewale Ayuba has opened up about his remarkable journey to the United States where he found refuge and a new lease on life.

In an intimate interview with Teju Babyface, Ayuba revealed how his initial three-month tour in 1995 turned into an unexpected exile due to the political turmoil under Sani Abacha’s regime.

He said: “I left for America with my full band members in 1995 for a summer show and others. We came to America for about three months and then returned to Nigeria.

“Before we left Nigeria, we recorded an album asking the government to release all the political detainees, particularly the late Moshood Abiola. We had the album ready and released it just after we left Nigeria.

“So, I received a call from Abuja saying that the late Sani Abacha was looking for me. They asked if I was back and told me they loved me in America and that I should stay put.

“I returned to Nigeria in 1998 when Abacha died. The three years I stayed in America were by the grace of God because He is a good planner. When I was in America, I realized that I could only perform shows on weekends. My Monday to Friday was free. What could I do with it? So, I enrolled in school. That’s where I met my wife.

“After that, I partook in a lot of activities. Doing so was like I started building another foundation in America. That was not easy. From there, I completed my documentation and became an American citizen. So, I’m already a citizen of this country. It’s part and parcel of me.”

Despite the challenges, Ayuba said he made the most of his time in the US, pursuing education and eventually becoming an American citizen, also meeting his wife in the country.

Ayuba said he returned to the country after the death of Abacha’s to perform at the iconic Benson and Hedges Concert.

“I’ve gradually developed a passion for education since day one. I envision myself as a lecturer or teacher whenever asked about my aspirations. Completing my bachelor’s, pursuing a master’s, and eventually obtaining a PhD to achieve this goal. I don’t see myself continuing in Fuji music; I believe I have done well, and this is America; there’s more to explore in life, trusting that God has a plan.

“After winning a lottery, I travelled to Nigeria in 1998 intending to collect the prize and return home (America). I had decided to leave my singing career behind. However, an unexpected opportunity arose when Benson and Hedges approached me at Queensborough Community College in New York. They invited me to participate in a Lagos edition of the concert across Nigeria. They told me how enthusiastic my fans were shouting my name during the 1997 concert; I agreed to attend the following year (1998), possibly unaware of the impending demise of Abacha,” he noted.

The 59-year-old said there were rumours about him working at a gas station in America, with some even claiming he was arrested.

He also said he couldn’t debunk or confirm the speculations for fear of the Abacha junta finding his location in America.

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