Life is mostly not a bed of roses and it aptly describes life in the suburbs and ghettos. Yet, despite the strangulating socio-economic odds and challenges bedeviling residents in these ghettos, they have often risen above the challenges and eke a fortune and good life for themselves. Just like the world-famous ghettos of Ajegunle, in Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government, now fondly called AJ City, Sari-Iganmu, which is in Apapa-Iganmu local government is another ghetto populated by needy, but talented people.
Interestingly, these ghettos have continued to churn out world-class athletes, musicians, thespians, artists, academicians, and entrepreneurs.
One of such is Abayomi Michael Egbayelo, the proprietor of the NLO football team, Iganmu FC, who is spreading the message of love by touching lives in the community.
Born and bred in Sari-Iganmu, he had his Primary and Secondary schooling in the community, where the survival instinct came intuitively. The allure for a better life brought out the adventurer in him, taking him first to South Africa before he eventually landed in Japan.
Egbayelo said of the Japan experience: “Life in Japan wasn’t easy when I got into the country. You have to work hard and diligently too, to get whatever you want. The Japanese lifestyle and culture are different from where I was coming from.
“However, I tell you, it is a place where your dreams for a good life can come true, and your future is assured. The Japanese are meticulous, disciplined, and very accommodating”.
Today, he is a proud Ph.D. holder in Sports Medicine and has other certificates and awards. Abayomi is beginning to live the good life and of course, with his Japanese wife and kids.
Egbayelo is back to making a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends, particularly, in the Sari-Iganmu community.
In 2019, he sponsored a U12 team to win an international tournament in Japan. However, his community services go beyond football.
The unassuming young man has equally been empowering indigent youths, widows, and elderly people within and outside the Sari-Iganmu area. During his recent visit to Sari-Iganmu, he was again into his selfless philanthropic gestures, when he encountered out-of-school 8-year-old Fathia Azeez.
Egbayelo described his meeting with the young girl as an ‘Encounter With a brave girl. ” This girl struggled amid a large crowd to approach me at my hood in Olatokunbo Street, Sari-Iganmu. When she finally had her way, she said: ‘Please Sir, I need N1,000 to buy my books for school.’ I was blown away by her braveness and determination.
“I asked her again, what do you want to buy with the N1,000? She said books. I was shocked because kids of her age will always like to buy snacks, candies, or food. I was touched and moved to tears seeing this young girl struggling to go to school.
“she took me to her grandmother, who is a cleaner at a local hotel. Her dad is late, and her mother abandoned her. I said to myself, I need to help her achieve something in life.”
He arranged to move her from a public school to Great Peneil Private School, Sari- Iganmu paid her fees three years in advance and promised to send her to a private secondary school after her primary education.
He also paid for her school books, bag, uniforms, shoes, and necessary amenities she would need in pursuit of her education without any financial
“If it’s God’s will, I’ll pay her University school fees, so she can be somebody important in life. People like me struggle with life in the hood. So I must help her become educated and be equally equipped for a better future.”
According to Egbayelo, he lives for the smiles, joy, and happiness on the faces of little Fathia, her grandmother, and others he brings happiness to.