'Deji Ayoade

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Dr. 'Deji Ayoade (ah-yo-AH-day) is the first African immigrant to become a nuclear missile operator in the United States Air Force and serve in three U.S. military branches. He is an emerging memoir author and lifelong poet who strives to touch the lives of his readers through heartfelt storytelling. In addition to his memoir and companion poetry book, he is the author of Selah! Selah! (Pause and Think): Poetry.

Enduring a childhood chock-full of impoverishment and loss, storytelling was his safe haven, quickly becoming his way of envisioning a future he wanted to be a part of. Besides being a Writer, 'Deji Ayoade has held the roles of Veterinary Surgeon, Combat Medic, Nuclear Weapon System SME, Senior Program Analyst, and U.S. Space Force Department of Defense Civilian at the Pentagon.

Through his incredible journey, 'Deji's resilience and determination have shone through. He inspires all of us and reminds us that no matter where you come from, you have the power to shape your destiny.



BY 'Deji Ayoade • POSTED ON Nov. 17, 2022

Ayoade tells of his journey from an impoverished boyhood in Nigeria to a successful career in the U.S. Air Force and the Pentagon.

In this candid, compelling, and poignant memoir, the author writes of his experiences in the U.S. military, including as a nuclear missile operator. The first part depicts the author’s Nigerian childhood in the 1980s in a large extended family; he tells of enduring an illness, injuries, losses, near starvation, and an erratic, alcoholic, and violent father and of never letting go of his Hollywood movie–inspired dream of someday finding a better life in the United States. The author’s commitment to his studies helped lead him to a national university and a graduate veterinary degree, which, in turn, led to a solid job as a veterinary doctor. But life in Nigeria remained difficult, so in 2008, at age 28, he applied to a graduate program overseas. The book’s second part describes Ayoade’s American adventures as he grappled with culture shock and financial insecurity, met the Nigerian American woman who would become his wife, completed his studies, and struggled to find work. Ayoade decided to enlist in the Navy even though he couldn’t get an officer’s commission as a noncitizen. The memoir’s third part details his experiences serving in the Navy and Air Force, where he was repeatedly recognized for excellence. Forty family photos and 64 original poems by the author are interspersed throughout the narrative; the latter are heartfelt, combining moral tenets, emotional moments, and arresting imagery: “However bad, / However sad, / This scar in my heart must fade.” His prose is engaging, vividly depicting daily life in Nigeria, encounters with various Americans, and nightmares that plague him in times of stress. Ayoade is frank about his encounters with racism and prejudice and how he was quick to confront bullies. However, he displays empathy for seemingly everyone and a strong belief that diversity benefits teamwork. His continuing faith in the fundamental goodness of people is particularly inspiring.

An affecting story of overcoming challenges to achieve lifelong dreams.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2022

ISBN: 9798986587660

Page count: 436pp

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2023

Book Trailer - UNDERGROUND: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream


Poems from Underground: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream

Poems from Underground is an emotive journey of restored hope and faith along the path of attaining the American Dream and communion with a higher power that was there all along. Page by page, personal poetry is revealed to the reader—one brimming with trials and triumphs, grief and joy, loss and love in equal measure. Through poignant, candid, and vulnerable storytelling, ‘Deji Ayoade shares his innermost stirrings of the heart and all the maelstroms they entail with utmost poise. Beyond a mere poetry collection of outpourings by an American military man, this is a true story about a soul who, since birth, envisioned a thriving future for himself and the generations to come.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022
ISBN: 979-8986587646

Selah! Selah!: (Pause and Think)

Eight years I have known Charlie, eight years I have mourned Charlie and eight more years I have lived, because Charlie is dead . . . Almost every poem in this book is based on true-life event and in almost every poem in this book, there is a song . . . a story to be told. The words are simple. The poems encompass every aspect of life, from love . . . lust . . . tragedy . . . religion . . . to death and more!
Published: July 12, 2012
ISBN: 978-1438947082
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