"I Regret Not Fighting For My Marriage, It Was A Mistake" – Rachael Oniga

Popular actress, Rachael Oniga, speaks with The Punch's Olushola Ricketts about her career, regrets to not have reconciled with her husband, decision not to remarry. 

Read some of the interesting parts below:

When did you know that you wanted to become an actor? 
It is unfortunate that a lot of people think that actors always say acting is in their blood or that they have been acting since they were in the womb. As for me, I have always had the traits since I was in primary school. I attended Princess Girls School at Abule Oja in Yaba, Lagos. In those days, we had missionary, private and Federal Government schools. My school was like a private school even though it was a missionary school. We did not pay school fees, but the teaching standards were quite high and we used to take drama classes. I was also part of the Girls Guild and we had different sporting groups, which I joined. Despite being an only girls’ primary school, I enjoyed playing the role of a boy whenever we had dramas. I always used costumes that belonged to my younger brother. Parents used to come around to watch us perform. My late mother was particularly very proud of me. Elementary school was fun for me and I took that spirit to secondary school. After school, I became a professional computer programmer.

Don’t you think you would have been richer if you had focused on computer programming? 
I know that could be the case, but I have never reasoned it. I thank God for my life. I believe no destiny can be changed. One’s destiny can be delayed or turned around, but what God has written down for you cannot be changed. I believe destiny has put me where I am today.

How have you been able to stay relevant for years in the movie industry? 
I give God all the glory. It is not by my making, and it is not like I am the best. It is just that God has been merciful to me. In actual fact, a lot of people started before me and after me, and they are nowhere to be found again. But I thank God that I am still relevant and I plan to continue to put in my best.

As a single mother with three children, how did you manage to build your acting career? 
My first born, Olamide, was four years old when I left my marriage. I had to put them all in boarding schools. That is one of the most painful things I have had to do. Whenever I talk about this, it always brings me close to tears. My children paid the price for something they knew nothing about. Children don’t beg parents to have them; we ask them to come to the world, so we should be able to take good care of them. It is not all about money, but I had no choice. I had to work; I had to be a mother and a father to them. I had to make sure that they had all they needed to have. While they were in school, they didn’t lack anything. I got them all the things rich children had. I understand all I did was not enough, but I thank God for the children He blessed me with. I think God knew I had nobody but Him. In a way, he saw us through and I thank Him for that.

After your marriage failed, you’ve remained single for more than two decades. Why haven’t you remarried? 
The factor (her late husband married another woman) that led to the end of my marriage made me determined to prove to him (ex-husband) that I could stand without any man. I was not ready to give any other man the chance to be a hindrance to my children and me. I also made up my mind that I would dedicate my life totally to my children. I toughened my heart and blocked every opportunity to go into any relationship. I saw myself as equal to any man, regardless of how much money he might have. I give God the glory because I can pay my bills. I dedicated all my life to my job and my children. I became so busy...

Apart from s*xual intercourse, don’t you miss the companionship you share with a man? 
I understand where you are going, but sometimes when a woman closes her heart, she will not give any relationship a chance. I was always on the defensive. I didn’t want any man to treat my children badly. I was working for my money and I put my kids in good schools. So, what do I need a man for? I felt all men just wanted was to see the beauty of a woman and walk away. With what my ex-husband did to me, you expect me to trust men again? Before we got separated, he was a good and ideal man. But he married another woman and I moved on. I do not regret leaving him because I sacrificed my life for my children, which makes me fulfilled and happy. But I miss the whole union thing, friendship and sharing things together. I have missed it all. My advice to young ladies is to keep and fight for their marriages. Perhaps, I was naïve; I never fought for what was mine, but I still thank God. We are in Africa, you fight for your life and that of your children first. Maybe that is why God has been merciful to me and my children.

Why didn’t you fight for your marriage when you had the chance? 
It was my mistake. I should have fought for it. Any young lady must try her best and fight for her marriage. My decision at that time might not have been the best, but I still thank God. I have my regrets too as a human being.