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Pete Edochie is my ‘husband’–Rita, actress


Pete Edochie is my ‘husband’–Rita, actress

Could you tell us a bit about your background?
I am happily married with four children, two boys and two girls. I am a proud grand mother. My first daughter is married. God blessed us with a grand son. I worked at Anambra State Broadcasting Services as a presenter for over 15 years.

Why did you quit broadcasting?
It’s funny though! I didn’t quit my job; I was laid off because they felt my acting career was a problem to them. After all, I wasn’t the only person doing something else; others were also engaged in one business or the other while working with the broadcasting station. And I have never allowed my acting schedules to interfere with my job. I did acting during weekends and it hurts so badly that they didn’t query me for one day for being redundant. I believe that majority of them were obviously jealous and envious of me. I had to call my lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, and we sued them. The case is still in court. Hopefully, with the support of the Human Right Commission, the case would soon be over.

So, your ‘unlawful dismissal’ brought you into acting fully?
Yes! I got into acting fully, since it’s one career I am passionate about, I had to go into it fully and I am enjoying it. But I had to diversify into politics. I am a politician. I have a group of women working with me in an NGO, Umuada Empowerment Initiative. We have over 50,000 women in the group in Anambra State.

Do you miss broadcasting?
Yes, I miss broadcasting; it’s a job I love so much. Though, it’s not a paying job like acting, it’s a wonderful job that gives you an edge over people. But the people I worked with gave me a different perception about the profession, making me feel bad. I am a very sincere person that’s why I am telling you what really transpired working as a broadcaster.

How did you find your feet in the movie industry?
I started acting in my secondary school. I didn’t study Theatre Arts, I read Mass Communication. So, I believe acting is a natural calling. I joined the movie industry through an audition. Luckily, I was given the role after they found me competent to act.

Could you tell us about the first movie you featured?
It’s Waterloo, a wonderful movie. It was fun working with all the cast and crew on that set.

Are you related to Pete Edochie?
Yes, Pete Edochie is my husband’s elder brother. He and my husband, Tony Edochie, are born of the same parents.

There have been misconceptions about your relationship with Pete Edochie; some people think he is your husband?
Of course, he is still my husband, according to Igbo tradition. Since he is an elder in my husband’s family, he is still my husband. But he is not the one doing the job (laughter). And I thank God for my husband, Tony Edochie, for all his love and affection. In fact, he is my pillar of success and I pray he will be my husband in the next world. We are inseparably in love! My husband is a retired broadcaster. He also worked at Anambra Broadcasting Services where his elder brother, Pete Edochie also worked.

So, why did you join politics?
I have knowledge of politics even as a broadcaster. I decided to join politics at the point where my love for human emancipation began to wax stronger and my desire to better the lots of women in the grass root grew. I joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) where I could express myself as a politician.

When exactly did you start acting?
I played so many lead roles while working at ABS in the ‘90s. I joined Nollywood as a professional in 1997. So, I’ve spent 18 years in the movie industry.

You’ve played so many lead characters, what was the experience like playing alongside Pete Edochie?
It’s like you are married to your husband in real life. And he has been so supportive on set. When he thinks I am not playing it well, he advises me to depict the role perfectly, as a veteran in the profession.

What have you achieved being an actress?
Acting has given me stardom and I am thankful for the platform God has placed me in life.

What was your growing up like?
I knew only my mother because my father died when I was still a baby. I was the last child of the family. We are five children and we thank God for given our mother the grace to rear us.

How was it growing up without a father?
My mother also filled the gap of our father. She was a very strict and disciplined woman. We called her ‘lion’ because she was a disciplinarian, and above all, hard working and caring. She is late now; we miss her dearly. Please let’s not talk about that again. (Sobs).


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