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I Am the Face of Jimi Agbaje – Rachael Oniga

Not so many people know that veteran actress, Rachael Oniga is not a Yoruba woman even though she has spent most of her acting years in the Yoruba movie genre. She made her movie debut in ‘Onome’, while her debut Yoruba movie was ‘Owo Blow’. Over the years, she has featured in several notable Nigerian films. In this interview, she speaks on her new found love for politics.

What is with your new found love for politics?
It isn’t new, I’ve been into politics for some time now. For now, it’s politics. After that, I’ll go back to my job full time. That is not to say I haven’t been working. I’ve been going in and out of locations too.

Are you running for an elective office or what?
No I am not but I’m campaigning for Jimi Agbaje in Lagos State. I am the face of Jimi Agbaje so I’ve been busy with his campaign. I also campaigned for President Goodluck Jonathan. So for the past few months, that’s what I’ve been doing.

But you weren’t part of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign crew in his first tenure
No I wasn’t.

What made you join his crew?
Nobody convinced me. I’m a person and when I believe in a course, I follow it and don’t look at what other people are doing.

Why be in the PDP camp?
Because I believe in Jimi Agbaje. Before the presidential elections, I believed in President Jonathan and I felt he should have been given the chance to govern again so he could finish what he started. To be honest, he’s done so much for this country. It’s just that he’s not the type who makes noise about his achievements and unfortunately, in Nigeria’s politics, making noise is the in-thing. Just like the Yoruba proverb that if you don’t praise the lizard, it will praise itself by nodding the head. He is a peace loving person. He’s also someone who loves women. He respects motherhood. I see that he’s a true leader, a God-fearing person. It is his kind of person that we need. Things have gone so wrong in the country and it will take some time to clear it out. He’s a human being so he can also make mistakes once in a while. He has his own faults which is normal.

But people believe entertainers should distance themselves from politics
If you say that then, you are being unfair to the entertainment industry because even in the U.S, U.K, and the developed countries, when politicians are vying for any position, they make use of entertainers. Entertainers may not be at the fore but they are always there. Even when anything like a scandal arises against any leader, entertainers are the people to clean it up because entertainers are the faces people look up to and they believe in them. And Jimi Agbaje is a God-fearing person. I’ve heard him speak and relate with people, that’s why I believe so much in him.

Does this mean that you may also go into active politics someday?
It can happen anytime

Or maybe you’re seeking a political appointment
If it comes, fine. But that’s not the reason why I’m into it. I have my name to protect and I feel that this is the time for me to come out and do something. I do a lot on set and if I can come out and do the real thing, there’s nothing wrong with that

What’s your take on your colleagues who have gone into politics?
With time, people grow. It shows that the industry and the country is growing.

But most of them lost out in the primaries
Yes, that’s part of the game. Some will lose while others will win.

But some people think your colleagues wouldn’t have lost if they had joined the Labour Party instead of PDP or APC
That’s what I’m saying. It depends on the individual because what you believe in, I might not believe in. Because entertainers are popular doesn’t guarantee that they must win an election. There must always be a structure. Maybe it’s not their time to win. It doesn’t matter which party they decide to join

So what’s your advice to your colleagues who would like to go into politics?
There’s freedom of everything in this country. They should do whatever they want. That’s why it’s a democratic era. Anything can trigger one’s interest to go into politics and if God help you and people believe in you, so be it!

Besides politics, what other thing have you been involved in lately?
I still act. I just got out from the set of a TV series, Crack In The Wall. I’m more into TV series now. And once in a while, if I’m called upon to do anything in Nollywood then, I will. Aside that, I buy and sell things. I deal in women and babies’ things.

Why did you suddenly stop acting in Yoruba movies and switched to Soaps?
The fact is, there are so many things wrong with the Yoruba movie industry. That is not to say that they don’t do good movies anymore. So when you are given a script and you feel it’s just a run-of-the-mill then, there’s no point

Are you saying acting in Yoruba movies no longer challenging you?
We’ve lost so much of our values. If you look into most of these Hollywood scripts, it tells stories about Nigeria’s history and this is where we are losing out. In a country like this, we shouldn’t forget where we are coming from. In secondary schools, History used to be part of the subjects taught but it’s out of the curriculum now. If you don’t know your past, you can’t know where you stand presently and your future, and that’s where we are losing it.

Or it is because TV series pay more than Yoruba movies?
Maybe. But in soaps, you do your thing better, you can interpret your character better.

What are those challenges you see in Nollywood that you think deserves attention?
We have so many that needs to be ironed out. Finance is very important and should be taken care of. Technically, we are doing well. We are growing and we will surely get to where we want someday.

What’s the secret of your ageless looks?
I don’t do facials or worry myself over any skin beauty routine but, I believe so much in massage therapy.

How often do you go for massages?
Twice a week if I have the time. I opted for massages because I can’t jog or take a long walk like you would do.

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