I always kneel to beg my husband anytime he is angry — Abija’s wife
Yoruba actor, Tajudeen Oyewole, popularly called Abija, is married to Ramotalai, a businesswoman. They talk about their 26-year-old union with TOLUWANI ENIOLA
How did you meet your wife?
Abija: I met her while she was in secondary school in Igangan, a town in Oyo State. It was around 1989. I fell in love with her immediately I saw her. I later told her I love her and that I would like to marry her. I was already a popular actor then so I was surprised when she turned down my request. She was of good character. That was what attracted me to her. Aside from that, she came from a good home. You know most women won’t accept your proposal immediately. She refused and said she was not interested. She feared that as an actor, I would have other women. She believed that actors are promiscuous.
Why did you initially reject his proposal?
Ramotalai: I rejected his proposal because at first, marriage was not on my mind at the time. Also, I feared marrying a celebrity because I believed they are all promiscuous. But after my examinations, I came to Agege in Lagos and we met again. He immediately renewed his earlier proposal.
When did you marry?
Abija: We got married three years after we met in 1989. It took her three months to accept my proposal.
Ramotalai: He was 30 or 32. He is eight years older than I am. My father was an Islamic priest from Ilorin, Kwara State. Since he is a Muslim too, my parents felt we would be compatible. I later told him I love him after his persistence. If he were a Christian, my parents might have objected to the marriage. He is a caring person and I think that drew me to him. I am the very jealous type. I am also hot tempered. I reasoned that if I marry him, God would use the marriage to remove jealousy and anger from me. When you marry a celebrity, you will learn to overcome jealousy because you will be careful as your spouse is well loved by many people, including women. When my parents agreed, they asked me if I like him and I said yes. God answered it all. It is beyond my understanding. The proposal was not a detailed or romantic one. When God decides something, you have no option. Marriage was not even in my plan then. I was 24 years old at the time.
In movies, you usually play the role of herbalist constantly doing good and fighting dark forces. What kind of person are you at home?
Abija: I am a completely different person at home. My father was an Ifa priest. I was born into traditional practice as well as hunting. I love my children and they love me as well. When I travel, they miss me a lot because they love me more than their mother. I look at how they relate between me and their mother.
Ramotalai: He is a perfect gentleman at home. In our street, many people used to say they thought he is temperamental like he does in movies. Children on our street flood our homes whenever he is around. He has a good mind. If someone comes to him for help and I tell him what we have is for tomorrow, he will say, do you know tomorrow. Let us give it out. He is extremely generous.
How do you settle quarrels at home?
Abija: When there is true love between a couple, quarrels are easy to settle. She loves what I love. I love what she loves too. There is no way you can avoid disagreements or quarrels in a marriage. But when they occur, we have a way of settling them. When we have quarrels, we don’t make it known to the public.
Ramotalai: I kneel to beg him when he is angry. When he is angry, he would be vibrating the way he does in movies. In the midnight, I would be on my knees and ask him to forgive me. Whenever he offends me, he has this funny way of pacifying me too. When I am angry, my body would be shaking and he knows how to calm me down. True love overlooks his excesses. Our children are the victims of our quarrels. They usually know at that time that the home is hot.
Was there any disagreement that nearly broke your home?
Abija: The best way to live a crisis-free marriage is to avoid third party accounts and not to believe hearsay or rumours about your partner. If a man or woman believes whatever he or she hears about his or her partner, such a marriage would soon end. Let me share an example. The wife of one of my friends lied to my wife that I took a lady to a movie location. My wife too believed the lie and travelled to where I was in Ejigbo in Osun State, with the aim of confirming if I was having an affair or not. She was angry but I was able to pet her and got to know who told her the lie. I didn’t fight the person but I became more careful with the fellow. I saw such a person as a home breaker.
Ramotalai: That happened a long time ago. My body was vibrating like a wounded lion when the person told me a woman and my husband were having an affair. I left Lagos in the evening and got to Osogbo late in the night. After the early morning prayer, I headed for Ejigbo. My husband was surprised to see me. My plan was to catch him red-handed with the woman. I slept in Ajileye’s house, who was my husband boss. I was so angry when I got there. People there then asked me, “So, where is the woman you came to fight now?” They wondered why I risked my life from Lagos to Ejigbo because of the rumour.
Since then, I changed my attitude. But I did it because of true love and because I don’t want to share my husband with anybody.
Why don’t you feature in movies more like before?
Abija: I still act in movies. There was a time I had a serious accident. That led to a great setback for me. Only few people knew. That was when I knew that one’s wife is actually one’s mother. My wife is my mother and everything you can imagine. I cannot quantify her support during the period.
Tell us about a memorable experience in your marriage.
Ramotalai: I initially thought he was going to die after the accident. He had just finished a movie shoot. I was told that he had a serious accident on his way home. He just bought a car then. His friends took me to the hospital. I thought they were going to show me his dead body. I was happy when I realised the injury was not beyond control. His hip joint was dislocated. But God took control.
How do you cope with your female fans?
Abija: That happens a lot. I overcome that with wisdom.
How do you cope with his female fans?
Ramotalai: I stopped bothering about them a long time ago. I knew he had girlfriends. I only refused to worry about that. If a man has girlfriends and does not take care of his wife, there would be problems. But when a man flaunts his girlfriends in front of his wife, such a man is not serious. He does his duties and he is caring. I don’t want him to have girlfriends. The job he does is delicate and I understand. Even if he does not want mistresses, they will seduce him.
Do you have pet names for each other?
Abija: No. She calls me daddy.
Ramotalai: He calls me ‘dear’ or simply my name.
What lesson has marriage taught you?
Abija: Some friends come with stories that they don’t like my wife’s attitude or something that suggests she is doing something at my back. This is intentionally done to cause disagreement between husband and wife. But God has enabled us to overcome that. There was no evidence to prove the falsehood. One should not react to things anyhow.
A responsible man should shun rumours. Some have never caught their wives in extra-marital affairs. But they rather believe the “he said” and “someone said” tales which are untrue. Marriage has taught me to be patient and verify information before taking action. There is a popular Yoruba proverb that if the wall does not crack, the lizard will not gain entry. Once you cause cracks in your homes, you will have to suffer the consequence.
Ramotalai: The most important thing is true love. If your husband hurts you, it is good to settle the disagreement quickly. I must add that patience is important in marriage.
Do you cook at home?
Abija: I cook occasionally. My favourite is solid food. My wife does all the cooking.
Ramotalai: He does not eat outside. I don’t allow him to cook. It’s alien to Islam for the husband to be the one cooking.
How did you cope with his busy schedules?
Ramotalai: I am used to it because he has to feed his family. When there is true love, you shun trivial things and tolerate your husband’s imperfections. I love him not because of his money or being a celebrity. God has been the secret of our marriage.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.