ELEGANT Stallion, Onyeka Onwenu has just turned 60. Despite being in the entertainment industry for the past 30 years, she has remained relevant. In an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Friday, February 10, 2012, the One Love crooner, who kept mum on marriage issue talked about her life at 60, why she will not be celebrating her diamond jubilee, her involvement in politics as well as her new album.
How does it feel to be 60?
Honestly, I don’t feel any difference from what I felt when I was 58 or 59. It’s just a question of number.
Will you say you have achieved all the goals you set out to achieve at this stage?
I think God has done really well for me at this stage. But I think some people feel that I should have achieved more or even be doing more by now but I think that is the nature of we, humans. The truth is that I don’t really compete with people. Rather, I compete with myself. As regards to my grand idea as to where I should be or what I should have achieved or what I should be doing has to do with me pushing myself all the time to go beyond my own expectation. Even when other people will look at it and say that I have done really well. This is because I feel I haven’t begun to scratch the surface.
What would you say God has not done for you at this stage?
I think it would be wrong for me to say that there is something God has not done for me because He is ever kind, magnanimous and really giving us more than we deserve. And I believe nobody can contemplate that.
What is the greatest lesson that life has taught you at 60?
The truth is that life is still teaching me lessons. So, I don’t know the one that will be the greatest, whether the one I will learn tomorrow. But the basic lesson that I have learnt over the years is that integrity counts. Being wealthy is not having cash in the bank but having friends, good health and the ministry where you serve God and your community. So, when I sit down and count my blessings, I see that I am well blessed and a very wealthy person. And so, I always stick to living a life of integrity because therein lies my wealth.
Yes, I have regrets. So, I don’t believe people when they say they don’t. But the truth is that I don’t dwell on my regrets or mistakes. Rather, I learn my lesson from them and decide not to go back to them. I wouldn’t want to talk about the regrets as I know them. But I believe it is necessary we make mistakes so that we learn from them. So, I don’t regret not living a perfect life as I am not a perfect being.
You were active in politics sometime back, why did you back out?
I did not back out. I am still active in politics.
Any regret that you were not able to rule your local government council almost 10 years after your aspiration?
There is no regret as regards that. Although, I gave it my best, it didn’t happen. But the good thing is that I learnt from it. And people are beginning to talk more about local government and issues happening there because people like me stepped out. My friends and relations didn’t understand why I have to go to local government. But I took my time to explain why local government is very important. And I am glad that there are now moves to review local government laws and separate local government from state government since that is the only way to move forward. Some of us have been carrying on this debate for a long time. And so, we have been interactive and have somehow affected our environment by coming out for the chairmanship. So, there is no regret at all.
You are one of the most talented musicians Nigeria is blessed with. How does it feel to attain that status and retain it?
I think I am grateful for that. And I appreciate God for that. I’ve been using it to serve for God and humanity. For the fact that I have gone straight for this profession and remain there for 30 years, I think it is by God’s grace in my life. So, I am grateful for this unmerited favour.
Did you envisage that the likes of One Love will become evergreen?
No, I didn’t. It wasn’t actually my favourite in the album. My favourite was You and I. It was my producer that wrote the song and convinced me to record it and title the album, One Love. So, I didn’t see it coming. But I am glad it made a hit.
So, what more should we expect from you, music wise?
I have an album, Legend, which is still in the market. But I believe by the middle of the year, we must have finished shooting the videos. I don’t think people have started appreciating it, but I think it is my best. Again, I think by the time the videos are out, people will begin to appreciate the level of creativity that I put into it.
How many tracks are in the album?
It contains 13 tracks. And it is selling heavily in churches and we are using it to do good works as the money doesn’t come to me direct. It goes to them, especially the Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos.
You initially had a vision for Unity Centre, do you think the place is adequately used?
Oh, definitely it is.
What does marriage mean to you at 60?
Do you still believe in marriage?
What is your marital status?
I have no answer to that.
Any plan to celebrate your 60th birthday?
Initially, there was a plan for it because of the fact that my mum’s burial cost me a huge sum of money as I spared nothing at giving her a befitting burial, I decided to put it on hold. But there will be a thanksgiving service later in the year in respect of that. And again, to thank God for the good thing He has done for me as my first son will be finishing his Master’s degree this year as well as the second one, who will also be bagging his B.Sc in Business Administration. But I will not resist it if a friend or friends decide to organize a party for me.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 14, 2012