Speaking about his traditional perspective on the dynamics of the roles of men and women, Pete Edochie shared, “When you get married, your wife drops her father’s name and assumes yours. You can’t have two people as captains in a ship. Women transform houses into homes, and if you don’t have a woman in the house, your house can never be a home. My wife is a lawyer. I have lived with this woman for the past 53 years, and nobody has ever come in here to say, ‘Pete, please stop beating her; you will kill her.’ No. I never saw my father beat my mother, so I cannot say I learned from my father how to beat Mama. I want to think on things that should help us progress, not influences that should drag us backward. Why are men wearing earrings? What was the inspiration behind that? Most of these influences come from outside the country, and they don’t help us. In our culture, a man does not kneel to offer a ring to a woman. Men and women are not equals; in the home, there has to be a leader.
“If you come to our industry today, most of our women who got married two to three years ago have all left their husbands from beginning to end. I am even shocked to hear that Chioma Chukwuka and Ireti Doyle have also left their husbands. You take a vow when you want to get married, ‘for better or for worse, not for better for us.’ You will always think it’s greener on the other side, but that’s the mistake that we all make. Try to find satisfaction with what you have within you; it goes a long way. If I didn’t have children, you could say, ‘aha, I don’t like youth,’ but what am I disliking youth for? If I tell you not to do this and you decide to do it, you can go ahead. I always like to engage in things that will provide me with inspiration, things I can defend. I have a great deal of love and respect for women. If I see any young man harming a woman, I just think that he doesn’t qualify to be a mature man. God has given women their voices; what makes you a mature person is your ability to handle what they tell you without resorting to violence,” he added.
Pete Edochie also commented on the separation between his first son, Yul, and his wife. He said, “I really don’t interfere in his affairs. Suddenly, we heard that he had taken a second wife. I don’t lie, because it’s not necessary. God created me so well that if I tell you this thing is black, it is black. When he wanted to run for governor, and I saw his photograph, I thought it was from the production they were working on. It was somebody who called me and said, ‘Do you know Yul is running for governor?’ We just heard it, and that’s it. There’s something we say in Igbo, which means, ‘If you go and pick up ant-infested firewood, it’s a direct invitation for lizards to come roost.’ So, here I am, and that’s all.”
Speaking further about his relationship with Mary Edochie, his son’s first wife, he said, “Mary is not just a daughter-in-law. I don’t want to say that I love Mary more than the other wives of my sons. But the love I have for Mary is so strong. Her father and I were very close. When we went for the traditional marriage rights in their place, the reception their people gave me is something I will never forget. Mary is a wonderful person, and she is very brilliant. To a large extent, the success of that home is credited to Mary. She is a wonderful woman, but many people have been advising her wrongly, trying to sunder the link between herself and her husband. Most of those women who are advising her that way don’t have good homes.”
On his view of polygamy, he shared, “The people who take a second wife know best why they take second wives. I don’t have any need for a second wife. I have a wife who has given me five sons. What am I going to look for in a second wife? No, it’s not necessary. I will not condemn polygamy because people have their reasons for what they do.”
He also shared his experience of how he got into acting, spurred on by his wife’s encouragement. He recounted how he lost his broadcasting job due to religious differences and internal issues and how his wife suggested he pursue his interest in acting. “I told my wife my work was over. She hugged me, bought me a bottle of beer, and said, ‘Pete, you’ve always wanted to be an actor; the time has come.’ I was sitting there with her in the parlor when somebody from Lagos came to give me a check for fifty thousand to make a film. At that time, my salary as the director was 9000 naira per month.”
Watch the excerpt, here.