Rita Edochie (born on 16th April 1964) is a 59-year-old Nigerian Nollywood actress, TV presenter/host, politician, and entrepreneur. She is also popular as the sister-in-law of the legendary Nollywood actor Pete Edochie.
Rita joined the Nigerian film industry in 1990. She started by starring in minor and supporting roles, but today, she has become a veteran in the industry. Thanks to the influence of her brother-in-law, Pete Edochie, it did not take Rita a lot of time to find her feet in the film industry. Here’s all you need to know about Rita Edochie, including her career growth, scandals she has been enmeshed in, and many more.
Rita Edochie is from Anambra State
Rita was born to Mr. and Mrs. Okwudili on 16th April 1968. She is 55 years old presently. She was born in Onitsha Anambra State, where she is also an indigene. However, the actress said she spent her early years with one of her uncles, Mr. Okika, who was then working at the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
According to the actress, her mother took her away to Mr. Okika when she was barely two years old, and that was just after the Nigerian civil war. It is not known the place uncle Okika was staying at that time, but Rita returned to her family in Onitsha when she was about to enter secondary school.
Rita Edochie’s Family
Rita was born into an Igbo-Christian family. Her parents are said to be strict disciplinarians, especially her mother. The thespian does not disclose personal information about her family background; hence, we do not have details of her parents’ current whereabouts and if they are still alive.
Talking about her siblings, the actress has an elder brother Augustine Okwudili and a sister, who is now late, Nnoyelum Okwudili. Nnoyelum died in 2015 from an undisclosed illness. Rita Edochie might also have other siblings unknown to the public. None of Rita Edochie’s siblings is in the limelight like herself.
Meanwhile, the thespian once told a story of how she was raped and sexually abused at a very young age when she was staying with her uncle in primary 6. The rape resulted in her getting pregnant, and she later had the baby, which is a girl child. To date, nothing is known about the identity and whereabouts of the girl.
She is Well Educated
As we have mentioned earlier, Rita had her early upbringing in her uncle’s house, where she received her primary education. She then returned to her hometown Onitsha and completed her secondary education. Rita Edochie narrated how she got married to her husband immediately after she finished secondary school.
Regardless, that did not deprive her of furthering her education at a higher institution. A few years after she got married, young Rita got admission to the prestigious Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Anambra State, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.
Rita Edochie Began Her Career as a Radio Broadcaster
Just after she graduated from UNIZIK, Rita landed her first job at Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), which was where she met her husband, who was already a staff member. At ABS, she worked as one of their presenters/host and newscaster. Rita worked with ABS until 1997 when she decided to explore other avenues in entertainment, which saw her venture into Nollywood.
During the time, she did not resign from ABS but was still holding her job and, at the same time, going for movie auditions. She narrated her ongoing law case with the Anambra State Government. She sued the government to the tune of N500 million for sending her on compulsory retirement in 2008, and the case has been in court since then.
On why she decided to hang on to her broadcasting job even after becoming an actress, Rita said that broadcasting and acting are interconnected, and she loves doing both.
Pete Edochie Influenced Rita Edochie’s Passion For Acting
On many occasions, Rita has admitted that her marriage to the Edochie family helped her to get to where she is today. Nollywood legend Pete Edochie was already popular in the film industry when Rita entered, and it played a huge role in her decision to become a full-time actress. She followed in the footsteps of Pete, AKA Ebubedike, her husband’s older brother.
Regardless, Rita Edochie said that she has always had a passion and skills for acting from a young age. For her, acting was inborn, but Pete Edochie influenced her to go for it. Hence, all the credits do not go to the legendary film star, but the coincidence of marrying into the family spurred it. She describes Pete as not just a brother inlaw but an inspirational figure in her career line.
Rita Edochie made her acting debut in the 1997 movie Waterloo directed by Teco Benson. Shortly after, she landed other roles in Evil Men, Igodo, and August Meeting. Although the roles she played in these movies are minor, they are regarded as her breakout movies which introduced her as an actress to the public.
Meanwhile, actress Rita didn’t do many movies during her early days in Nollywood. A year after her debut, she appeared in only one movie, Arusi Iyi, and in the following year, she featured in two films. Her career, however, started blossoming in 2002 when she graced the screen with six movies. Then, 2003 saw her surfacing in movies in quick successions, and it was no surprise that she recorded over 20 appearances before the year ended.
Rita Edochie and her brother-in-law Pete Edochie have worked together in several Nollywood blockbuster movies, and her passion and brilliant acting performance further cemented their relationship. As Nollywood stars, some of the successful movies they have costarred in are Chain Reaction, Bad Blood, Naked Wrestler, Living with Death, Tears and Sorrows, and The Python, among others.
She has featured in over 200 Nigerian movies and acted alongside other veterans like Ngozi Ezeonu, Zuby Micheal, Clems Ohameze, and many others. Rita Edochie is well-known in movies for crying and playing motherly roles.
Some of Rita Edochie’s Movies Include
- Censored Love
- Love Delayed
- Blood Affair
- Marriage Pressure
- Abuja Top Ladies
- When Love Beckons
- Royal Doom
- Passionate Appeal
- Forced Promise
- Stretched Heart
- Divided Secret
- No More War
- Floating Feelings
Rita Edochie has remained relevant even in this new dispensation of Nollywood. She is a household name and one of the celebrated actresses in the industry. However, her appearance in films seems to have dwindled in recent times, and the actress revealed it is due to the poor remunerations actors have been paid currently.
Hence, she has been using some of her time to embark on business trips to other countries to ensure her family is well catered for. Regardless, she is still present and active in the film industry.
Rita Edochie’s Awards and Recognitions
Thanks to her dedication and hard work, Rita Edochie has bagged a couple of awards for her successful works and contribution to the growth and development of the Nigerian entertainment industry. Her awards include:
- Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, as Best Actress in a Leading Role
- African Movies Academy, for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role
- Ambassador For Peace Award from Universal Peace Federation
- City People Entertainment Award for Most Promising Actress in Nigeria
The Controversies Rita Edochie Has Courted Overtime
Aside from her acting career, Rita Edochie may be a private person, but the actress has been involved in a couple of controversies that continue to make headlines. Even though she tries to keep her personal and family affair away from the media, rumors once trailed that she is no longer together with her husband.
However, her daughter, who in 2020 celebrated her parents’ marriage of three decades, debunked the rumors and confirmed that they are still together.
Brouhaha Involving Late Ada Jesus, Rita Edochie, and Prophet Odumeje
In early 2021, popular Nigerian online comedian, Mmesoma Obi, best known as Ada Jesus, trended online after she released a video accusing Onitsha-based controversial pastor, prophet Chukwuemeka Odumeje AKA Indabosky or Liquid Metal of performing fake miracles.
The man of God who is known for his unorthodox healing methods for seemingly demon-possessed individuals is the founder of The Mountain of Holy Ghost Intervention and Deliverance Ministry. Meanwhile, actress Rita Edochie was a staunch member and follower of the pastor.
According to Ada Jesus, the actress is grossly involved in the scam as she was among those who organized the alleged staged miracles. The comedienne further said that in arrangement with the prophet, Rita pays people who are very sound and healthy to feign sickness, after which he lays a hand on them in prayer, and they claim to have been healed.
Ada Jesus also divulged that she helped Rita Edochie to get men who would sleep with her for a fee. A few months after she made these allegations, Ada fell seriously ill and was diagnosed with kidney failure, which left her paralyzed.
One would not be surprised that speculations soon began to make rounds that her ailment resulted from her accusation against Odumeje, as many believed the prophet had cursed her in anger. Also, her condition was further tagged as “medically impossible to treat.”
Rita Edochie and Odumeje’s Reaction to Her Illness
Heading to people’s advice and suggestions, Ada Jesus was taken by her family to Odumeje’s church to plead for forgiveness from both the prophet and Rita and to get deliverance. However, Odumeje reportedly rejected her pleas but asked her to provide evidence supporting her claims and allegations; otherwise, he would not only deal with her but also with her generation.
He recounted the amount of damage and ruin the video, which went viral, did to his reputation. The whole drama happened at Odumeje’s church in Onitsha in the presence of his congregation, who stood and watched in awe. Also, actress Rita who was present in the church during the drama, laid even more curses on the sick Ada Jesus.
Rita was seen in the video praying that Ada Jesus dies from her ailment so that others would learn their lessons and not insult men of God.
Nevertheless, on Sunday, 11th April 2021, Rita Edochie, despite all her admissions not to forgive Ada Jesus, released a 3-minute Instagram video where she claimed to have forgiven her for all the lies she spread against her and her prophet. In the video, she went further to warn people to desist from raining insults on men of God, especially her prophet, Odumeje.
In her words, “Use Odumeje to respect me, he is good for me and that is why I am following him.” Moreso, Prophet Odumeje came out to say that he had forgiven Ada Jesus, after which he donated the sum of N1 million to the family to help sort out her medical bills.
Ada Jesus Died Shortly After
Ada Jesus died on 21st April 2021, and the news of her death came a few days after Odumeje and Rita’s announcement about forgiving her. Even though she publicly said to have forgiven the comedian, Rita was revisited with a lot of criticism, with many accusing her of playing a role in her death.
While many on social media showered her with curses, others called for her immediate arrest and wished for an abrupt end to her professional acting career. Meanwhile, reacting to the criticisms, the actress took to her Instagram page hours after her death and posted some video clips. One of the videos showed a choir singing and chanting, “Jesus is Lord.” Hours later, she posted another video and captioned it, “In Jesus, I stand, I pity you that don’t know.”
These suggestive posts did not sit well with many as they saw it as a celebration of the comedian’s death. Responding to people who said she would no longer score movie roles because of this scandal, Rita replied to them in an Instagram post that she is actually in a movie set as she speaks.