Regina Fani-Kayode (Nee Hanson Amonoo) is a business woman, pastor and the legal wife of Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation.
According to Mrs Fani-Kayode, who lives in Ghana, their 23-year-old union remains rock solid irrespective of a fourth wife (Precious Chikwendu) in the picture.
In a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mrs Fani-Kayode speaks about their union and her relationship with his fourth wife.
PT: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Regina: I am a pastor, interior designer and I live in Ghana. I am a very private person so I’ll love us to leave it at that
PT: Why do you live in Ghana?
Regina: I used to live in Nigeria but a few years ago, I came to Ghana because I wanted my daughter to be in a particular school. So I came down to Ghana and we were going back to Nigeria at weekends and we got back before school every week.
After a while, it became a little bit too stressful, so our visits reduced to like one weekend in a month, then one weekend every three months and all. With all the political activities in Nigeria and everything, it was also a better environment here in Ghana than in Nigeria.
PT: How long have you been living in Ghana?
Regina: Quite a while, maybe slightly lesser than ten years.
PT: You said in a recent interview that you are still legally married to FFK.
Regina: Very very married. I talk to him every single day. We talk every single day, sometimes, we talk for hours or less.
PT: It’s a bit confusing now. Did he marry Precious while still married to you?
Regina: He paid a dowry on Precious, I think this year February. I felt it was the right thing to do because they have four children and it is only right for him to do the right thing. I am still married to him, I am his legal wife and everything but the circumstances demanded a little bit of you know, and because of the children.
He introduced Precious to me from the very beginning, he told me that he was a bit lonely and he needed somebody. You know he likes talking and so he needed company all the time. I understood because I knew that he was lonely and I wasn’t there.
PT: At that point, why didn’t you decide to come back?
Regina: My daughter was already a teenager and at that age, they start socialising and if you’re not there to watch over them if anything happens, you won’t be able to blame anybody but yourself.
PT: Why didn’t you return to Nigeria with your daughter?
Regina: No, because at that age, she was almost approaching the end of a stage and I didn’t want to interrupt her schooling. Another thing is that she never liked any of the Nigerian schools that she was attending, so she insisted on being in the same school as Folake. Folake is Femi’s first daughter. They got on very well so, from a very young age, she was always insisting.
Regina: Yes. Femi is a great guy, he’s wonderful, a great husband, and everything but that won’t stop him from occasionally cheating. So, I’m not the type that will say if I’m there 24/7, it will stop him from doing that. I am a very practical person, I wasn’t going to risk watching over my daughter to stay with him because if it will happen, it will still happen anyway.
It is better for him to be upfront about it and tell me I like this girl and everything rather than sneaking around and all that. So, when he introduced this girl (Precious) to me, I liked the girl because she was nice and all that. I completely loved her, we got on like a house on fire, and we were like sisters.
She was like my baby. We were very close to the point that any complaint that Femi ever had, I won’t even hear it. Whatever she says was what I’ll insist Femi does for her. She was very demanding but I thought it was because of her age. I didn’t mind, she was like my little sister.
PT: Most women would be jealous…
Regina: No, I wasn’t. I have a lot of Igbo friends so I took to her (Regina) immediately. There was never any issue of me being jealous or anything. Ever.
PT: Weren’t you lonely too? Since your husband was with somebody else?
Regina: Well, I was, but I was very engaged with everything I was doing. The ministry work and then watching over my daughter.
My outlook on that is that, if a man will cheat, he will cheat no matter what you do. Now, it’s up to you to know what you want. It’s up to the woman to decide. Growing up, we didn’t learn that, we just assumed that he is going to stay faithful to his vows because every woman believes in the vows they are making.
PT: Some people are wondering why you have decided to go public to speak about your marriage at this time.
Regina: If anybody goes through Femi’s page, his Facebook page, they will realise that up until Precious came into the picture, he always posted my photos on his page and everything. I am a very private person, I don’t like that kind of exposure. Why did I come out now? I came out now because, for years, one of his ex-wives had posted stories against him because she was very bitter. She posted stories about all sorts of things, domestic abuse, and whatever. But the two of us totally ignored it because it wasn’t true. We never addressed it publicly.
The sad thing about it is that she never posted any story about what she claimed Femi did to her. She created a fantasy scenario of Femi attacking me, beating me and me attacking his first wife, who was also divorced by him. She created all kinds of scenarios, crazy ones and we never did anything about it. Over the years, people have assumed that it must be true.
PT: What is this impression you are talking about?
Regina: The idea and impression is that FFK beats up his wives and it is stuck in people’s minds. And as far as they are concerned, he has been married three times and he beats up all his three wives and they all left him. And that was completely false. It wasn’t true.
The first wife whom he divorced got married to him when he was twenty-two but it didn’t work because of some reasons. She has never posted anything about any abuse anywhere. He married the second one, she was the one that was posting all these things and then I came into the picture and he has never abused me or anything. I am not divorced from him, I’m still with him.
PT: And when he was with his fourth wife, Precious, you guys were still in talks?
Regina: Everyday. Not just with him but with Precious as well. I talk to him for hours, I talk to Precious as well and the children know me.
PT: Having been married to him for 23 years, how would you describe your husband?
Regina: He is very charming, very generous to a fault, very intelligent, very passionate about everything and very sensitive to people’s emotions. He is also very compassionate and he just has a short temper but it blows over very quickly and that is it for him. He doesn’t bear grudges and he would even overcompensate for it most of the time. That is his nature, that is how he is.
PT: Now that he allegedly has an issue with Precious, have you tried to mediate?
Regina: I have mediated in every argument they’ve ever had. Back in November or December, something happened which I don’t want to go into details. Something like an ‘entanglement’ by Precious and I still intervened. I spoke to her to get her side of the story but there was no way to get her out of it.
For the first time, I was really angry with her but I still got Femi to calm down and not to react or send her away or break the relationship. It was very very difficult for Femi and at that point, he felt like I was not sympathetic to his feelings but I felt like it could be handled. It was bad but at the same time, it could be handled.
I and a lot of people talked him into keeping her (Precious), in spite of the situation. At that point, her dad was in the hospital dying and Femi is the person that finances his medical bills. So, if he just lets go, the man’s medical bills, his burial, everything was going to be a disaster. We had to just push him into just cooling down and accepting to go about it in a different way, instead of even allowing the situation to come out.
After that situation, a lot of information now came out which was even worse than that entanglement, bordering on life and death. After that one came out, I was like, I mean, it can’t go on because if you can’t trust somebody with your life, you can’t be with that person. That was when I actually broke off with her. I told her no no no, I cannot continue being on your side when it comes to life and death.
PT: So, will you move to Nigeria ?
Regina: I come visiting so it’s not a big deal. It’s not like I don’t come at all.
PT: When you come around do you guys still have that time together?
Regina: No, because Precious has become my friend. Since this latest issue, I haven’t been there. When I come to Nigeria I don’t sleepover at thiers. I just stop by to check on him, check on some business, and then I’m out. Because I wanted them to be happy.
I never felt like I’m not with him. I will always be with him.
PT: But the intimacy is important.
Regina: Yes, it is but ever since he cheated, that was way before Precious, he cheated once and I was like how could you possibly? So I was like if this can be possible, I had to re-orientate my thinking. I didn’t allow physical intimacy to be a big thing with me.
PT: How do you manage advances from men?
Precious: They all know I’m married, very married.
PT: Where did you two get married?
Regina: We had our engagement in Ghana, and we did our registry marriage in Nigeria.
PT: Was Precious married under the law?
Regina: No, hers wasn’t under the law. He just paid her dowry and they held a traditional marriage.
PT: Have you spoken to Precious since this incident?
Regina: No, I haven’t because I will not talk to somebody who wants to destroy my husband. The last time I talked to her, that was when we were trying to settle the entanglement case. She made statements that made me realise that she wasn’t truly what she pretended to be. She made statements like she was going to scandalise him and destroy his political career.
PT: What is your view about his political life?
Regina: I actually met him when he came to a prayer group in Ghana and he came there to pray. There was a prophecy in his life that had something to do with his political career. So, I knew that that was what God wanted him to do and that was also why he sticks to politics no matter what happens. He says, ‘‘I cannot run away to another country because I want to have peace of mind. God wants me to do this (politics), let me do it for God’’.