The Complicated Marriage of Tonto Dikeh

The Complicated Marriage of Tonto Dikeh

Controversy courts the captivating celebrity. Or you may put it the other way: The captivating celebrity courts controversy. Tonto Dikeh is one Nollywood actress who had been in more controversies than even the worldwide web can accommodate. And as if to add sweet icing on her cake of controversies she put up on her Instragram page recently that her proposed new husband, Mr. Oladunni Olakunle Churchill, is actually one of the sons of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Here is what TontoDikeh wrote on her Instragram page: “A big Congratulations to us and thanks to everyone who wished us well and still wishing Us… Special thanks to My father in law The ex president of Nigeria Baba Obj and my Lovely mother In law… Exclusive Special thanks to my lovely father and best friend Chief Hon. Dikeh and also to the best Step Mom in the Whole world, who never ceases to pray for me… As you wish me will (sic) may your Joy be full and mighty Am a happy Woman and NOTHING will ever take that away from me… Btw I have the best mother Inlaw and InLaws any Girl can wish for ‪#‎Mrs‬ Churchill”

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A photograph featuring Tonto, Obasanjo, Tonto’s husband and another lady more or less lent credence to her deposition. There were other plenteous pictures of the engagement party. But before the guests could depart, word emerged that the new husband had earlier been married to another woman. The gist then emanated that Tonto Dikeh’s advertised husband is not a direct son of former President Obasanjo. Some sources allege that Oladunni Churchill is Obasanjo’s nephew, being the son of the former president’s younger brother. Even so, Tonto could be said to be right to have called him his father-in-law in the spirit of the Yoruba tradition, which recognizes a daughter’s marriage into an entire family and not to a particular personage.

At any rate, many observers argued that Obasanjo was not in fact a great in-law for Tonto to crow about given the dysfunctional nature of the former president’s immediate family. Oluremi Obasanjo, his first wife, published an unflattering book, Bitter-Sweet: Life With Obasanjo, a sordid tale of serial wife-battering. Obasanjo’s first daughter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, equally published an open letter in the Vanguard openly disowning him. Obasanjo’s son Gbenga, on his part, swore to an affidavit in court detailing how his father slept with his wife, averring that the old man may have fathered the children of his (Gbenga’s) marriage!

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But Tonto refuses to be bothered, claiming that she had found the one true love of her chequered life. The grapevine gravy tells that Oladunni Churchill started out his pursuit of her while she was still in love with his friend, Michael Awujoola, popularly known as Malivelihood. Tonto would eventually transfer her affections from Malivelihood and add a touch of mystery to the tryst by broadcasting that she had at last found love in a certain Mr. X. The mysterious Mr. X later turned out to be Oladunni Olakunle Churchill, the chairman of a software management company called Big Churchill Haven Ltd. He also doubles as the CEO of BigChurch Entertainment on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.
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In the nature of controversies always dogging Tonto’s affairs, it was soon revealed that Oladunni Churchhill had been married to one Bimbo Coker in December 2012 although defenders of her new heartthrob inform that he had long been separated from Bimbo, who is now said to be based in Malaysia.

Born on June 9, 1985 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Tonto Charity Dikeh has, over the years, tried to build a career as an actress, only to later branch into singing and songwriting. She is from a family of seven of Ikwerre extraction and bears the aliases Pokolee and Tontolet.
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She started getting a measure of the much-coveted limelight back in 2005 when, as a starry-eyed 20-year-old, she became involved in a television reality show called The Next Movie Star. She ended up as the first runner-up. Her performance opened the doors to the Nollywood which she had earnestly yearned for. In her words, it provided the means for getting closer to the “big time”.

She was by no means an instant hit with movie buffs. Her controversial breakthrough took some time to manifest. In the course of 2006, she had taken part in movies such as Holy Cross, Pounds and Dollars, and Tea or Coffee. She upped the ante in 2007 with roles in the movies Missing Rib, Final Hour, Away Match, and Games Fools Play. It was in 2010 that she hit her controversial pitch with Dirty Secret which contained scenes of nudity. She has never looked back. To give Tonto her due, she tries to acquit herself somewhat professionally without being typecast, as can be gleaned in her 2014 movies Battle of the Queens and Throne of War.
She has dabbled into music, meeting with equal controversy. Tonto teamed up with Patience Ozokwor, the archetypal domineering mother-in-law, to shoot a movie under the auspices of Amaco Investments. Her debut singles, “Hi” and “Itz Ova”, featuring Snypa, were panned by critics over her voice quality – or lack thereof. She refused to be daunted, forging ahead with another single, “Crazically Fit”, featuring the more popular musician Terry G, who doubled as the producer. It was much of a surprise to many when, on June 13, 2014, the celebrated hip-hop singer D’banj unveiled Tonto as one of the artistes of his label DB Records’ LEE family.

Here are the harsh words of movie director Charles Novia on Tonto Dikeh’s singing and acting: “Whoever produced her knew she has a bad voice for singing and masked our listening torture with the Autotune effect. But even the Autotune rejected any attempt to make a bad voice worse and Miss Dike came out sounding like she was in mid-stream orgasm instead of singing! Her anguished tremolos would have been better reserved for a horror movie sound effect than an attempt at joining the revered profession of music. If Omotola got away with her last two terrible attempts at singing, it was because Omotola is a fantastic actress and her fans could forgive her musical failings after backtracking her body of work in Nollywood. With Tonto, I can’t say much either for her acting depth. She’s a one-dimensional actress in my opinion, who mistakes notoriety for fame. She needs more training in acting and this I say with all sense of professionalism as a movie Director. She might achieve greater heights in acting if she trains more. But she has no heights to achieve in singing. Only a downward plunge, the stuff bad endings in movies are made of.”


By: Uzor Maxim Uzoatu

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