Former Kannywood actress, Fati Ladan, has revealed the secret of the longevity of her marriage to Alhaji Yerima Shettima, the chairman of the Northern Youth Consultative Forum, which clocks ten years this week. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of their wedding, Fati, who is Shettima’s second wife, held a press conference at her residence in Kaduna where she tells reporters her impressions about love and life as a married, former actress. The NEW CITIZEN correspondent, ABBA MUHAMMAD, was there.
QUESTION: During your ten-year marriage with your husband Yerima Shettima, it appears as if you have never had any problem or conflict. What is the secret?
FATI LADAN: Greetings to everyone. I am very grateful to Allah (s.w.t.) for showing me this important day because ten years are not ten days.
What I can say is that surviving the past ten years with my husband is not a secret but only patience and love. Because if there is no love and patience you will not reach the desired destination. Well, patience and love are the only secrets.
As a movie star before you got married, did you become disturbed before you got used to marriage life?
Honestly, I was never disturbed. Because every time a person puts his mind to doing something, especially marriage, it becomes his priority. When I decided to get married, I put it in my mind that I would be committed to it. This is what I put into my mind so that I would not face any challenges regarding my marriage or feel that I was ‘missing’ something. My husband supports me one hundred per cent in everything; as long as it doesn’t go against my religion and my culture, he will support me. That is why I made him not only a husband but also a friend. Whatever we have to do, we do it together. I didn’t ‘miss’ anything, honestly, because I got everything I wanted from him.
What are you most proud of as a former popular actress?
What I am most proud of are two things. Every time I pass, people will start saying to each other, “Don’t you recognise her? She is Fati Ladan, the former actress!” Many people would rush to take pictures with me. I know that if not my sojourn in film acting, there is no way that I would receive such recognition. Well, I’m extremely proud of that.
According to Hausa tradition, when popular actresses get married, they change their phone numbers in order to avoid being disturbed with calls by their fans. Did you change your own number?
Yes, I did. When I was about to get married, my husband once visited me. I had two phones at the time, and he saw that the phones were ringing incessantly, and I noticed that he was not happy about it. A few days before our wedding, he asked me to change the numbers, and I said it was okay. Shortly before the wedding he changed all my lines.
Q: What do you admire most about your relationship with your husband?
A: What I admire most is that he is a man who shows so much affection to his wife, he is very affectionate to his entire family. Because he has a special time, even though I do a lot of things for him, he always has a special time for us. I am extremely happy with that.
Q: There is a rumour out there, which we’re sure you also know about, that popular Hausa actresses cannot stay married for long. What is your call to the old stars and the new ones?
A: What I can say is that they should be patient because whatever you have to do in this life if you want to achieve your life’s goals, achieve success in your destination, you have to be patient. Because you have never heard that a person’s patience is exhausted. Patience is the character of the Messenger of God (pbuh). Whatever they have to do, let them know that we are doing it for the sake of God. We are married for Allah’s sake, and what we are looking for in the afterlife does not come easily. Let’s be patient and bear it. Every marriage has problems, but if you are patient, you will reach where you want to go. Patience is the key to everything. And I want them to embrace it. Just like we were told that we cannot stay married, it is not like that. In my opinion, it is not only the marriage of actors that breaks down but because we are celebrities we are treated as if we are the only ones whose marriage doesn’t succeed. So I want them to be patient and reach where they want to go.
Q: There is a saying that a retired general is always a general. Now if something bad happens to the Hausa film industry, how do you feel?
A: Well, whenever good things happen to the industry, I feel happy, and whenever something that may ruin the industry happens, I feel bad, because whether I like it or not, I am one of them. I can never change this. As for whether I am interested in film acting, I am not, honestly. From the moment that I got married, I retired and left. I am in a marriage, and I pray to spend the rest of my life in my marital home. That’s my everlasting hope.
Q: Did you ever expect to receive the kind of support Alhaji Yerima Shettima gave you before you married him?
A: My husband and I met each other and got married within less than four months. Most of my love and care for him came after I got into his house, because I didn’t even know who he was when we met. You see, within four months, you will not be able to understand a person or who he is. All I can say is that God brought us together. But with the care I get in my husband’s house, I can only say thank you, O God.
Q: Do you have children?
A: Yes, of course.
Q: How many do you have?
A: Three. Two are alive, one has died.
Q: Boys or girls?
A: A boy and a girl. There is Aisha Humaira and Muhammad Shafi’u.
Q: What message do you have for your fans and friends out there?
A: I wish them all the best. And I am specially grateful for all the love they showed me when I was in the film industry and now that I am at home. Because there are many ‘comments’ that I see. I am so grateful.
(Translated from the Hausa language by Mahadi M. Muhammad)