Nollywood stars, who featured in a yet-to-be-released movie — Love Castle, have mourned the demise of their colleague, Rachel Oniga.
The movie producer, Beatrice Funke Ogunmola in her tribute, described Oniga as “an icon”.
Oniga before her demise featured in the movie alongside Kehinde Bankole, Jide Kosoko, Zack Orji, Desmond Elliot, Femi Adebayo Salami, Adedimeji Lateef, Halima Abubakar.
Ogunmola said, “My dear Chief (Mrs) Rachel Tabuno Oniga, our own Aunty Rachel in the Nollywood industry, your death is one too many. To say that we’re devastated is an understatement.
Recalling how they met in Houston, USA in 2019, she explained how Oniga welcomed the upcoming project — Love Castle.
“Being a screen goddess, you were cast to play IYALODE in Love Castle movie. You accepted the role with all joy. After reading the screenplay, you sent me this message via WhatsApp “This is a wonderful story and well scripted. I am in love with it.”
“Come November 2019 at our Ibadan movie location, you came on fully ready as usual; you nailed your role. You were friendly, a mother to many you were, even on that set.
“During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, you sent WhatsApp messages asking about the progress of Love Castle and we both shared how the pandemic had slowed the world down.
“We wanted the pandemic to be over because your annual vacation is due, we wanted it over so Love Castle will be released, we wanted it over so the world can return to us all. You encouraged me a lot during this time.
“When I told you we got the theatrical distribution deal with Blue Pictures Distribution, you were excited. You congratulated me and promised me your unflinching support. You even sent me some pictures you took on set via WhatsApp when I discussed certain needs with you in June, 2021.
“On July 24, I sent you a “Safe the date” premiere invite, but you didn’t reply. I never knew you’ll never reply. I never knew you were battling to stay on this side with us. On July 31st, alas, I woke up to the shocking news that our Aunty Rachel Oniga passed on to glory the night before, July 30th – a sad day indeed.”
“The entire Love Castle Cast and Crew mourn your death. You won’t be at the premiere event with us; you won’t see the final project you worked so hard on come to live. It’s a hard pill to swallow.” She added.
Other members of the crew, including Jide Kosoko, Desmond Elliott, Lateef Adedimeji, and Kehinde Bankole in their separate condolence messages mourned Oniga’s demise.
“Late Oniga was a nice colleague and the memory of the time spent together will never be forgotten,” Kosoko said.
On his part, Elliot said the country and the world of entertainment would miss her greatly.
Lateef in his own emotional tribute, admonished everyone to reflect and evaluate their ways of life, noting that life is ephemeral but beautiful.
“Your good works speak for you, may your sweet spirit light the path onward,” Bankole said.
The crew prayed that God will grant the family fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.