There have been a lot of controversies around the P-Square music group and their manager, Jude Okoye, in recent times. Although fans do not really know the root of the Okoye Brouhaha, Peter Okoye, who recently announced his break up from the group, opened up in an exclusive interview with Ayeni Adekunle of TheNet.
The interview took place in the comfort of Peter’s new villa in Lekki on Thursday, March 17, following an invitation from his new manager, Olatunde Michaels.
Note that P-Square started their career in 2003 as a family business, where Peter Okoye and his twin brother, Paul Okoye, were managed by their elder brother, Jude Okoye. They produced and released their albums through Square Records. In December 2011, they signed a record deal with Akon’s Konvict Muzik label, and in May 2012, signed a record distribution deal with Universal Music South Africa. The duo are currently GLO ambassadors, However, Peter Okoye is the founder of GLO sponsored TV Show “Dance With Peter.”
According to TheNet, they arrived Peter’s home and met him casually dressed in a patterned T-shirt and a pair of dark blue jeans. They were warmly welcomed and started the conversation with catching up on old times and clearing the air. Although they had slight interruptions by Peter’s little daughter, Aliona, who came into the sitting room at intervals looking for daddy’s attention, the interview went well and revealed underlying issues about P-Square that fans never knew of.
All three brothers are now married with children. They have millions if not billions in their separate accounts but choose to live in separate buildings on same street. However, due to the fracas, Peter is planning to move to Parkview estate in Ikoyi. Peter and Paul, who live just a building apart, rarely set eyes on one another. They’re no longer the inseparable duo everyone loves.
The due haven’t performed together since December 28, 2015. In fact, they’ve only seen each other a couple of times since then, in rather hostile circumstances. After years of dealing with family issues and trying to solve their differences, they’re now dishing out dirty details on social media, using their very own hands to drag a brand they’ve built over nearly two decades through the mud.
Peter of Psquare Speaks:
‘The truth is our fans should be happy that we were able to drop the ‘Double Trouble’ album in 2014. What’s happening now should have happened then. The issue was the fact that I was in P-Square and it felt like I was in fear. If I don’t do this, P-Square will break-up, if I don’t do that, P-Square will scatter. Four years ago, I told Jude he needs to step down as our manager, because I didn’t want to disrespect him as a brother, but this is business, [and] we have to structure it. And Jude said to me that there’s a way I [should] talk to him, and [threatened to] slap me. So I kept quiet.’
So, a few hours after, Paul came to me and said if I want Jude to step down it wasn’t a problem, but it meant that he (Paul) would go solo. The first time word got out about Psquare breaking up, a lot of people called us; senators, governors, and people like that. In fact, three of us were once in a private jet to go and see someone who wanted to resolve our issues, and we didn’t speak to each other throughout the flight. At the end of the day, I swallowed my pride for peace to reign and allowed Jude to remain as our manager.’
‘I and Paul stay together in this estate and the last time I saw him was about a week ago. Truth is, I’ve not been in talking terms with Paul since December 2015 and that was why I traveled in January because I had a lot on my mind. Something happened at Mavin Studios last year that broke my heart.”
Peter said, trying to conceal the pain.
P-Square featured on songs with J-Martins, Bracket, LKT, 9ice and these 4 songs were done by Paul alone, but guess what, did I appear in the videos, YES. We have other collabos with Kaha, Darey, Ruggedman. I did these songs alone. How come they don’t have videos? Paul refused to appear in the videos. So I told Paul that when next he does a collabo alone, he should be in the video alone, because it got to a point where artistes began to feel if they did a collabo with Paul it [would] get a video, but if it was me, it [wouldn’t] get a video.
The last collabo we did was with Flavour and I refused to do another one. Even Flavour had to speak all the Igbo he knows to convince me before I agreed to do it. Only for my brother to come and tell me that ‘shey I thought you said you won’t appear in any video that I did the collabo alone? Why did you appear on this one?’ I was sad but I knew another one will come.”
“So Tiwa Savage called me; apparently Paul had done a song with her – not the campaign song they are promoting now, another P-Square collabo entirely. So she [said] she’s been trying to reach Paul to get the CD of the song from him [because] he’s already done his part, so I went to Paul’s house to help ask for it and tell him I want to go to the studio to do my verse and he said he doesn’t know where the CD is.”
‘I went to the Mavin studio to meet Tiwa,’
‘When I got there, she asked for the CD and I told her Paul didn’t give me any CD, so I called him again and gave the phone to Tiwa and [he] told her on phone that the CD is at Omole, so I got into the studio, recorded my verse and when I finished, everybody was clapping. I was surprised to realize that Paul had [told] them that I don’t sing or write songs.’
I felt really bad and betrayed, but I covered up for him. I jokingly asked Teebillz if they gave him Red Label and he said yes, so I was like you guys caused it, and we laughed over it. So when my assistant went to pick up the CD, Paul and Jude started shouting at him to ‘ask Peter what is he doing at the Mavin studio? He knows how we work.’ The next day, I went to Paul and told him how I felt when I heard what he said. Only for Jude to say that he made Paul the lead singer of P-Square 8 years ago! A leader leads, he doesn’t destroy.’
While close relations of the Okoye’s say Jude is the cause of all their problems, he seems to be the brain behind the success of the duo. Other top notch Nigerian artistes charge between N3-5m, P-Square’s management demands N6.5m as artiste fee. For events overseas, they charged as high as $120,ooo due to their high demand and level of packaging.
Six years ago, Globacom, a Nigerian telecommunication company, signed an endorsement deal with them with a total fees of N240m, making them the highest paid Nigerian artiste in recent times. P-Square were also the only brand ambassadors presented with brand new Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-Wagon courtesy of GLO. Despite all the hype and publicity, Peter says P-Square had zero structure.
‘When it came to decision-making, it was always a Triangle formation, and the highest vote wins. I never used to complain because we were all okay, but what has changed now is the fact that we’ve grown. You can make a certain decision based on how we used to do it and it may affect everyone as an individual, but it gets to a point when the decisions taken are never my own and I began to wonder if anything was wrong.’
Most of P-Square ideas came from me, like [the] materials we needed to put out for people to see, video, stage performances and all. But when I came up with them, nobody wanted to accept it. I didn’t complain because people still love what we do, but then again, there wasn’t much competition in the industry back then.
As time goes, we should get better; it shouldn’t be same triangle deciding, because if we continue that same way, we’ll lose it. All I want is a proper structure in the sense that, we need to have proper management, business managers and all. As I speak to you right now, we don’t have an office, [we have] no structure. When this issue started about five years ago, our lawyer told us the way we run our business is wrong. I’ll give you an instance’.
‘We had to go perform somewhere once, and because I had a slight argument with Paul, he said he wasn’t going. It was the wedding of the President’s daughter. When I got to the airport my brother wasn’t there, and I [didn’t know] how I was going to explain to the President that we [couldn’t] perform. I made up my mind to go with the band, perform like that and lie that my brother was sick.
So we left for Abuja, and when we got to the hotel, my assistant manager called [to say] he was on the way to the airport with Paul, so we had to wait for them to land in Abuja and that was why we couldn’t make it on time to the reception.’
‘The president was mad. In fact, Mama Peace (Patience Jonathan) was really mad. But we eventually made up for it with a performance at the Gala night. Only for Jude to [tell me that] Paul said he wasn’t going for a show and I still went [without him]. Imagine if Jude had a proper structure and we had contracts? That wouldn’t happen. And it was more because the show came through me. If the show came through Jude, it wouldn’t have happened.
I don’t have a problem with doing things as a family, but structure and proper organization is important too. The name P-Square is very big outside, but inside we have no structure. I see people like Audu of Chocolate City, Mavin Records, even Ubi Franklin, and I wanted us to have a structure like that. P-Square is just up there because of the grace of God.’
‘It’s really sad that people have labeled me ‘Dancer’ and they don’t really know what I do for P-Square. Kudos to Paul, I’m not a good songwriter; in fact, I’ll rate myself 30%, so when it comes to song writing, I give it to Paul 100%. ‘However, not writing songs does not disqualify you from being a musician. I can tell you for free that a Nigerian wrote two of the songs on Rihanna’s new album.
I’ve traveled a lot and most times people ask, ‘which one are you, the singer or the dancer’? And it’s really sad. In P-Square, I am the creative person, I can sit-down and tell you what people want to hear, what they want to see and what they want to learn from P-Square. But it’s not something to brag about. Jude directs all our videos.’
‘This whole thing began when Paul went online and started posting lyrics of most of our songs on Instagram [and saying]that he wrote them all, just because Peter brought in something to the table. I had been trying to bring more business for P-Square. I didn’t know it was going to cause problems. I sent my manager to a meeting in Senegal to meet with Universal music about getting us deals, and when he came back, the way they responded to him wasn’t encouraging.’
‘So I had to send Diouf (the footballer) to help get the documents and convince my brothers before we could pull through with the deal. After some months, we started making money. Meanwhile, while filling the forms, Jude filled everything as P-Square. So the first payment came and we shared it. The second payment was bigger, and we shared it too.
That was when Paul said we had to re-fill the form and give proper credit to the songwriter (Himself) and said if the form wasn’t brought back, he would expose me and tell the world that he writes all the songs. The next day he went online to post those lyrics. So my question is, when he was doing that what did Jude do about it? Absolutely nothing!’
‘I remember I once told Paul something when Jude became our manager; he was using the term ‘Our Money,’ that was when we made our first 1 million [naira]. I called Paul and told him that our former manager used to make about 15%, and now that Jude is our manager, let’s think of a percentage that we’ll be giving him and put it on paper. Paul said it’s not necessary. He probably went to tell Jude about it. I’m sorry to say this, but I think Paul is weak.’
‘You know they say change is constant, you can’t stay in one spot. As the industry moves, you move. So I won’t say the problem we have is money. I think everybody is just dragging power unnecessarily. Imagine Jude telling me that he’s in charge of P-Square and there’s nothing Peter and Paul can do about it, and I look at Paul and he’s quiet about it. I’ve never seen where a manager talks to his artistes anyhow. If there’s an issue you should call us aside quietly to talk about it.’
‘On December 14, 2015, we sat down to have a meeting hoping to set a proper structure in place, but Paul noticed that it wasn’t working the way he wanted, so he said he’s starting a new group. I thought he meant he wanted to start a record label, and he was like no, he’s starting a new group that he belongs to. And Jude simply said, ‘anybody stop you?’ He picked up his phones and walked out of the meeting. I felt it had already been discussed behind me.
I later found out that Paul was already recruiting for the group and Jude is their manager. At the moment I hear they are called ‘The MVPs’ I don’t know what it means yet. So how do you expect me to be managed by the same person we’ve been having issues with, who is now the manager of the other group? There’ll surely be conflict of interest.’
‘[Recently] Jude called me, after I had said he was fired. He called me on a Thursday to say ‘Hope you know we are going to the embassy tomorrow for that show in Holland.’ I know about the show, [because] it was already booked before the issues started, so I told him, ‘Bro you are not my manager, talk to my manager.’ He said, ‘Noted.’
The next day, they went to the embassy with the new group members, which means they had already set up their interviews at the embassy because it’s not possible to get an appointment in less than 24 hours. I traced the organizers and told them Jude represents only Paul. I told them this is what it takes to get Peter and Paul, Peter alone or Paul alone. So I went on social media to protect our careers, because if I didn’t do that, P-Square will not release any material anytime soon, they’ll be busy promoting their artistes.
And I remember going to talk to Paul about it before I went on social media. I went to his house, and he was in his room with his friend, [whom I asked to excuse us, but] Paul said, no, his friend should stay, [and that] anything I want to say should be said in front of him. So I said, no, you know we are brothers and he was like, ‘oh, na now you know say we be brothers.’
I told him I came to talk to him about what’s been happening, but it was turning into an argument so I left and I traveled out. I was away for over a month, knowing that we didn’t have any shows at that time. I went to Turkey and London to rest my mind, my friend Samuel Eto’o invited me to come.’
Peter Okoye went ahead to explain how he fired his elder brother, Jude, as their manager, and how he is ready to move on with his life and career. However, he keeps an open mind that P-Square may or may not come back together. Click here for full interview.