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26 Mar 2014

"I Was Once Chief Ebenezer Obey's Houseboy"-Shina Peters

Many years ago, Shina and actress Clarion Chukwura had a relationship which produced Clarence Peters. She was faced with an option of aborting the child but she didn’t. She raised him all by herself and today he is one of the biggest music directors in the entertainment industry today
When he was just eight, Shina Peters told his parents that education was not for him. “I had two siblings and we lived in one room. The prospect of schooling was not that bright, so I opted to start my music career immediately.  At that age, I was already the choir leader in our church and I played the organ and keyboard very well.
“At a point, I left my parents and became a houseboy to Chief Ebenezer Obey.   I played his guitar whenever he was not at home.  When Prince Adekunle had an accident in 1980, they were looking for a guitarist to replace him. They called for an audition and out of 36 people, they picked me,” he recounts.
The suggestion that he might have regretted his decision not to go to school sounds very ridiculous to Shina.   He gives a reply in his trademark pidgin English.  “No, wetin I wan take am do?  if I wan employ professors and PhD holders today, I can afford to employ them.  When people started laughing at Shina and saying he was making grammatical errors, Fela told them to keep quiet. He told them that as a doctor of music, he (Fela), sang in Pidgin English.”
Most people don’t know that Peters is a real knight, hence the ‘Sir’ before his name.  “I went to London in 1970 and at an event organised by the United Nigerian Cultural Organisation in collaboration with the British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I was made a knight. They were amazed at how well I could play the guitar at that tender age,” he says.
Just three years short of his 60th birthday, the robust -looking musician has a lot to be thankful for.  “I can tell you that I am a very controversial person.  After Fela, it is Shina Peters.  People like brewing scandals with my name. From drug pushing to impregnating countless women, name them, I have been branded with them.  Despite all the controversies, thank God that today, I am still relevant. I have eight grandchildren. My first child was born when I was 14,” he reveals.
One would want to know what happened, how many women were involved and what escapades led to his being a teenage father.  But Peters closes up after dropping that brief hint and no amount of persuasion made him open up. “I don’t talk about my family,” he says, dismissing the topic. But not before briefly lauding his famous son and music producer, Clarence Peters.  “Clarence is from heaven. He is a genius and I am really happy for him.  Unfortunately, I don’t discuss my family,” he reiterates.
Asked what may be responsible for his youthful looks at the age of 57, Peters says, “Nothing special really. Food is not responsible for my looks because I don’t eat.  But I swim like a fish. I can swim for 10 hours.  One thing I miss as I grow older is my childhood. When my mates were playing with toys, I was on stage or at rehearsals. That is why I love children a lot. I praise children and women in most of my songs,” he says.

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