16 December 2017

Nigeria: Fall of P-Square Empire - What Next?

Photo: Vanguard
P-Square.

In this report, SAMUEL ABULUDE writes on the post P Square era and how the twin brothers' solo career may fare and the lessons to be learnt.

There is a popular saying that "Boys are allowed to fight but the brotherhood must stay strong and united." This may not apply to the dilemma that befell the most entertaining pop music artistes to have come from Nigeria ana Africa at large.

The group, made up of Peter and Paul Okoye and managed by their elder brother, Jude Okoye, ruled the music scene as king of concerts for almost a decade. The group may have been consumed by family squabbles and the inability to innovate and build an enduring management structure around the artistes.

Now, Peter Okoye has rebranded into Mr P as his stage name while Paul Okoye is now known as RudeBoy.

The brothers have waged their war on the social media accusing one another of the one to be blamed and even bringing their wives into the fray. Paul Okoye once posted a picture of him in the studio on instagram calling 2017 as the "Best year of my life' and saying that '"the biggest mistake I made was allowing Peter to sing in my 1st Solo song, Bank Alert'.

Speaking further, he penned, "I made a serious mistake last year, the day I was shooting my first ever solo music video, bank alert #regret, I won't be deceived this time."

Indeed, the fear of a failed solo career looms for both Mr P and Rudeboy. Both artistes have since released two or more singles and are strategising to outdo each other on the global music space and also engaging their fans to hold on and have the belief in them. Mr P has tagged himself as the only Rich and Established Upcoming Artiste.

What Could Have Transpired?

But how did things get this bad that things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold? Some have thrown the blame at the big brother, Jude Okoye who was seen to have been taking sides. It is a known fact that there is no love lost between Jude Okoye and Lola Omotayo, Peter Okoye's wife and partner of many years.

And it is not readily known why Jude, who should have united both brothers' families, has issues with Lola, the beautiful wife of Peter and this discord has transferred to Paul who has shown on social media his beef with Lola Okoye, to the extent of accusing her of using juju on his twin brother.

Paul Okoye's post: 'Only a woman will come to where there is peace and destroy it' and other messages have further enraged Peter. Amidst the pointing of fingers by the three brothers on who is the cause of the break-up, Lola, who has given Peter two children, took to her Instagram page on September 19, 2017 to absolve herself of the cause of the break-up.

She posted: "Good evening my lovelies... please leave footprints of kindness and love wherever you go. Love is the only way and peace of mind is the ultimate goal in this life of ours. Hate has no place in my world, never has, never will. Have a blessed evening!#preachlovenothate #superwoman #thankfulnomatterwhat #humilityisthenewsexy #Godblessusall #proudlynigerian #proudlyrussian #proudlyafrican #proudlyoruba.

Peter's obvious grouse was the lack of respect shown to his wife ever since, even before he got married to her. Sources have it that Lola Omotayo indeed helped boost the career of P Square when they started early in mid 2000. The lady, from a wealthy home and Nigerian-Russian parentage, helped use her contacts for P Square to get gigs and also the much needed brand ambassadorship that really boosted their image and enriched their purse.

This was before Peter went ahead to marry the lady having sired their first child, Cameron. It isn't in public domain that perhaps Lola might have disrespected Jude or Paul Okoye but this is as far as family feud has caused a break up of the P Square Empire. Even now, the P Square Villa, located at Omole Estate, is being sold as a 'For Sale' notice had been put on the mansion known to have been the sign of a blooming and I-have-arrived opulence of their career.

Now the music space has been denied the stagecraft of the pop duo. Festus Keyamo (SAN), lawyer of the P Square brothers, has repeatedly dissolved the P Square contract on September 21, 2017.

Industry buffs that have tried to mend the relationship and re-unite the artistes have proved abortive. Kenny Ogungbe, in disbelief, once mooted that the P Square break up was a publicity stunt and that the group will soon come back together.

Before the collapse, which initially started last year and at the peace brokering of former Anambra Governor, Dr Peter Obi and others, Peter relaxed his position on the management style of his elder brother Jude and went on tour with his brother, recording 'Bank alert' as their last single.

For Peter, family is first, then business. Who will not put family first as Paul, who is married to Anita Isima and welcomed twins in September, also puts his family first.

For the now solo artistes, Mr P and Rudeboy, whose career will peak first? The race is on but from trends in the dynamic music space of ours, where no musician or style is missed as the void gets filled quickly, the two artistes will have to work harder and smarter churning hit songs upon hit songs as the industry is filled with potential stars and each artiste tries to guard his space and brand jealously.

The three music male stars that are riding the international fame presently, Wizkid, Davido and Tekno are not ready to come off the horse of the top echelon in Nigerian music industry and others are already warming up to take over. The lesson is Nigerian singers should build lasting management platforms as no one can do it alone.

When The Ovation Was Loud

Before Bank Alert was released in 2016, the duo had Collabo featuring Don Jazzy, Shekini and the hit pop song, Personally off the the Double Trouble album of 2014 which is their last album together, although, there are feelers that Double Trouble album did not live up to expectation as the PSquare signature tune was somewhat missing owing to the group experimentation and Paul somehow blamed Peter for this.

Other albums previously released by P Square was Game Over in 2007,

The Invasion of 2011 and Last Nite in 2003, all produced under Square Records set up in 2011. The group gave the music scene five-studio albums, one compilation album and 25 Music videos.

Paul Okoye, who had been the vocalist, had always accused Peter's insistence on singing aside his dancing ability. Young music producer, Vtek, who loved the group while producing most of the songs from their last album said, he may have encouraged Peter to also find his vocalist ability.

The music producer from Bayelsa, who granted LEADERSHIP Friday an interview last year, said the break up was inevitable.

VTEK, who produced Eje Ajo with Peter doing most of the work said, "From the beginning, P-square is like Paul the singer and Peter the dancer. Along the line, I showed up and then Peter started singing. There were sessions where Paul wasn't around and Peter was around, and I told Peter that we should do it and he said we should wait for Paul.

But I insisted that he can do it and we recorded and it was a great sound. Later, when he took it to the others, Paul wasn't comfortable with it because he believes he is the Singer and it should be him who sings. But I don't see it that way. I came to realise that what happened to them is fate. A revolution is always preceded by anarchy, though a lot of people will not like the sentence, but it is the best way to describe it. Now, they are both independent."

What this translates to is that music groups are bound to break up after many years together, due to many reasons. Mo'Hits broke up due to D'Banj seeing the 'light.' Other groups have also broken up before. The only group that has garnered respect due to their maturity and vision is Midnight Crew who are still waxing stronger, celebrating 16 years together this year. But who knows, the gospel group may break up next year. The thing is P Square should have explored their individual singing abilities while still forging ahead as a group as that is how they made a name in the spotlight.

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