By Ikenna Obioha
With a musical career spanning over 10 years, superstar brothers, Peter and Paul popularly known as PSquare, have come to represent the perfect example of what a group should be like, but apparently, that’s about to take an entirely different turn, a terrible one at that.
Starting out in Jos, Plateau State where they both grew up and launched their career, the duo under maternal mentorship flourished through the harsh tides typical of any up and coming act and over time became a local sensation, gracing the stages at special events to thrill their audiences with signature Michael Jackson moves. With this pace, they progressed until their very big break in 2001 after winning the star prize at the Benson & Hedges ‘Grab Da Mic’ competition, which helped them earn full sponsorship for their debut album, ‘Last Nite.’
Fame, power, and money attract all sorts of negativity, and with such attained status, premier performers, PSquare were placed right in the middle of all the mess. In their early days, the duo seemed to have clear-cut duties with Peter doing most of the dance choreography while Paul took the spot of the group’s soloist. Apparently, this didn’t sit quite well with Peter who felt disgruntled to a certain degree, stemming from fewer acknowledgements for his vocal and writing contributions to the group’s final cut.
Mum’s influence, controversial wife
PSquare’s mother, Josephine Okoye was a heavy influence and huge support system for the duo; she was more like an informal manager who played therapist in times of disagreement. Unfortunately in 2011, the pair lost their mother to a protracted unspecified heart condition. She died in an Indian hospital after she was transferred from St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, leaving the twins behind to solely deal with any future differences that might arise between them.
With mummy gone, Lola Omotayo became the subject of controversy for both brothers in the media. Several sources at the time of their fight in 2016 linked the cause to Lola, speculating how the entire Okoye family, ranging from Jude to Paul to their deceased mother didn’t like her and never wanted Peter to marry her.
In a follow up interview to the duo’s split, Peter clearly stated that Lola wasn’t the cause of the dispute between him and his brother; rather he said the quarrel came from the structural defects in the group. He at length explained how he was reduced to a mere backup dancer with little credits for his writing contributions to the group, while Paul (whom he acknowledged as a better writer) was apportioned the juicy bits of the contracts, most of which he had worked tooth and nail to secure for the group.
After the initial fight, the group disbanded only to regroup a few months later.
In the most recent happenings, hell was let loose on a courtesy visit to Festus Keyamo’s chambers. In a trending video allegedly released by Peter, the brothers are seen yelling at each other over an undisclosed dispute. Sequel to this, Peter reportedly filed for dissolution of the union between him and his brothers, stating that Paul has since refused to cooperate with him on many levels. He had further stated to be referred to as Mr. P – his chosen solo moniker.
Just a day after the incident, the lawyer representing the PSquare brand, Festus Keyamo released a statement denouncing on behalf of the group any intentions to split.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the ongoing feud between the Psquare brothers in online, print and electronic media. We have also been inundated with calls from the media to authenticate the correspondence Peter Okoye sent to our office, indicating his interest to terminate his contract between the brothers for various reasons and the online video showing a purported scuffle between the brothers in our chambers.”
In the long statement, Keyamo went on to say that the validity of the trending video was void, declaring that it was a visual recorded from their 2016 conflict.
In this precarious stage, the spoil of war is the Internet for the take. While some are bothered about PSquare’s prospective break, others are taking the entire situation with a grain of salt, saying it is all a marketing stunt targeted at the release of their new album, much like they did last year. Other popular figures like Afrobeat musician, Seun Kuti and ace comedian, Basketmouth had gone online to express their feelings.
Expressing a slight frustration about the development, Basketmouth took to his Facebook fan page to say: “Why una no wait until after my show on Saturday before una fight this fight?!! You guys are distracting my publicity!”
On his part, Seun Kuti said: “This one na show. Don’t fall for the Okio Doko. Relevance+Finance in the pop industry. Solange and Jay Z in the elevator. Then you get tabloid-styled albums talking about it all and you are all hooked. Okio Doko, they are fine.
“I can already see people chucking nose, picking sides. Wow! The album will be massive.”
Threats and slanders
Peter has since voiced out his concerns over the threats made by Paul and Jude on his wife, Lola. In the video, Jude could be heard clearly in the background threatening Peter, saying he would bring a coffin for him (Peter) if he ever visited his home.
Peter’s next moves
As clouds of uncertainty hang above the fate of the duo, Peter has confirmed concert dates in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States on his Instagram page where he conveniently goes by the name Mr. P. If this is anything to go by, it simply means that Paul is out of the picture for at least now until further ratification from their management team.
Nothing without the PSquare brand
While it is no longer a vogue for groups to break up in Nigeria as can be witnessed in the case of Plantashun Boiz, Styl Plus and The Remedies, with PSquare, it goes beyond this. Hitting the music scene when they did, it did take a while to figure out that they were two separate individuals. With this in mind, even after discovering that they were twins, people took them as a single entity that created a double illusion.
In the hearts of millions of their fans, it will take a while to sink in, get used to each brother performing as a solo act; a move most see as unnecessary. Simply put, Peter and Paul are nothing without the PSquare brand.