Close up with Sir Shina Peters and ‘the’ son he once abandoned, Clarence Peters

Shina Peters
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
“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.
Clarence Peters:
How was growing up like with your father?    
I didn’t grow up with my father; rather I
grew up with my mother, Clarion Chukwura. Most of what I know about my
father are what a lot of people know about him. I was born in Ibadan,
Oyo State.  I used to stay in Mammy Market area in Ibadan with my
mother. Premier Hotel is located up a hill and my mother used to tell me
when my father was performing there. I used to look at Premier Hotel
like (Mount) Olympus. My relationship with my father started five years
 Were there times he tried taking you out?
We never had any such time. I started
having a relationship with him five years ago. When one starts having a
relationship with one’s father when one is older, one tends to
understand a lot of things about him which one will not understand as a
kid. I understand a lot of his mistakes; I relate with his mistakes and empathize with them. I understand where he was coming from. When we have
discussions now, I understand the conversations more, which I am not
sure I would have if I were still a kid. There were no picnics or
walk-in-the park stories between my father and I, but there are many
things to gain and learn from his wealth of experience as an artiste and
a man. Our relationship is more on the standpoint of his wealth of
knowledge in the arts and as an artiste. We have an artistic
 Is that artistic relationship an influence on your career?      
Yes and no because like I said earlier,
our relationship started five years ago. A lot of the motivation to be
in the arts came from my mother. She however did not tell me the path to
tow. She left me to follow my dream. When I made up my mind and told
her what I wanted to do, she exclaimed: ‘Thank God.’ She always told me
that I am from a creative background. Initially, I didn’t want to do
music. I never wanted to be involved in it. When I was young, I examined
my father’s mistakes and flaws and decided I didn’t want to inherit any
of them. I stayed away from piano lessons and other music-related
things that could stimulate my interest. I know I love music and
pictures. It was later that the passion came naturally. I had wanted to
play football. However, football didn’t come naturally to me but film,
music and pictures did. I am not sure I embraced entertainment because
it is my father’s area. I didn’t grow with that. I think the influence
grew from my mother’s encouragement in ensuring that I was constantly in
a creative environment. Although it was impossible during the 80s and
90s to be in the arts and not be influenced by the music of Sir Shina
Peters. In that regard, I can say his music also influenced me
 What do you mean by his mistakes?
I will direct you to interview him to
tell you some of them. But let me tell you that my father is a man who
lives life to the fullest. He has experienced life. If a man pushes
himself to experience life, there is no way such a man will not make
mistakes. This is because in order for one to make the experience
complete, one will have to make mistakes and learn from them. It is even
tougher when one is an artistic person.  It is easy for an accountant
to outline how he or she wants to live his or her life. He or she can
say I will do my job well and live well. But a creative person cannot do
such; he or she cannot write or paint what he doesn’t know. Even if
such a person wants to fake the experience, he has to make his audience
understand it. So, my father had a wide range of experience as an
artiste and with it came mistakes which he learnt from. I also try to
learn from them so that I don’t make such mistakes and if I make same
mistakes, I will know how to deal with them.
 Have you ever watched him perform?
Yes, I watched him perform when I was a kid. It was in Ibadan. I also watched his rehearsals at Premier Hotel.
 What is his idea of punishing any erring child?
My father doesn’t know how to punish a
child. He believes a child will die if he beats him or her. You also
have to understand that he had a very rough childhood. So, the art of
raising kids was not something he had the opportunity to learn. He was
knighted by the Queen at a young age and he started singing so early. If
one experiences such at a tender age, one will not lead a normal life. I
think it is part of the sacrifices artistes sometimes make if they want
to be great. People look at some artistes today and marvel at their
achievements. But they don’t know the sacrifices they made especially
those who are not from an influential background. If my father had a
better chance and was dealt with better cards, he would have been a far
better father in the conventional sense. But what he lacks in that area,
he makes up for in being a better father in experience. A child cannot
play some pranks and think my father will not know. Perhaps, some
fathers will handle such a situation by beating the offending child but
my father will probably not take it that way. He tells a child where he
will end up if he treads certain paths.
 How do you feel being a son to him?
I have not really thought of it. I
haven’t really given it a thought.  I am grateful for the fact that he
is a legend. I am also happy that I can say this is who my father is. I
can also point to what he has achieved in the industry. But I don’t
flaunt it.
 How has his name opened doors for you?
I am one of those whose fathers’ good
names have yet to open doors for. It is because I started my career from
the scratch. I have been a personal assistant, sound engineer and music
producer from the scratch to the top. In fact, the name gives me more
challenge because both my parents are known in the entertainment
industry. I think it is until I start moving to the generation my
parents appeal to that their names will start opening doors for me. I
think when my business starts moving to that kind of environment, my
father’s name will start opening doors for me.  I have not worked my way
to that realm.
 How close are you to him?
I am not the closest physically to my
father but because of the arts; we share strong perspectives and
connections that make us really close.
 How did he handle misunderstanding with your mother?
You will need to ask them because I don’t want to put my hand in that area.
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Kemisola Adeyemi

Kemisola Adeyemi is the Assistant Editor of Kemi Filani News. She loves to write and write and write and hopes to own a publishing firm someday! Email: [email protected]


    1. na una dey drink panadol untop another person headache. Clarence said he actually understands reasons behind some of his father's actions

  1. I wish my 3 mnths old son's father can come 4 him now n nt in d future, he purposely abandoned us. I gues its bcos we re not d same tribe or sumtyn else. I want my son 2 av a normal childhood wit his father in d picture. My 3mnths old son is too cute not 2 av a father figure in his life.

  2. I just love this guy. Handsome and mature. Holds no grudges against his father and has been so blessed by God. Way to go son, may God's best be with you always.

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