Before you had that accident that kept you out of active music for almost ten years, the impression people had about you was that you had reached the eclipse of your career. Many people did not even know you had an accident until you came back. What do you have to say?
First of all, let me thank God that I am back again. Because If I had died before, during or after the accident, this interview will never happen. Talking about my career before the accident, you will agree with me that I have come a long way in the music industry. Myself and other old generation musicians set the ground rolling for today’s musicians and I am proud to say that.
But you will agree that at some point, Showkey’s name was not as pronounced as it used to be?
You can’t remain on top of your game for the rest of your life. There will be a moment when you will be forced to take the back seat and observe things, but that does not mean you are no more relevant or music has nothing to do with you again. The mistake most people make is that when they don’t see or hear about you, they quickly conclude that your life in music is over. I am not surprised that people didn’t know that I had an accident because I didn’t come out to tell Nigerians that I am down ooo, please help me.
Why? Are you saying that because you have the wherewithal to handle your predicament?
It is not about having the resources to handle my problem, it is more of my decision not to bother people with my problem. Why should I disturb them in the first place? Because they are my fans does not mean they should know about every step I take about my life. I asked myself one question which was, would Nigerians not have known if I was arrested for drugs or something capable of tarnishing my image?.
It seems you are sad that despite your popularity, Nigerians did not know that Daddy Showkey had a life-threatening accident…
No. I am not feeling any sadness in my heart. I am even happy right now. I can’t be happier. I am not bothered whether they know or they don’t. What matters to me is that I was able to handle my predicament through the help of God and some people who God used to help me. I am grateful to these people and I wish them well in all they do. They are my people now and they are my friends.
You have new friends now?
I didn’t say I have new friends. What I am saying is that I have learnt new lesson about life and I now know what friendship is about.
So none of your friends in the music industry came to the hospital to look after you?
The fact is that how many of them knew that I had an accident? How many of them knew which hospital I was admitted to?. It was not the matter of who was there or not, it was the matter of how I was able to handle my situation and managed everything very well. Another thing is that even those who would have come didn’t come because of one reason or the other but I am not bothered about that. Life goes on my brother. You live to learn and you learn to live. When on my sick bed, I read a report about my accident published by one national newspaper in Nigeria, I wept. I wept because that was the only newspaper that reported it.
What single lesson did that experience teach you?
Not a single one but many lessons but the chief of them is caution. I have learnt how to approach life with extreme caution. You know why? If Showkey had died in that accident, I am sure that by now people would have forgotten about me. Perhaps when they listen to any of my songs, they may feel like ouch! that was Showkey’s song. We missed him so much. The bitter truth is that life goes on.
What was running on your mind when you were on that bed? Did you at any point remember music and your dreams which could have gone unfulfilled?
How do I start to describe the experience to you? It was a very bad one but I thank God that I am lucky. The only question on my mind was will I be able to walk again? I was so particular about that question that my doctors would tell me, Mr man you will walk again. The doctors told me I would not have been able to work again if I had delayed the operation for few more weeks. I still don’t believe I am walking again because what I saw in the hospital gave me a different impression about life and I am grateful to God.
Quite a number of people have had similar experience like yours, but most of them have been confined to the wheelchair for the rest of their lives. Could you tell us why your case was different and what special treatment did you receive?
I received the special treatment of grace from God. That’s how much I can say about that. The accident happened in Nigeria and it took me some weeks before I could get my visa and other travel documents sorted out. One thing that also helped was the fact that I had one active Visa with me. I don’t make that mistake of not having one active Visa in case of any emergency. The moment the accident happened, I made some calls and in few weeks, I was out of the country to London and from London, I was referred to Germany where I was admitted for three years. It is true that a lot of people have had similar experience but then, I think apart from lack of money which is generally the main problem, some people don’t take it seriously until it is too late for them to act. A lot of people who had spinal cord accident would have walked again should they have acted fast. The doctors in Germany are genius. If you know how they work, you will conclude that if they could make me walk again, others too could have been lucky.
Since you returned to Nigeria, how have you been coping with life?
I have been coping quite well. When I came back, it was quite difficult because I had exhausted so much but thank God for one man who didn’t give up on me. I didn’t know this man, but I was surprised that he took so much interest in me. He gave me some money which I invested in business. I am now into business and it is doing great. I am enjoying life again.
Are you tired of music?
No. I can never be tired of music. I have actually returned to stage since December last year when I performed at MultiChoice 20th anniversary celebration in Lagos. Before then, I released a single Showkey Show which got some encouraging radio airplay across the country, but that is not what where we are going.
But people are saying that you may not be able to release any other hit song like before. Can you?
People keep asking me if I am tired of music because I have not released any album for ten years but my response is that if I had died before now, would people still be asking me about music?. I have to relax and take care of myself before making a full come back to music. Having said that, I have actually been performing before now and I am working on my next album which would be dropped before the end of the year. Right now, I am working with top producers for some singles, as soon as I am done with that, people will know whether I am done with music or not.
You were said to have been attacked by those alleged to be gunmen in your Lagos home shortly after you returned, could you tell us what happened?
Yes, they were assassins. They came to my house and killed one of my boys. Thank God I was lucky. Those guys were not armed robbers because in Nigeria today, no armed robbers can come to my house. It can never happen.
I grew up in the street of Ajegunle. I have always been a street boy. Armed robbers can never rob me. I have met a lot of them on the streets of Lagos several times and they will tell me Showkey Baba, we didn’t know it was you. Please, no vex, dey go. That respect is always there.
Armed robbers respect you? Do you have any connection with them?
That is a story for another day, Mr reporter.
So who were the people that came to my house?
The people that came to my house saw my son and asked him about my whereabouts, he said I was not around. My son went back inside and told one of my boys to go and attend to the guys at the gate, when he got there, they thought he was my bodyguard, so they shot him. They were inside my house for hours and they did not take anything away. Armed robber won’t come to my house and start asking of Showkey, they will face what they have come for and leave. But these guys were asking for me and when they didn’t see me, they left. I am sad because they killed one of my boys.
You were said to have been shot few months after that incident at your house, is that true?
Yes. I was shot inside a filling station in Lagos.
Why would anybody want to kill you?
I don’t know. I can’t even explain what could be responsible for that but I thank God that I have overcome that now.
You are always lucky, what is the secret?
I don’t know. It is just God. If you have a good spirit and your time of death has not come, nobody can kill you. No matter how hard they try, they can’t succeed. I am blessed to be alive. It is not about luck because a lot of lucky people have died. I think I am just blessed. I don’t believe I am lucky but blessed.
You were reported to have said that celebrities who are peace ambassadors are actually the ones not making peace, why did you say that?
In this part of the world, it is a pity that people don’t really understand what it means to make some one a peace ambassador. If you are making somebody a peace ambassador, that means the person has to be a peaceful person and a role model. Most of the people that have been given peace ambassadors are actually trouble ambassadors.
News filtered into town recently that you were not in support of your son’s decision to sing. Is that true?
I am in support of education. I am not against music at all. Those who are saying I am not supporting him don’t know what actually happened. I didn’t complete my education and I am always sad about that till today. And, that’s why I promised myself that all my children must be educated. If any of them wants to take up music, I will be glad but not at the expense of their education. Education, to me, is life and knowledge. If I had the opportunity to complete my education the way I would have loved it, I am sure my life would be better off. I will like my son to fulfil my dream. I know he’s a good music producer but I made a bargain with him that you have to break that jinx for me first. You must go to school and you must do well, no matter. If you can do that for me, honestly, I don’t mind to support him with my last penny. I am a father and it is very important that I give him a legacy that will help him in life even after I am dead.
Don’t you think you are depriving him of his dream, if you stop him from doing what he likes?
I am not depriving him of anything. My parents tried to do the same thing to me but thank God for giving me a way out through music because if not for that, I don’t know what my life would have become. What if my son does not have a second chance like I had? What if he does not even make it in music like I did. What will happen to his life?.