Segun Lawal of SecureNigeria365 was recently a host to fast rising musical Act SkyP. In this interview, the crooner opens up on an earful bordering his family, background, musical journey and love life. Now you can have an eyeful.
Kindly Introduce Yourself
I’m Peter Amuche, a.k.a SkyP, your favourite Arab-Money crooner.
How did you come about the name “SkyP?”
Well, the name came like a joke, we were chilling, and the guy is like, ‘you are always looking good, fresh, and clean. It’s only the sky that we know that can always be clean all the time,’ and from there, everybody started calling me ‘Sky.’ And the name sounded nice to me, and I didn’t ask them to stop. Then my first name, Peter, abbreviated to “P.” So, Sky P.
I’m sure not a few would like to have a peek at your family background
Ok, I’m from the eastern part of Nigeria, Imo State. A family of 3 boys, no girl. However, I have a girl in my family that is like a sister, because she grew up with us. So, my dad, Late Raymond Amuche, was an ambassador. I’m supposed to be like a politician, but at the end of the day, I found another career. I have my mum, my dad, and my siblings that are all.
Did your Father in some way influence the society ,for eg, like you are now?
He was a great man. The man did a lot in this country. He obtained his PhD degree at the age of 25 in Oxford University, London.
What is your educational background?
My dad died when I was at 4. So, it wasn’t really easy growing up. I had to struggle with my mum and other siblings. I’m actually the last born. My primary school was Centre primary school. My secondary school was Okwuato Secondary school, and I was fun for me. After that, I travelled to Ghana, from Ghana, I went to London. From London, I went to Atlanta for my tertiary education.
Can you share some of your experience with us, while growing up in school?
I had a lot of girls that liked me, and always fighting like, ‘he is my boyfriend, my boyfriend.’ I didn’t even know what that was then. But it was really fun, because I was kind of the centre of attraction during my school days. The fact that I used to play soccer a lot and was also brilliant, always coming first, at most time. Or worse, second. I was always been used as an example in school. So, I had a lot of fans, female fans, but then, but for me it was just sort of heady being the attraction because I didn’t know what that was then to have a girlfriend. So, it was really fun, and that kind of shaped me to who I am today. It gave me this exclusivity which I took to the world and had to apply in everything I do. Even in music; if you can go get my singles, from ‘INSANE’ to ‘HIGHER MART,’ ‘I REP MONEY,’ you will see that exclusivity.
How did you go back to the world, can you please clarify that?
That’s when I went into the real world; when I went into the world of maturity; when mum is not there to say “why did you come back by 8.” When I was growing, I dare not come back home after 7pm. So, that kind of training helped me, making who I am today. My manager can testify to it, I live a very simple life; I don’t live life based on the things I have access to.
Music as a career, can you share with us, how it all started?
Well, I can’t even place where the talent came from, because when I was growing up, the only thing I knew about was education. But my mum used to lead different choir, different musical groups. Every musical group my mum was part of, when I was growing up, she was the leader. As early as 5am she would always wake-up singing. So, I got to loving music through my mother.
So, your mother had a great influence on you
Yea, positively, because I knew all the hymns, my mum sang. I met this producer Lelo, who goes by the name Kelvin Board, now. And he produced for Ice Prince, right before my face, and while they were doing that, I was getting different melodies in my head. So I later told the guy I would try something. So, after 2 weeks, I called him up to say I was ready to sing. That was my first ever recorded single.
What’s the title of the single?
“INSANE.” It has over 85,000 download on ‘Notjustok.’ It has over 50,000 views on Youtube. The response to that song was inspiring. Whenever I played the song in car with my friends and they asked ‘who sang that song?’ I would like ‘one of my friends’, and they would say, ‘it sounds so nice.’ When later I told them that I was the one who sang the song, they said, ‘you can’t be the one, impossible.’ So, I started seeing the talents in myself. I discovered myself. That’s why I’m signed to my own record label, because nobody can really understand what I see; the kind of dream I have regarding the music industry.
So, what’s your style of music?
Something different ‘hip life.’ I listen to a lot of hip-hop songs. I listen to lots of Afro songs. Arab-Money has this hip-hop with an Afro-beat on it. So, my own hip-hop life represents hip-hop in a highlife way. That is hip-hop and highlife coming together.
What’s the concept behind Arab-Money?
The concept behind Arab-Money is doing something out of the box. Something nobody has done. That has been my intention, what I’ve always wanted to come up with. I’ve travelled to Dubai a couple of times from Atlanta, and Arab-Money is not really about physical money, because if you watch the video, I didn’t show that kind of physical money. But, it’s about how the Arabians live their own life – that we, Africans won’t be able to see. As an artiste, I have to artistically bring that to the screen, because I am supposed to bring people’s imagination to reality, through my heart. That’s what I did. So if you are imagining how Dubai looks like, How they live their lives, i gave what i could. We shot with their helicopters, we shot on the sea, we shot in the desert, we shot in a nice mansion, beautiful girls, camels and others; Just about artwork, bringing something to the script; something that my fans would appreciate. I’m not going to show ‘Oshodi,’ ‘Ikeja,’ something we see every day. I’m still going to show them in my upcoming project. But particularly, Arab-Money. I had a good intention, and which I achieved.
Clarify the intention and how you achieved it
From reviews, the TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, all the media houses really appreciated that work, because they know what it takes to finance a project like that. I know how many media houses, even in South Africa that are already asking for me to come for interviews, just because of that Arab-Money. I want people to know who I am.
How Supportive Were Your Parents in your chosen career?
My mum was kind of in-between. But, she would always want me to further my education to some kind of office work, and that’s the normal thing that we are all experiencing in the Nigeria’s community. But, at the end of the day, when she saw the outcome of my first single, she was like ‘okay.’ Then, the second one came in then she was like, ‘are you serious?’ Then Arab-Money, she was like, ‘ok, you have my support.’ It wasn’t easy at first, but right now, I’ve been able to convince them, not by word of mouth, but by actions.
How many tracks so far?
I’ve released 4. I have a few tracks that features other talented artistes but from now till December, I should be coming out with 1 or 2 tracks for the year.
Which is the most interesting of your albums?
Arab-Money is the one that appeals to me most.
What would have become if not a Musician?
I first wanted to be a soccer player, but I tried a lot of things here in Nigeria. I even went to Ghana, played in Nani, the club was owned by Abedi Pele. I played with Abedi Pele’s son, in the same team. But growing in Africa it is not easy doing this. Sometimes they will tell you, you have trial in Germany, but you need to come with some amount to sponsor yourself.
How Acceptable is your Music in Atlanta?
They play it in all African clubs. There are also comments of people saying they heard the music in this or that club. In Atlanta, I started having musicians as friends, producer friends. I associated myself with entertainers, that’s why it was easy for me to penetrate.
Are you Married?
I’m single for now.
So, What Kind of Girl Are you Looking At?
A supportive woman, understanding, because you know the industry I’m in. So, I need an extra-ordinary woman to have a healthy relationship with. And I’m looking forward to that extra-ordinary woman, someone that would just understand ‘SkyP.’ There is ‘SkyP,’ there is Peter Amuche. Not the one that would see in a video, and believe what she’s seeing, forgetting that there is a director behind the scene. There is make-up artiste, there is my manager, a lot of people are there. But after the video must have been edited, you would only see me and the girl. So, I need that woman who thinks more than ordinary woman. That’s what I’m looking for.
How Do you Manage Your Female Fans?
I’m a friend of all. I try to make everybody happy, as much as I can. In as much as you cannot please everybody, but do all I can, to make them feel important, because everyone is important, in one way or the other.
Your First kiss, How was the Experience?
(Laughs)… my first kiss was in my SS3 when I became school prefect. There was this girl, who even if she didn’t conform to the dress code, I allowed her be. She was the only one I allowed to school even without sandals; she could wear something different. And I would be like, ‘don’t touch her.’ So, one day I escorted her home, so, we went to this track road, we looked left, right and nobody was coming. And before we knew it, our mouths came together, and I had goose bumps all over my body. It was a good experience and wonderful. But now trust me, I’m the best kisser in the world…(.laughs).
What Will you Not Be Caught Doing?
Stop singing. I would not be caught without singing, without recording, without working hard.
What Can you Say About your Manager?
He is wonderful and fantastic. A hard-working manager. As an artiste, you really need to be very careful with who represents you, because that’s the person who carries your image. If you have an arrogant manager, you are bound to fail. So, my manager is a humble guy, and straight forward. He makes my work so easy, my music can enter anywhere without my presence. So, that’s what I looked out for, and that’s what God gave me.
Where Do you See Yourself in the Next 5 Years?
I see myself having a stronger team, and ‘Sky Diamond Entertainment’ being a major record label, that would grow talents from the African entertainment world.
How would you Describe Yourself?
I’m passionate, humble and a hard-working gentle man. But I don’t like praising myself too much. The way I talk to my gateman, manager is the way I talk to everyone whether rich or poor. I try not to offend anybody. So, that personality came from my father. My father had so many friends, the poor, the rich, and the ordinary. And so, that’s my personality.
Your Most Embarrassing Moment?
I don’t want to go into that, but I will. So, my fans can get to know where I’ coming from. I came from a family that my dad had it all. He believed in helping others. He did not invest and buy house like the politicians we have now. He didn’t do all that. He was kind, and invested in humans, uncles, brothers. But at the end of the day, when the man was not around, everybody disappeared. So, it was like really, really ugly growing up. Especially when they chase us for school fees from school. You know how embarrassing that would be. So, that used to be my most embarrassing moments.
Your Likes and Dislikes
I dislike lies, and people that take advantage of other humans. That’s what we find in our society, today. I hate people like that. For the fact that someone is being nice to you, trying to help you doesn’t mean that person is a fool. So, I like people that are honest, appreciative of other people. People that love their neighbor, not only your next door neighbor. If I meet you anywhere I don’t have any reason to disrespect you. People that respect other people. And I like to eat good food, especially vegetable soup with, semovita, pando yam, and I also like jollof rice.
Your Kind of Perfume
I wear like 4 perfumes at a time. And the names are; conquer mixture, conquer mixture is a combination of 4 different perfumes. I have creed, I have Tom Ford, I have Pacorry Band, and an Arabian perfume, which I can’t pronounce the name fluently.
Who is your Fashion Designer?
I will go with Tom Man, because that’s where I find things that suit my body structure. It’s not about how expensive the thing you wear, but it’s about the fitness. So, whenever I travel to London, I always make sure I get my Top Man.
Any Collaboration with a Nigerian Artiste?
Yea, I did ‘Lamba’ with Dj Real. I have something big coming up for Christmas. I want to celebrate the x-mas with my fans in a musical way, that they would be happy and forget the ups and down for the year.. So, I’m going to keep that on the low for now, because I don’t want to break protocols.
Your Advice for Upcoming Artistes with Your Kind of Experience?
Stick to that bright dream, and always listen to that first positive voice in you. That’s always telling you, you can do it. If you know you actually have the talent, don’t be disappointed by the things people say to you, day-by-day, trying to take you down. Just believe in yourself, we hear that word ‘believe in yourself,’ but a lot of people don’t really understand that word ‘believe in yourself.’ You can only believe in yourself when people disbelieve you. When you drop a single and everybody condemns it, and you still go ahead. So, that’s all I can tell them.
Thank you very much, it was a pleasure talking with you…
SANWO-OLU: WORK TO RESUME ON PEN-CINEMA BRIDGE
There will soon be respite for motorists plying Agege-Pen Cinema axis in Lagos, as State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu assures accelerated completion of the abandoned Pen-Cinema Bridge.
The Governor spoke on Sunday while inspecting ongoing rehabilitation work on major roads in Iju area of the state by Lagos State Public Works Corporation.
Sanwo-Olu, in company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said the contractor handling the bridge construction was being prepared for re-mobilisation back on the site.
Expressing concern over the pains residents go through due to regular gridlock on the alternative routes occasioned by abandoned project, Sanwo-Olu said his government would compensate for the discomfort by ensuring timely completion of the bridge.
He said: “I can assure you that we are currently in talks with the contractors handling key road projects in Ikorodu, which are Igbogbo and Ishawo roads, and also a critical project in Agege area, which is the Pen-Cinema Bridge. Our promise is that, if it is not by end of this month; then, by next month, the contractors will be fully mobilised back on sites to complete the work.
“We are particularly concerned about the pain motorists are going through because of the incomplete construction of Pen-Cinema Bridge. We are hoping that the contractor handling the bridge construction, too, will be mobilised back on site. Once we push these three critical infrastructures and get them completed, relief would come to residents in these areas.”
The Governor said the ongoing road repair across the state was an outcome of his Executive Order, which declared emergency rehabilitation of critical roads.
Sanwo-Olu said the repair was being carried out in six segments, pointing out that the highways and arterial carriages were captured in the first set of repair across the state.
He said repair work would begin on roads captured in other segments in succession. The Governor urged commuters to be patient while the repair is being carried out.
He expressed satisfaction on the level of work done, while assuring that the road rehabilitation would be ongoing to until 100 major roads marked for repair in all Local Government Areas across the state get done.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration would continue to be responsive to the challenges confronting the people, assuring the actions of his government would focus on bringing relief to taxpayers.
“We have risen up to the expectations of Lagosians and we believe there is still a lot more to do. It is a work in progress. But we can feel the immediate relief that are coming to residents of all the areas where the rehabilitation work is being done currently,” the Governor said.
Also joining the Governor during the inspection is the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and General Manager of Lagos State Public Works Corporation, Engr. Daramola Olufemi.
EDITORIAL: Healthcare Reforms in Nigeria; A Mere Political Statement Lacking Commitment
By Manny Ita
Nigeria has since her independence in 1960 had a very robust verbiage or policies by successive gobernments on health reforms but with very little progress or success recorded in what might well be a lack of political will in reforming the health sector.
Over 90% of the Nigerian population are without health insurance coverage. The inability to effectively address the country’s numerous public health challenges has contributed to the persistent and high level of poverty and weakness of the health system.
Political instability, corruption, limited institutional capacity and an unstable economy have also been major factors responsible for the poor development of health services in Nigeria. Households and individuals in Nigeria bear the burden of a dysfunctional and inequitable health system – delaying or not seeking health care and having to pay out of pocket for health care services that are not affordable.
The health challenges of the country include:
National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS),
National Immunisation Coverage Scheme (NICS),
Midwives Service Scheme (MSS)
Nigerian Pay for Performance scheme
After many attempts at implementing legislation on health insurance since 1960, NHIS, although established in 1999, was eventually launched only in 2005 with the goals to ensure access to quality health care services, provide financial risk protection, reduce rising costs of health care services and ensure efficiency in health care through programmes such as the: Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme (FSSHIP), Mobile Health, Voluntary Contributors Social Health Insurance Programme (VCSHIP), Tertiary Institution Social Health Insurance Programme (TISHIP), Community Based Social Health Insurance Programme (CBSHIP), Public Primary Pupils Social Health Insurance Programme (PPPSHIP), and the provision of health care services for children under 5 years, prison inmates, disabled persons, retirees and the elderly.
The NHIS was expected to provide social and financial risk protection by reducing the cost of health care and providing equitable access to basic health services with the most vulnerable populations in Nigeria including children, pregnant women, people living with disabilities, elderly, displaced, unemployed, retirees and the sick.
Free health care services and exemption mechanisms are expected to provide financial risk protection for the most vulnerable populations but evidence suggest that they are ineffective and have failed to achieve this aim.
The maternal mortality ratio for Nigeria remain quite high at 814 per 100000 live births according to 2016 World Health Statistics. Across the country, pregnant women and children under five years are generally charged fees when accessing health care services, despite the federal government’s declaration of free health for pregnant women and children under five years in 2005.
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole in 2016 announced the Federal Government’s plan to provide free health services to 100 million Nigerians in the next two years. Under this new health agenda, pregnant women across Nigeria are expected to enjoy free maternal and delivery services at the primary health care (PHC) level.
Unfortunately, Free health care services and exemption mechanisms often arise as campaign promises of political actors to the electorate and fall short in meeting the health needs of the most vulnerable populations. According to Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) in 2013, over 60% of pregnant women aged 15-49 deliver their babies at home without any antenatal care visits. In rural areas, this value reaches 76.9%. The situation is critical in North East and North West regions of Nigeria where over 79% of pregnant women age 15-49 deliver their babies at home. Over 60% of pregnant women in Bayelsa, Plateau and Niger deliver at home rather than a health facility.
The cost of health care and the low quality of care by the public have been argued to be the reason for the poor utilisation of maternal and child health services in Nigeria.
In addition, health spending in Nigeria is low and this is responsible for the over-reliance on out of pocket payments for health care services.
Despite its launch in 2005, NHIS covers less than 10% of the Nigerian population leaving the most vulnerable populations at the mercy of health care services that are not affordable. This means the most vulnerable populations in Nigeria are not provided with social and financial risk protection. Poor people constitutes about 70% of the Nigerian population. They lack access to basic health services, which social and financial risk protection should provide, because they cannot afford it.
CBSHIP was expected to meet their health needs as well as provide social and financial risk protection to this group, which mostly reside in rural areas. As evidenced in the high rate of out of pocket payments for health care services , poor people financially contribute more to health care than official care and funds programmes in Nigeria. Out of pocket payments for health care services limit the poor from accessing and utilising basic health care services.
The quality of health care services delivered is poor and remains a huge source of concern. Most of the PHC facilities that are supposed to meet the health needs of the poor and rural dwellers are in a poor state due to poor budgetary allocation.
In trying to solve these issues, healthcare in the country must be tackled headlong in order to stem the detyeriorating development therein, which could portend grave danger for citizens of the country in the no-ditant future.
Policy makers and political actors need to devise health care reforms to address the lack of social and financial protection for the poor and vulnerable populations. Part of this reform is the expansion of the NHIS. States should be mandated to provide health insurance coverage to all residents. Making health insurance optional for states over the years has affected the ability of the NHIS to increase the level of coverage for the people.
While the mandatory CBHI scheme is being scaled-up as a supplementary measure, state governments should enrol poor residents in a private health insurance plan and bear the responsibility of paying the monthly premium per person to Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs). It is not enough to have a national health insurance policy, it is important to ensure that health insurance coverage is provided to the poor and most vulnerable populations as a matter of the human right to health.
Although the NHIS Act made provision for children, who constitute the largest population in Nigeria, many children still have to pay for health care services in spite of being born into poor families that do not have the ability to pay for health care services and suffer financial hardship as a consequence. The free health policies and exemption mechanisms provided by some states, targeted at children, pregnant women and the elderly, are not social and financial risk protection policies, as these groups are largely responsible for the cost of health care with the free health care programme barely covering their basic health care services.
Another way of providing social and financial risk protection for poor and vulnerable populations is by establishing a legislative framework for a UHC scheme and setting aside funds for it. Evidence from Thailand has shown the effect of UHC schemes through PHC on expanding access to health care for the poor and vulnerable populations.
Political actors, policy makers and all stakeholders in the health sector should establish a government funded social and financial risk protection scheme through a general tax financing system for the poor and vulnerable, and invest in basic infrastructure for health care in rural areas for quality health care service delivery. UHC schemes are important in addressing the problem of poor coverage, limited access to health care, and poor quality of health care services.
Nigeria is yet to adopt innovative ways to protect the poor and vulnerable populations against financial risk of ill health. It is important to guarantee by law the right to health care of all citizens in Nigeria. Although the National Health Act (NHA) that was signed into law in 2014 stated that all Nigerians are entitled to basic minimum package of health care services, it is not clear if the provisions made in the NHA are capable of achieving UHC in Nigeria. In addition, the NHA is yet to be implemented over two years after its signage into law.
Some low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have been able to provide social and financial risk protection schemes for poor and vulnerable populations as a matter of the human right to health. Therefore, there is a need to provide social health protection schemes targeted at these groups in Nigeria. The poor and vulnerable populations should not become impoverished because of failure to obtain much needed health care services. Governments must reduce out of pocket payments for health care services by households through the adoption of a tax financed non-contributory UHC scheme.
Protest Rocks Alausa Over Supreme Court Verdict On Agidingbi Community
Scores of community leaders and residents of Agidingbi area of Ikeja on Thursday embarked on peaceful protest against the judgment of Supreme Court which awarded ownership of 398 acres of landed property in the community to a traditional land-owning family, Akinole-Oshiun.
The possession order is said to cover a large section of the Lateef Jakande Road, Acme Road, Fagba Close, and other streets around the area, totaling over 2000 buildings.
The protesters, who marched from Agidingbi to House of Assembly complex in Alausa, said Akinole-Oshiun family, which is the judgment-creditor in the case, had already given them seven days ultimatum to vacate their houses, urging the government to quickly intervene to avert bloodshed.
They displayed placard of various inscriptions such as “There is no ancestral link between Akinole and Agidingbi Land, Land Grabbers are enemies of Lagos State,” among others.
Leader of Ojodu Legislative Arm, Hon Wasiu Bolaji-Seidu who is also a community leader in Agidingbi said the news of the possession order came to the community as a big surprise as nobody from the area was served with the court process that led to the judgment.
He said: “On Friday, they (judgment-creditor) brought a judgment and placed it on our houses and said they have taken over the entire Agidingbi land. The issue is Agidingbi was not mentioned in the judgment; nobody from Agidingbi was part of the case and I don’t know how you will enforce a judgment against a person that was never part of the case.
“Agidingbi has been in existence for over 200 years ago. I was born and bred in Agidingbi; my forefathers were born and bred in Agidingbi and I don’t see any reason why somebody will just wake up and say they are the owner of the community.
“I am over 50 years; my father lived for over 90 years in this community before he died; my great grand-father died at the age of 150 years and I don’t know where Akinole is coming from and we have people like Habibatu Mogaji who was the Yeye-Oba of Agidingbi; we have Femi Okunnu who is our father in the community and we don’t know where Akin-ole came from.”
He particularly urged the State Government to activate the provisions of the Anti-Land Grabbing Law of the State, and prevent the matter from degenerating into a full blown crisis.
“To the best of my knowledge, I know that Lagos State has enacted a law duly signed by the Governor prohibiting land grabbing in the State because this is a clear example of such case. That is why we are here to call on the Lagos State House of Assembly to look into it and find a lasting solution, failure of which there will be bloodshed,” Bolaji-Seidu said.
Also speaking, Baale of Agidingbi, Chief Ganiyu Ayinde Haruna, said they were embarking on the peaceful protest to call the attention of government to the silent crisis that is brewing in the community.
Narrating how it all began, Haruna said: “On Friday last week, we woke up to see people posting possession order on our property and we don’t know these people. We have been living here for several years and the issue is we don’t know this family that is laying claim to ownership of our land.
“We have never heard any relationship with this Akinole family and so it is surprising to us. Nobody knew anything about the court case. I mean how can you enforce court judgment against a party that was never part of the case? We are peaceful people and we are urging the Lagos State Government especially Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and the House of Assembly to intervene urgently in this matter because we don’t want bloodshed in our community.”
Also speaking, an 83-year old resident and Iyalode of Agidingbi, Evang Dorcas Faworaja said her great grand-parents were born in the area, therefore the claimant cannot just come from anywhere and lay claim to the community.
Receiving the protesters, Deputy Majority Leader of the Assembly, Hon Olumuyiwa Jimoh commended them for conducting themselves peacefully, assuring that the House would look into their case.
“Let me assure you that we are going to look into your petition without any fear or favour and I can assure you also that you will receive judgment at the end of the day,” Jimoh said.
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