Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, Daddy Showkey has stayed alive after four attempts on his life in recent times. The Ghetto soldier as he's fondly called escaped the last attempt in a dramatic manner as he chased his assailants after miraculously surviving a close range shot.
Daddy Showkey whose real name is John Asiemo told Daily Sun that his only concern is the safety of his family who are being traumatized by these incessant attacks and not the speculations that he might be involved in shady businesses.
It’s been four attempts on your life in recent times, why are people shooting at you?
I don’t know at all, if I tell you that I have one person that I suspect, I would be lying to you. Recently, I left my house in search of fuel, somebody told me to go to the filling station in Agidingbi, Ikeja opposite Cadbury. I went there at once because I have always been patronizing them; I was on the queue there, I waited for my turn.
When it got to my turn to buy fuel, somebody tapped my car, I even thought I had a flat tyre, on coming down from the car, the person said ‘’shebi iwo ni’’ (so it’s you right?), the next thing I heard was gunshots directed at my chest. After he shot at me, I pretended as if I was falling to the ground and I punched him. I tried holding onto the guy that shot me but another guy came from nowhere and also shot at me in the head. I give glory to God for his deliverance, the bullets didn’t penetrate my body because of divine intervention.
Did you catch any of them?
No, we would have caught them had it been the people at the filling station were brave enough but when they heard the sound of the gun, everybody dispersed and ran for their lives. Some people were glued inside their cars and couldn’t come out because they witnessed everything that happened.
Are you sure it wasn't your vehicle that attracted them?
I went out with my land rover jeep (LR3) but I don’t think so. If they were robbers who wanted my SUV, they would have taken it. Besides, there were other vehicles there like a murano that would have attracted them also. I wasn’t dressed extravagantly either. I wore a Chelsea jersey and had my rings and necklaces on me. Had it been they asked me for my keys I would have handed it to them without stress. Would I fight with a man with a gun? He didn’t ask for any of my personal effects. He just shot at me.
So you believe it’s an assassination attempt?
Yes I do. I also reported the incident at Alausa police station, Ikeja.
That’s the fourth attempt on your life, so can you recall the last three attempts?
The only one I can recall was the one which I just left my house not more than 30 minutes, they came around and my gateman was shot in the process. There was another incident where they wanted to come into my house, I was at home that day, and the security guards in my estate engaged them in a gun battle, they ran away that day. While that was going on, I called my boys from Ajegunle who arrived three hours later, I told them on phone that they should also come to my rescue because some people wanted to kill me.
Those people escaped through the swamp not far from the area. After that incident, I had to leave Lagos for Delta. I came back to Lagos afterwards and proceeded to the US. I haven’t been around for a while; maybe they just got information that I was in town that’s why they trailed me to the filling station. People have been calling to tell me to relocate but I will not. I must get to the root of this matter, I must find out who is trying to kill me. I can’t relocate from my country just because somebody wants to kill me. I can only move my family because I can't afford to lose my wife or children for any reason.
But are you not scared?
There is nobody that won’t be scared, but if I know the person who is trying to kill me, I won’t be scared. I am a street boy, I grew up in the street, ‘’if say I know am, I go just siddon, make we dey play tape for ourself, make we know person wey go dance pass’’. It has not been easy for me and my family, I know the trauma they are going through now just because of me. The other time they came to my house, they killed a man in front of my son, can you imagine what my son went through when he experienced that incident? I am hopeful that one day one of them will be caught.
How deep are you in politics in Ajegunle and at the national level?
Every individual in Nigeria is a politician because our opinion on any issue counts, once you have a voters’ card, you have become a politician. If I say I'm not a politician, I would be lying because I do vote. So, in my neighborhood, I like to know what goes on there and I get to advise too.
How easy was it for you to reconcile the picture of Ajegunle with where you are today?
First of all, check the environment that I live now, it’s not better than Ajegunle. The impression most people have about Ajegunle is very wrong, many people see it as a slum. To me, we grew up there and I dare say that many important people in this country also come from there. Ajegunle has produced several doctors, generals in the army and let’s not even talk of musicians. My mother was a teacher while my father was a banker, I grew up behind a police station.
Growing up, the only negative thing that was prevalent then was crime. The only reason why I was determined to be successful in music was to prove to people that something good indeed can also come out of an area that people had already written off. I am a grass root person, I can afford to start a foundation in Ajegunle but if I approach some established people in the society to become members of the board of trustees, they would say no because of the location of the area. I do things in my own little way for that community but I won’t mention it because I am not trying to impress anybody. I give scholarships to students in my area, I do a lot of things here but I don’t like talking about it.
How easy is it to picture the days of small beginnings compared to this level of comfort?
It wasn’t easy at all, I was in entertainment then and I had people who were managing me. They were really exploiting me at that time but I didn’t mind because I knew I was destined for greater things in life. To me, I felt even though they were cheating me, they were building me up for greater challenges in life. My life today and my life yesterday are two different things, I had a very rough beginning and today, I thank God for where I am. Today, I am very happy and I see my success as my children and my family, at least I can afford to give them three square meals. I value my gifts and they are my children.
How was growing up like?
I lost my father when I was eight years old, that was 1978, I lost my elder brother in 1983, I was the last child of my mum. My father had three wives, my mother was the eldest, and we were four boys. My late brother was killed by a canon in the village during a burial, it entered into his head and he died and I lost my father in a car accident. My mother was a teacher and she tried all she could, my grandmother was a big business woman but as for me I decided that my gift was entertainment in general, not just music. My friends and I would leave the house to go and play at night clubs like Gongola, Paradiso and Face 2 in those days. We also go scavenging, we did this during the day and we still played at night clubs. At the end of the day, I thank God that I have a positive story to tell now.
What led you into scavenging, were you trying to help your mother?
My mother did not even know I was scavenging. The day she found out, it was not funny at all, she felt very bad. My uncles had to come around and they dealt with me seriously. I made them realize that it was the in thing then in the neighborhood and that the kids in Ajegunle don’t depend on anybody. We didn’t have much options then, very few companies employed people for holiday jobs at that time, so we opted for scavenging for the fear of being the odd one out. At that time, we used to pick objects from the slum and then take it to the recycle center, these days we no longer have recycle centers anymore.
So when did you start music?
The first time I went to a stage was in 1977, that was in FESTAC. After then, I did the bar beach show, I took part in the village headmaster too, animal games and a host of other shows like the Kuramo lodge, Eko holiday inn and Paradiso. Paradiso was one of the biggest clubs then, so was club 22, and wazobia, we used to have a lot of them those days. Those days, people used to call me ‘’show’’, some call me ‘’baba pako’’. We formed a group in 1987 called the pretty busy boys, on that platform we did our first album, but later the group went solo.
How many people were with you in the group?
Daddy Fresh, Sexy Pretty and I. Later, Cashman Davies and Roland joined after Sexy Pretty left the group. Eventually, everybody had to go their separate ways because it was our idea that when we get to a certain stage in life that we would try it out on our own. Pretty left the group even before we did our first album. I also went into the Defense Academy, but it wasn’t because I got admission into the school that the group went apart, it’s just one of those things.
Some say that was the genesis of your problems with Daddy Fresh, is it true?
How can they say that when Daddy Fresh was the first to release an album, he released his album in 1993 while I did mine in 1994? He had problems with me but I didn’t have problems with him. If you go to the archives and check or try and ask the pretty busy boys, they are all alive, they will tell you that I was the one who did his best in order to make sure that the group didn’t fall apart. My success as a musician today is because God loves me, it is not because I am one spectacular singer, it is God. I still keep tabs on the group, I hang out with them when time permits except for Daddy Fresh. He has his own reasons but I don’t have problems with anybody.
Don't you think you and Daddy Fresh should have sat down and resolved your issues like men instead of allowing it get messy?
It is this simple, I don’t force myself on people. If you are ready to work with me, I will work with you, otherwise I will lose my respect. There must be mutual understanding between two people for something of this magnitude to happen. Let’s talk about the industry now, I am ready to work with anybody, a tree does not make a forest.
So when do you think this acrimony between you and Daddy Fresh will end?
Like I said, I don’t have problems with him.
Why did you go to Delta and what were you doing in Delta?
I am from Delta state. When I came back, I had to fall back home just to get a new environment so that I can think of how to rearrange myself and my business because I had lost a lot then. I thank God for my state government at that time, they supported me and stood by me.
How did you pick up the pieces of your life? Did all your business crumble that time?
“You know, water cannot finish inside coconut” by the grace of God, so we thank God. It was a lot of support from people back home and Ajegunle that brought me back, so many of my friends and elder brother were all there for me. Even PMAN didn't support me.
What business do you do now?
I don’t want to say anything about my business. It is my private issue.
Looking at your many properties and the quality of your house, won't people think you are cutting corners or be curious about the kind of business you do?
Let them talk, people will always talk. For me, this is hard work, I will not say music didn’t contribute to it, it contributed a lot to it, if not for music, maybe the connection that got me all these will not be there. I will not like you to know I am the owner of this and that, but one day when those businesses become big, then people will know.
How will you describe your marital life seeing you have been with your wife since 1992?
Yes, we have being together for a long time, boyfriend and girlfriend relationship then courtship and later, we got married and we have four children.
Which would you choose between being an army officer and a musician?
I thank God for where I am now, I thank God for the decision I took, and I am happy with where I am now. I have no regrets. At the end of the day, I also became a ghetto soldier and I still relate with the army. There was a time I played for the chief of army staff in Benin and I saw so many Generals around, I was so happy.
So, will you go back to music?
This year, it’s all these attack that has being delaying me, a lot of people have being calling me. Even my brothers have being calling me, and they want me to leave the country, if I leave the country, what will I be doing? Music is my gift and no matter what, I will continue to do music.
What do you think of today’s music?
Today’s music is what is feeding a lot of people. It is providing for a lot of mothers, music is the only company that is giving people job without application. Music can change a person’s life.
Will you do a music that will go with today’s trend?
As a musician, you listen to tunes and you build your own style.
Which artiste would you like to feature?
I like a lot of artistes, right now I can’t say which one I will like to feature, I like a lot of them.
What were you doing to sustain yourself outside music?
I have a lot of friends that have businesses. I invest my money in their businesses, and when they make profit, they give me my money and my own profit. I also have stocks and shares in many companies, and sometimes I buy some and later sell them before the stocks crashes. I have Banker friends who always advise me on what to do with the money I get and even some stockbrokers who assist me to invest my money. They made me business inclined and that has helped me a lot.
With KATE HALIM email@example.com 07042146485