Sammie Peters Tells it all: The Secrets Of My Love Life At 60! - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Sammie Peters Tells it all: The Secrets Of My Love Life At 60!

Sammie Peters with husband, Sir Shina Peters

Penultimate week, Sammie Peters, the wife of Afro juju maestro, Sir Shina Peters, turned 60 and she celebrated it in the midst of her husband, family members, movie stars, politicians and people from all works of life. At Christmas, a few weeks before her 60th birthday, a family member blessed her with a brand new Avenza car, which we found in the compound at the Peters’ large home in Iju on the outskirt of Lagos. 

A school proprietress, Sammie Peters is not new to Nigeria’s society scene and to fashion trends. For the first time ever, she opens up in this interview with PAUL UKPABIO, on her love life with Shina Peters and tells us secrets she has kept over the years.

Some people address you as a Chief; do you have any chieftaincy title?

I am a chief but I don’t like to be called that. I am just okay being called ‘Sammie Peters.’

It was your 60th birthday party a week ago, how do you feel being 60?

I feel great, even though I don’t feel 60. I feel like a 16-year-old lady (laughs)! It’s good to be 60; I thank God. I give Him all the praise considering all that I have been through in life. For me to be 60, I thank God for the feat.

You were 40, then 50 not too long ago; now 60.  So, what were the things that you were doing at 30, 40, 50 that you are no more doing at 60?

I am closer to my God now. I am calmer, more relaxed. I have always been patient where my home is concerned. I have been a born again Christian all that while, but I appreciate God more now.

And I realise that we are all going to die someday. So, I try not to hurt people, I think more of people than myself. I am more selfless and love to give now more than before.

What are the things that you used to do back then when you were 30, 40, 50 and you are still doing now?

(Laughs) Well, at 30, 40 and 50, nobody can really change a person totally; so I have always been me. I am a straight forward person. When it is black, I say it is black; when it is red, it is red. I don’t mince my word. I am a strong person.

I forgive easily. This is me.  Even in my family, when there is a complex issue of discussion, they wait for me to arrive because to them, they know that when I get there, I will say it the way it is.

And the matter will be settled. They all know me for that. I’ve always acted like an old woman with my wisdom. God really endowed me with wisdom. I know how to settle matters; I know how to calm people’s frayed nerves.

Do you still dance?

Yes, I still dance. I love reading. I love to listen to good music, gospel music; I love to listen to my husband’s music.

Which of your husband’s music is your favourite?

All of his songs are my favorite.

When you are down, what cheers you up?

I am rarely down. But when I am really down, I go to God. I go on my knees to talk to God. And my prayers are always that, God should not let things get to me.
I don’t expect much from people. I don’t put too much trust in people. I put trust in God. So, when I don’t expect something from you and you do something bad to me, it is expected for you to do it because I wasn’t expecting any better from you (laughs)! That is why some women run into psychological problems because they expect much from people.

So, when they get disappointed, it affects them mentally. They put so much trust in people. I don’t. And there is really nothing that is permanent in this world.

At 60, do you have any regret?

Haaa (paused for a while), I have no regret, no regret at all!

Tell us a little about your background, which among your parents influenced you, most?

My mom influenced me more. I come from a polygamous background, though I grew up with my dad and mom together without his other women. My father had children from other women.

But my mom was always okay with his other children. She took them into her home and cared for them. I could remember a time when I went home crying and highlighting the difference between me and my other siblings and my mom was angry with me, shocked about what I was saying.

She told me not to say such things but that I accept the things that come my ways and that I should treat everybody as one. My mother was a very calm woman who was very patient as well.

So you took after her?

Yes, that’s right. And growing up was nice for me. We lived in Lagos at Oshodi. I went to Holy Trinity Nursery and Primary School at Adeniyi Jones, Ikeja, where we enjoyed things like being picked up to and fro school with school bus.

Later, my mom said she wanted me to go to a boarding school. So she changed my school to Holy Trinity Nursery and Primary School in Idi Aba in Abeokuta.
From there, I went to Premier Grammar School.Then after in form form, she brought me back to Lagos to Victory High School at Onigbongbo, Ikeja, where I finished my secondary school.

I later went for the diploma course in Montessori education because I wanted a school for that. I later on established Intellect Nursery and Primary School.

How did you meet your husband Sir Shina Peters?

We were family friends. His mom and mine used to call themselves aunties. So because of that family closeness, they didn’t want us to get married.
They even told us that we were brothers and sisters, that we were too close regarding being family (laughs). I think our parents were afraid that our getting married might hurt the friendship that they had with each other and they even told us that.

My mom was older than his mom and his mom used to call my mom ‘Aunty mi,’ meaning my aunty, which literally meant respect, being that my mom was the senior.
They were both in the same club, and used to attend parties together, almost doing everything together. So, we met through them and it was love at first sight.
Even though with every marriage, there are always ups and downs but to the glory of God, we are still together.

How long was that?

I met my husband at the age of 21. It was in 1981 and now I am 60, which is 39 years ago.

What attracted you to him and tell us about your love life?

When we met, I loved everything about him, his smiles, which are his signature, then his attitude towards me. He is a kind and a generous man to me. Even if he behaves somehow outside the home, when he gets home, he drops all his worries and anxieties at the gate before coming into our home.

If he offends you, he doesn’t hesitate to say sorry. He does not hesitate to prostrate if it is necessary for him to do that. He does anything to make me happy.
He does not let me lack. So when he doesn’t have money, I know because he is a giver. If he has money he gives, if he doesn’t have, I understand.

At such times, he will tell you he doesn’t have. If you pester him too much, he will tell you that he cannot carry gun! So since I know him too well, when he says he doesn’t have, I do not trouble him.

I try to do the things that I need to do in whichever other way I can without bothering him. And over the years, we have grown to understand each other.

What has been that thing that has kept the bonding growing in your marriage? Or did you both do blood oath like touch each other’s blood and swear to live forever with each other?

No, we didn’t (laughs); even if a couple do blood oath to live together forever, if they don’t treat each other well, they will end up going their separate ways.
I believe that the bonding has been growing through patience and unconditional love and forgiving each other. I forgive my husband easily. It comes easily with me.

I don’t know how to keep malice no matter what my husband does to me. I don’t even think much about my husband’s errors. I might be upset because I am human but I will forgive him easily and let go.

For him to have married you this long, that means he too forgives you?

Yes, that is true. But I don’t go out of my way to hurt him. You can see my environment; I ensure that my home is very clean and neat; his bedroom, his bathroom, his beddings, his clothings are all in my care. I ensure they are all taken care of and in place.

Then, I also take care of myself. When people see me, they say that I look very young. That does not just come to be or just happens; it is because I take care of myself. I don’t need too much money to do that.

A wife needs to take care of herself and then make sure that the home environment is neat and conducive. My husband’s food is important. You know things like that need to be attended to. There are rules that guide a successful marriage. I don’t offend my husband.

Over the years, haven’t you been bothered about women who may snatch him from you in the course of his being in show business?

It does not bother me but at times, I get upset if the woman in question is trying to disrespect me. You know, some women tend to do to other women what they can’t take in their own relationship. They dish other others what they can’t accept themselves.
Some could just put out a photo to the public where my husband is kissing them or holding them suggestively. Imagine a woman putting that out as her Facebook photo when you know that he is married.

That is a sign of disrespect to the wife and those are the kind of things that I cannot stand: If my husband happens to be making love to a lady in some place I can see, I might look away.

Though it has never happened before, but considering my nature, I might look away. But I don’t like to be disrespected. What you don’t take, don’t dish it out. The kind of food you cannot eat, don’t give me to eat.

If your husband is dating another woman and the woman is doing that to you, will you like it? 

Some women are really wicked; some don’t even think about their fellow women or what you could be going through because of their affairs.
A man can say anything but I wish women could have each other’s back. Even if you are dating a married man, date him respectfully. Do not go out and hurt your fellow woman.

If you unseat the wife, can you take care of the man? If I leave my husband for them, they can’t even last with him; they will leave because he’s not theirs.
They will leave; they can’t manage him. So if you see the other woman in the house, don’t think that the man does not love her, he does.

And that she stays at home as if she too can’t jump about is because she loves her husband. I always say this; I can share my husband rather than lose him.
If my husband is having extra-marital affairs outside, maybe that is what is making him happy or keeping him going. But I can tell you that such women always come and go, Sammie stays.

When you are happy, how do you express it? Do you go to a party?

I am always happy. I don’t hold on to grudges; so that is the number one source of happiness. So, I don’t trouble myself. God who asked us to forgive each other knows what He meant, it is because of our own wellbeing.

I don’t hold on to grudges. If I have a problem with someone, I can confront the person but immediately after that scene, I’m done with it. I don’t take it to the next day.

You are the proprietress of a school?

Yes, I am, it is because of my love for children that made me establish it. The school keeps me going. I overcame the challenges and the most troubling was the transportation of the school pupil to and fro school.

And it was not allowing me to have peace of mind. So I had to ease that out of our operations. So if you want your child to attend our school, you cater for your child’s transportation by yourself.

The anxieties were heavy on us. You know, even aircraft develop problems and we have to wait at airports during such delays but some parents sometimes refuse to understand. As I am getting older, I stay away from anything that could bring about stress.

When are you planning to retire from the job at the school?

(Laughs) How do I retire from the school business? No retirement for me until perhaps when I can no longer move my legs. Yes, I will retire when I am too old to be put in a car to go to the school. I can’t retire from taking care of those children. They are my children too.

How about your son Clinton?

He is in America, in New York precisely. He used to come at Christmas. He was around this last Christmas and stayed till after my 60th birthday party.
So Christmas was special for me. I got my birthday gift, an Avenza car on Christmas Day. Of course I do miss my son not being around.

Your husband too is always travelling, how do you cope?

It is not the way you say it, true he is always travelling; he actually travels a lot but he doesn’t stay out long. Sometimes it’s just for a night, sometimes two nights and then he is home.

The longest could be a week or two but then after he stays at home till the next time, he travels. Then my son schooled here. He had his nursery and primary education in my school before going to attend Mind Builders School.

And then from there he left for America for further studies. I do visit him there to spend time and come back. I go there two times a year and he comes here afterwards.

Seems you love America

Oh yes, I do. I love America, it’s more or less my second home. I have friends there, I party there, I can live there comfortably even though my son doesn’t want that because he keeps saying I should go back home and take care of his daddy.

So, what next? What do you think you have missed out in life that you still want?

I am contented. I wanted a school. Now I have it. It is successful. The next thing for me is to have an NGO where I can continue to give back.

I want to have a talk show where I can discuss and educate women on how to manage and take care of their homes. I really want to do that and to create awareness for cancer, especially breast cancer, which is what I went through and survived.

For those who don’t know about your struggle with breast cancer and how you survived it, give us a short re-cap of that

I was 54 years old when I discovered I had breast cancer. I was exactly having pain in that particular breast but sometimes I felt minor pain.
I could play and jog but I was feeling uncomfortable every now and then in that particular breast. I went for a mammogram at a lab where I was told that something had been spotted, that I should go and do a biopsy. Awareness on these things was scarce then.

And instead of doing the biopsy, I went to see a doctor to remove the lumps which shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I ought to have gone for the biopsy, which would have confirmed if the affected lump was benign or malignant. I didn’t know, I went to remove it and the doctor took it to the lab.

We did it and he confirmed that it was cancerous. For me, it was a wake-up call. More so when prior to my experience, I had never heard of anyone who survived cancer.  I was looking at my children like, oh my God, I could be leaving.

You know, I have shade and Olumide. These two are already working and could fend for themselves. My first born was already married. I was more worried of the last one. I was scared because Clinton was still in secondary school.

But on getting to America, I was told that we detected it early that it was on stage two. I was told that people don’t die like that; I was also encouraged as I was told that people have been surviving it.

That early detection is the key that it has not gotten out of hand  that I will have to come for check ups every year that if any trace is seen, it will be treated and it will disappear.

I was elated but shocked at the ease it was handled because I was not even bed-ridden. I have pictures where I was taking chemo, my husband was with me, by the bedside when I went for chemo.

When one takes chemo, one could feel sick for about two days but not bed-ridden. In America, if you go for surgery, you can even be discharged that same day.
You may be allowed to stay for some hours after the surgery to be monitored but you will be discharged once it is confirmed that there were no complications.
The only time I stayed long in the hospital was one week. I went through surgery four times for different things. I know so many people in America that survived cancer but in Nigeria, people don’t talk, they hide their illness so it’s difficult to know who survived. Cancer is not leprosy; it is not contagious so people should come out and share their experiences.

What is your advice to people with cancer?

You don’t even know you have it except perhaps for stomach upsets or so. Please, go and do check up. Go for mammogram and biopsy; even blood sugar checkups because these are silent killers.

Early detection is key. And we have to plead with the government to please establish cancer centres where people can go for checkups and so on. It should also be free for poor people.

So what’s your fashion and style at 60?

The older I get, the better my fashion and style become. I don’t need much money to make myself look good. I don’t spend too much money on my cream. Over-doing of creams can spoil the skin. I don’t buy cream according to how expensive it is. I buy looking good because it is good for my body.

Now you are here, I am wearing Ankara. If my husband was here at home with me, I would be wearing my short things. I can’t wear such short things outside my home here in Nigeria but I can wear them in America where the culture allows it. I also don’t follow fashion trends because it is fashion. I do my fashion. While I don’t expose my body, I don’t conceal everything too. I don’t like loud fashion accessories like loud earrings and so on.

Your husband is comfortable. So are you. But your classy home is out of place in your environment

My husband likes it like that. He says that if he leaves this place, who is going to be there for these people? He is a man of the people. We have a place in Lekki; I have been begging him that we should hurriedly complete the house there so we could move there. He said even if he finishes it, he will not move.

We have plots of land in different areas but he is not interested in moving away. Even this year, it is part of my project to complete our other home. You need to be here when ‘live football matches’ are on television, my husband, our neighbours enjoy a good camaraderie with us at such times by the swimming pool. It’s always a beautiful sight to see.

Sometimes when my husband is around, he kills goat and barbecue and drinks are freely served. So my husband is enjoying his stay in this environment. People bring their problems and when he is capable, he solves them: So he keeps telling me that when we move to where the rich people live, who will be there for these people?

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