Landlord palaver, P-Square opens up
When, mid this year, Chief Charles Nwangwa called for a press conference to unearth some cankerworms about on-goings at the Omole residence of the pop group, P-Square, real names, Peter and Paul Okoye, not many spared the boys, especially since they refused to comment on the allegations.
Chief among the allegations levelled against the artistes, was the illegal conversion of the boys' quarters into a studio, for which they pulled down the dividing wall between the two rooms to achieve. The landlord had therefore requested that the twins vacate his property.
Last week was more revealing on this episode. In a final move to evict the Okoyes, Chief Nwangwa called for another press conference where he distributed a 5-page document chronicling the beginning and development of his interactions with the famous group.
The document didn't say anything new other than that Ikeja Regional Development Agency had on last 29th June sealed up the building while the 'boys broke it into with impunity'. He equally alleged that he had been beaten up by the 'Okoye's thugs led by one Wande' when he went to the property to personally serve them a 'mandatory quit notice'.
In a swift reaction, the twins, via their publicist, called for an urgent press brief the next day, Wednesday. And for the first time, they spoke through their manager and brother, Jude Okoye on the matter.
According to Jude, at their first interaction with Chief Nwangwa in 2006, the Chief had told him the house was for sale, for N45million, and that Zain, then called Celtel, was bidding for the building too. Jude, who said he's been in the forefront of dealings with Nwangwa, said their initial payment of N5.6m was supposed to be part payment of the initial purchase.
Jude said there was a verbal agreement between them that if he was able to come up with the balance in two weeks, (when their N50m bank fixed deposit would be ready for withdrawal) the house would become theirs, otherwise the money paid would be converted to 3-years rent for the property.
A hand- written receipt was issued by the Chief for the N5.6m received, on the premise that a further payment which would translate into the Okoyes ownership of the house would still follow. The duo moved into the house and, Jude said, 'after two weeks, I got my fixed deposit and called him to the house for his balance.
I asked him the name I should put in the N39.4m balance draft and he said, no that his house was for N45m.' Can you imagine?', Jude asked.
More than a month after, the angry brothers, rather than get stuck with a 3-year rent, decided to buy up the house all the same.
He went on, 'After one month, I called him on the phone and he said the price for the house had gone up to N80m. We refused to buy it and decided to stay. It was obvious he wanted us trapped from the beginning', Jude explained.
On the broken wall, the brothers explained that they had pulled it down 'just as we came in because we thought we had agreed that the house belonged to us.'
The landlord, they claimed, had been to the studio several times without complain, until they fell out. Jude, who blamed himself for not having a written agreement on the house also claimed that the lady called Gift, whom Chief Nwangwa had publicised as their guarantor was an artiste he (Chief Nwangwa) brought to him (Jude) to produce and which he refused.
The lady, he said, was introduced to them as an interior decorator and artiste and she it was who made their living room curtains.
'Later, he brought his son who had just returned from America and asked me to produce for him, but I refused and reminded him that I work for only P-Square.
Then he told me about a show in Dubai and I told him our fee was $100, 000 per show and he said even Akon had not charged that much money. He got angry and took it personal and left.'
The last of disagreements the group had with Chief Nwangwa, Jude said, was based on Jude's refusal to let Chief get involved with the P-Square brand. According to Jude, Nwangwa had asked to market P-Square's works.
'He said he (landlord) was coming over to take up the marketing of the album; that the man (P-square's marketer) was not doing a good job.' Jude had refused. Afterwards, Nwangwa is alleged to have demanded for a certain percentage as commission off P-square's income since the residential studio had been used in recording songs released for commercial purposes.
Amidst several allegations raised by the boys, indicting Chief Nwangwa, Jude enthused that Nwangwa was never manhandled by P-square nor by his assistants. Instead, the chief, at various times, brought strangers to their house, requesting that the twins signed autographs.
The only time he was refused was when he came with journalists and a policeman and was refused access through the gates by Wande, Jude's assistant. The boys have resolved to quit the building in four months' time, when their Omole building, presently under construction, will be ready.
The Okoye brothers are said to be working on a 6-bedroom twin duplex, not very far away from their present abode.
The property, which they took press men to see, includes a swimming pool and a basement which will serve as studio exclusively for the P-Square brand. They said they intend to put back the studio wall and vacate their present residence before their rent expires in March, 2010.