This is the latest edition of the Lovehaven magazine. In this interview, Mrs Sammie Peters bares it all. Read on
Elegant with graceful gait, nothing gave her away as a 60-year-old!
Married to the popular Afro-juju maestro, Sir Shina Peters, Sammie would reveal to you that she is currently living her dream.
“I’ve always dreamt of having a school for little children. I love kids and would do anything to be with them. Fortunately, when I was in my 40s, my husband established a nursery/primary school for me. Also, I have always nursed a dream of celebrating my 60th birthday amidst pomp and pageantry and that was made possible in January 2020 when my husband threw a party for me. Lastly, I have always dreamt of a peaceful marriage and God has made that possible for me,” an enthusiastic Sammie revealed to Lovehaven during an exclusive interview at their Iju, Lagos home.
The ambience of their beautiful home is captivating. The hostess, who was dressed in an Ankara mini dress, would tell you she does not feel or dress like a 60-year-old.
At this, she said, “I don’t feel 60 at all. 60 is just a number. Age has to do with the mind and what you want to feel. I wear what makes me comfortable—jeans, bum shorts, dresses and formal wear. I don’t have to dress old because I’m 60 and a grandma. Although that doesn’t mean I have to be indecent in my dressing. No. Remember I have a school and I’m a role model to my pupils, teachers and parents. But I believe you have to be sharp and smart in your outlook even at 100 years.”
Maybe it would surprise you to hear her say, “I’m happily married.”
Sammie, who has been with Sir Shina Peters for almost 40 years said it’s possible to remain happy even if other women are sharing your husband with you.
She said, “I’m married to a musician and I knew from the beginning that women don’t allow musicians to rest. The journey of marriage has been hectic, beautiful, challenging but never rocky. I’ve never thought of divorce in the union and neither has my husband.
Even with some concubines lurking around her handsome 62-year-old husband?
She said, “That has not affected my marriage. I’d always said and believed that I’d rather share my husband than lose him to any other woman. That has always been my stance even as a young wife. This is not to encourage my husband or other husbands out there to cheat on their wives, but I adopted that attitude to stay happy and not develop high blood pressure. What I cannot change, I pray to God and He answers me. Nothing my husband does affect me. My love for him is unconditional and nothing can separate me from my husband. I understand him perfectly, we love each other and he has always respected me. He has never brought another woman to our matrimonial home. I love my husband, I would always love him and I don’t think the love will reduce no matter what happens to us.”
Still talking in glowing terms about her husband, Sammie Peters recalled how she met him. She said, “I met Sir Shina Peters when I was 21. Our parents were close and at a stage they claimed we were related. But we are not—we are just from the same town. We have been together all these years.”
Sammie advised women on the best approach to living happily in a marriage without suffering from high blood pressure. “When going into marriage, ask God for patience. Respect your husband even when he has done something wrong. Let him have his food and don’t shout on him. Give room for dialogue and allow him to tell lies even when you know he is a liar. Moreover, if you can just look away and know that men are natural cheats, you would be at peace and pray to God to make your husband respect you and the home. Even if he’s cheating, pray that he doesn’t embarrass you and he should be respectful about those affairs.”
But was there any form of challenge in the marriage since inception?
She smiled and recalled the years the marriage was childless. Though her husband had children from other women, Sammie, who is the only legally married woman to Sir Shina Peters, disclosed that she was without her own kids for 20 years.
“I prayed, fasted and was desirous of having a child for him, but it didn’t happen until almost 20 years after I married him. Ironically, Olu mi (that’s what she calls Sir Shina Peters) was not bothered and anytime I was sad, he would tell me that he married me because he loved me and not because he wanted children. He would assure me that I would have kids for him. When the baby came, we were very happy. I believe where there is love, there is endurance, there would be peace,” she said.
However, her joy was almost cut short six years ago when she was diagnosed of having cancer.
“I was 54 years old when I was diagnosed of having cancer. The first thought that came to me was my son—how would he survive without me because he was still in secondary school then. I was praying to God to help me stay alive and care for him till he could fend for himself. I was scared that I was going to die. It was like seeing death one on one! I hadn’t heard of anyone surviving cancer in Nigeria. I was worried and wondered why me. Eventually I knew that God allowed it for a reason. It drew me closer to God and even now that I’m cancer-free, I still pray to God that he should allow me make heaven.”
Recalling her journey of recovery and remission, Sammie said, “I started feeling the pain and was diagnosed in July 2014. I travelled abroad in August 2014 and though I removed the lumps (It was still regional) in Nigeria, I had a major surgery abroad in December and started my chemotherapy. Taking chemo was more challenging. The treatment is worse than cancer. I didn’t feel anything until I started the chemo. I was different. My appearance changed, I lost my hair and looked different but I had a caring husband who stood by me.”
But there were stories making the round then that her husband abandoned her in the hospital abroad?
“It is a lie! Sir Shina Peters never abandoned me. In fact, he was at his best when I was abroad. He fasted, prayed and would call me to pray for me on the phone. He was also making trips every month abroad to see me. It was trying period for us and I saw my husband praying fervently that I shouldn’t die. Anytime my son was on holidays, he sent him abroad to stay with me. I had more than three surgeries. No! He never abandoned me. Maybe when some people saw him with some women, they assumed he had abandoned me. He took care of me, got a beautiful house for me abroad and bought three cars for me in less than a year. What else would I have asked for?”
Having survived cancer, she is set to have a foundation that would help other women who are victims of cancer.
“I had to be open and share my cancer story because I didn’t want any woman to go through it. It helps sensitize women on the disease. I dealt with it medically and no woman should think it’s a spiritual thing. I’m now cancer free and I thank God for it. I believe there should be cancer centers in Nigeria, where women can get help at the early stages.”
Has she ever thought of divorce?
She opened up that, “He hasn’t chased me out. He hasn’t brought a woman home to be his wife. I’m his only wife. What else do I want? He takes very good care of me, he makes me happy and whenever I’m with him, I’m always happy.
“In this union between Shina Peters and I, we both understand the word—Respect. My philosophy is this: Even if you are having affairs with other women, keep silent about it and don’t flaunt it. I say this because we have children who have spouses and grandchildren. The older we both get in this marriage, we both believe there is the need to tone down on certain things and respect the marriage. It would be very embarrassing for any of our grandchildren to see my husband with another woman and ask if grandpa is married to two wives!”
Not done yet, Sammie continued: “I see every man as a natural cheat. No married woman should think that a man is hers alone. Every man is a cheat by nature and no woman should deceive herself and say the man is hers alone. I have been married for almost 40 years and I’ve coped with my husband and whatever infidelity. But he is a caring husband. He loves us (my son and I) and we go on holidays together. He is a nice man and a very wonderful husband.
“If there is another world, I want to marry Shina Peters again. He is always bubbling with life and always happy. He’s always laughing and would apologise to you whenever he does any wrong.”
Does he sing for her at home?
Smiling, she said, “No, he hardly listen to music at home but he is always happy. But whenever we are observing leisure at home or I am upset, he sings for me.”
Does she forgive him easily whenever he does any wrong?
“Why not? I do, because I love him. Even when I tell you about my husband I would not allow anyone to judge him. My friends and family members know and would not comment even when I’m angry with him. Fortunately for him, they all love him. I forgive him easily. I hate nagging and I don’t bear grudge. I can’t stop loving Shina Peters and with him, it’s till death do us part.”
Sammie’s definition of love is quite unique.
She said, “What I call love is when you cannot do without the person. That person is like your life. If you really love him, you cannot live your life without him. Even if he is with another woman, I believe he must come back home. It’s not possible for any woman to keep him forever; I will report that person to God. I am a child of God and would engage in spiritual warfare and to collect my husband back.”
She didn’t spare ‘side chics’ (concubines) when she said, “Women are women’s problems. ‘Side chics’ are heartless and would be dating a married man. You break another woman’s home just because of money. Don’t make another woman cry. Leave their husbands alone.”