The first leg of the long-awaited 2019 general elections held yesterday as candidates vying for the position of the president and a seat in the National Assembly relied on Nigerians to determine their fate, one vote at a time. Incidences of election violence were reported; some voters were reportedly manhandled by security operatives, ballot papers were snatched and burnt at some polling units and some voters were forced to run for their lives when partisan thugs disrupted their centres. This is sadly not an unusual tale but depending on who you ask, it was a successful exercise.
Amid the scare, apparent, was the resolve of Nigerians. The young, old, rich, poor, privileged and under, made their way to the polls and ensured to capture and share both their experiences and moments of patriotism on social media. Also visible were celebrities. Nollywood actress and producer, Omoni Oboli was present at her polling unit two hours before call time and assisted in taking record of electorates as they arrived. Singer and songwriter, Timi Dakolo was captured coordinating the queue to ensure order at his polling unit while rapper M.I Abaga although sick, made his way to the polls to perform his civic duty. Commendable!
Where was Davido?
Valid question one must note. Why? Prior to the elections, Nigerian international pop star, Davido was perhaps the most vocal celebrity on matters related to voter awareness and youth participation. “If you’re a young person in Nigeria today, I urge you to support our democracy by coming out to cast and
#DefendYourVote next month. The future of Nigeria is NOT negotiable, cos E concern all of us.”, the singer tweeted on January 29, revealing his involvement with ‘Defend Your Vote’, an initiative that championed youth participation and consciousness per the elections.
Weeks leading up to the elections, the singer continued to champion the initiative with informative materials on social media and would later go on to headline the Lagos edition of the ‘Defend Your Vote Concert’.
Hypocrisy Strike One
“DEFEND YOUR VOTE (DYV) is a “non-partisan” non-profit organization committed to building and equipping the youth of Nigeria with political power.” is how the initiative describes its MO on social media and on its official website. Exactly how does a non-partisan organization enlist Davido, an unabashedly partisan campaigner?
The singer’s spite towards the incumbent president of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is well documented. In an interview with UK-based media personality, DJ Abass, the singer noted that the powers that be have treated his (elitist) family without regard. Little wonder why the singer has been an open critic of the ruling APC party. When the postponement of the election was announced last weekend, Davido did not hesitate to ridicule the incumbent; “There’s nothing wrong in wanting to be President for one more week .. the seat sweet
#DefendYourVote”, he tweeted.
The degree of disdain he expressed towards the ruling APC party is proportional to the degree of support he gave the opposing, People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He endorsed the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar as far back as October 2018 after posing with the politician alongside his significant other, Chioma.
Davido had on February 5 tweeted and posted on Instagram; “Our incoming president knows wassup” along with a video that saw the PDP presidential candidate refer to the singer as the “ruling king”. Weeks leading up to the elections, Davido performed at the Presidential rally of the PDP in Rivers state, posed with Senator Bukola Saraki, a chieftain of the PDP and donned in customised PDP inscribed shirts, all while representing the “non-partisan” Defend Your Vote initiative.
Hypocrisy Strike Two
On February 4, Davido tweeted; “Voting is our civic right. Social media battles won’t cut it. Come February 2019, let go out and exercise our RIGHT to VOTE!”. But on February 23, Nigerians went to the polls, but Davido was nowhere to be found. Hours before the elections, the singer shared a photo on Instagram that was geotagged, Johannesburg, South Africa. As photos of celebrities from their polling units circulated on social media, no photo of Davido was seen. The singer was a no-show.
Persons have argued that Davido would have been around to vote if the elections were not postponed, but news-flash, the singer was also out of town on the previously announced elections date (February 16). Davido was part of the panel of African creators who were present at a Harvard Business School event that held on February 15 and 16. The singer who is known for always sharing photos and videos from his functions failed to share moments from his Havard appearance and the reason isn’t far fetched. Your guess is right.
What we gathered
The root of the singer’s recent campaigns for PDP and Defend Your Vote is tied to a common factor, Money. A source who requested to remain anon told NET that Davido was paid heavily by the PDP to help them secure youth vote. This mission doesn’t come as a surprise because according to data made available by INEC, 51% of total registered voters fall between the ages of 18 and 35, therefore, any candidate that secures youth vote has an ascendancy. We are also told that the singer has been promised a political position if the PDP come out victorious.
Recall that on February 14, Davido shared a photo of himself and two PDP chieftains, one of which is the Senate President, Bukola Saraki. The singer captioned; “Leaders and a Future leader !!!!”
Regarding the Defend Your Vote Initiative, our source also reveals that it was a paid project. The singer was paid a massive sum to represent and popularize the project. The singer projected everything he did only because of monetary gains and personal interest.
Advocating youth participation while you operate in exclusion? Asking young Nigerians to vote and defend their votes when you probably don’t have a PVC? Telling people to fight for freedom while you lounge at a five-star hotel in South Africa? Imagine Moses asking the Israelites to go to the red sea when he knows for sure that he’ll be a no-show?
Without a doubt, entertainers are influential, but maybe that’s about where it ends. We shouldn’t assume that celebrity automatically qualifies them for leadership. We shouldn’t assume that they care beyond their pockets. We shouldn’t look to them for anything that is beyond entertainment until they prove otherwise.
“Tweets and hashtags is a great start, but that alone will NOT secure Nigeria’s future, VOTING will”, those were the words of Davido days before the elections and as we already know, the singer practised the opposite of what he preached. What is the definition of hypocrisy again?
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