D'banj: Trials of a pop star

D'banj: Trials of a pop star

Trouble started for the embattled Afro Pop maestro, Oladapo Oyebanji, over his alleged involvement in diversion of millions of N-Power funds. This disturbing news which dominated the media space during the week, unsettled his fan base, especially unearthing public bashing.

After the news about D'banj's arrest littered on media outlets, he became the subject of discussion. His ordeals have since taken different dimensions, especially a ruthless media trial. He is faced with a difficult task sustaining the reputation he has built over the years in the face of the public.

He was arrested and detained by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). While investigation is still ongoing according to the agency, the optics appeared embarrassing for the celebrated musician who has been fingered in the preliminary report released by the anti-graft body.

The serious accusations of alleged fraud against D'banj, not only signpost an unending legal travail, but of larger and unpleasant implications for his personal reputation.

Until the bubble burst, the 42-year-old artist with the sobriquet - Kokomaster or Bangalee - has won several music awards, including the awards for Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007, Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009, Best International Act: Africa at the 2011 BET Awards, and Best-selling African Artist at the 2014 World Music Awards, Evolution award at the 2015 MTV Africa Music awards.

D'banj who has claimed to be the brand ambassador for N-Power scheme, has not only had his reputation dragged in the mud, he has also gotten unpleasant remarks from social media users.

It was alleged that the singer colluded with some government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme.

The N-Power scheme, established by President Buhari on 8th June, 2016, was initiated to address the issues of youth unemployment and empowerment, and help increase social development.

The N-Power, among other social investment programmes of the Federal Government, are under the control of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq.

According to the Ministry, it has over the time involved other government MDA's, Security Agencies and Civil Society Organisations in monitoring and compliance checks across the 36 states of the country and the FCT on its Social investment programmes including N-Power, National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT).

The Ministry, in a statement signed by its Permanent Secretary, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, said it involved the ICPC when it noticed sharp practices by some personnel of the Payment Service Provider (PSP) involved in the payment processes to beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, the ministry had said it never announced anyone as an ambassador of the National Social Investment Programme, but before now D'banj was pictured with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq at an event in 2021.

“We cannot do enough to eradicate poverty, but as an ambassador, I'm dedicated to this vision and open for creative ideas and strategies to bring down the walls of poverty in Nigeria,” D'banj had said in 2021.

“My heartfelt congratulations to the 500 000 beneficiaries of Stream 1 of Batch C. I also indulge them to make the most of this opportunity. Congratulations and God bless the honourable minister and each ministry fighting the good fight against poverty.” D'banj added.

However, the spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, Azuka Ogugua noted that investigation was ongoing into the matter. Ogugua noted that about 10 persons had been invited by the ICPC over the last few months in connection with the fraud and granted administrative bail.

She said several invitations to Oyebanjo to appear before a team of investigators were ignored.

But D'banj, through his lawyer, said his arrest and detention was misconceived, malicious and prejudicial to the justice system.

Maryam El-yakub Musa, Assistant Team Head of Litigation, LAW CORRIDOR chamber said Dbanj was officially invited by the ICPC in respect of the investigation a month ago, however, he sent in letters through his Attorneys to the Commission in respect of his schedule in South Africa and promised to visit the Commission when he returned.

She said: “D'banj has encouraged the commission to carry out its investigation thoroughly to ensure that characters attempting to bring him into such ridiculous activities are brought to book.

“The general public is advised to resist the urge to buy into media sensationalism which is unsurprising but regardless harmful to the course of the truth which D'banj has willingly set himself on by honouring the ICPC's summons.

“We retain the hope that the thoroughness of the ICPC will in no time exonerate D'banj of all and every allegation levelled against his person…”

By Alao Abiodun 

Post a Comment