African Entertainment: Davido, The Rise And Trial Of A Megastar
Known for his high-sounding tunes and infectious smile, Nigerian music star, Davido, is in the eye of the storm following the death of not one but three of his friends in the space of 3 days. Born David Adeleke, the son of the prominent family from the ancient town of Ede in Osun State, has, easily, been the most trending Nigerian musician yet this month, Isioma Madike, Lanre Odukoya, Adedayo Odulaja and PAT STEVENS report
How a seemingly “ordinary” death generated firestorm of public attention
The controversy surrounding the death of Tagbo Umeike, continues to generate reactions from various sectors in the Nigerian entertainment scene more than one week after the young man was declared dead.
Mainly known as Tagbo, not much was known of him until, unfortunately, he died last week as the saga began with Nollywood actress and producer, Caroline Danjuma, called out Davido on Instagram.
“The wicked shall never go unpunished. Father I prayed for 8 hours yesterday and called your name. No one is greater than you. No one is above you lord, Father, fight this battle jealously,” she wrote in a lengthy post once learning of the young man’s death.
Later revealing in an interview that she and Tagbo were dating, the actress said she had warned late Tagbo to stay away from friends like Davido. In another post along with the late Tagbo’s picture, she wrote: “You gave your all. When they needed your assistance you were always there for them. Tag, you don’t deserve this.
This world is cruel. I warned you but you were always acting Mr Nice. Now they labelled you an alcohol addict which is a big lie. I won’t keep shut. A glass of Henessy and cranberry gets you tipsy.”
It didn’t take long before the police got involved, with Davido reportedly meeting police officials including the Acting Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, pleading his innocence in the matter in a meeting also attended by Caroline Danjuma, Tagbo’s family members among others.
But when CCTV footage emerged showing Tagbo drinking with Davido, the police authorities decided they couldn’t rely on Davido’s submission that he didn’t spend time with the deceased on October 3 leading to the next day, a day turned out to be his last birthday o n this side of existence.
While addressing journalists at the Lagos State Police Command headquarters on Wednesday, Imohimi said the autopsy report showed Tagbo died of asphyxiation, another word for suffocation after allegedly taking 40 shots of Tequila according to those at the bar.
It all got more mysterious when the deaths of two other associates of the music star, DJ Olu (Olugbenga Abiodun) and Chime Amaechi, became public knowledge earlier this week. The two young men, aged 25 and 24 respectively, were found dead in a BMW car in a garage on Block B, Banana Island, Lagos last Saturday.
Reports that substances suspected to be drugs were founded at the scene have been countered by both families who stated their willingness to make autopsy reports being carried out on both corpses public as soon as they are ready.
However, it must be stated that Davido, while acknowledging and mourning Tagbo and DJ Olu, who he eulogised in a social media post, has not for once said or written anything about Chime Amaechi.
Davido broke down in tears as police quizzed him for six hours
As investigations continued days ago, findings by Saturday Telegraph revealed that Davido was in police custody during interrogation for upwards of six hours. A police source at the state command Ikeja revealed that he was not allowed to go home until about 3:30am the next day. “We learnt that Davido cooperated with the police at the Lion Building police station. He was confrontational though but he answered all the questions.
At a point he broke down in tears and said he was going through this ordeal and his name being dragged in Tagbo’s death because he has a large heart that is willing to help people especially up and coming artistes.
Davido also quesioned the police why they invited only him as other celebrities like Dammy Kranne were also at Sushi lounge that fateful day. He stated that his first statement was not comprehensive but he did not lie.He said he made efforts to get Tagbo to go with him but Tagbo refused and he left him alone.
Davido was allowed to go home and he left the station at 3:30am the next day Thursday but his driver and two other persons who took the deceased to the hospital said Tagbo died on his way to the hospital after Davido had left them,” he said.
Tagbo’s family statement insinuates foul play
About a week after his untimely death, the family of Tagbo has released a statement signed by a woman identified simply as Mrs Araka on behalf of the family, saying recent developments have shown that there is more to the death of Tagbo Umeike than the public knows.
“We, the family of Tagbo Ifeatuchukwu Umeike, received the shocking news of the passing of our brother on October 3 at about 8:55p.m., several hours after his demise. Since his passing, there have been several stories making the rounds, especially on social media, regarding Tagbo’s personality and the circumstances concerning his death.
For a family that is trying to come to terms with the passing of their loved one, some disparaging and unfounded comments and statements about his personality and life, especially from individuals who did not even know Tagbo, have been received with a lot of sadness.
“Tagbo looked out for everyone and had a big heart; he was a friend to all and loved by many. Evidence received so far suggests that there is more to his death and we, as a family, will ensure that the truth regarding the circumstances of his passing will be brought to light,” the statement began. Further, the family states: “At this point, we will like to thank the Lagos State Police Force, led by Acting Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, for their diligence and professionalism in carrying out their investigation.
We are pleased to say that we now have a clearer picture of the events leading up to Tagbo’s untimely demise. As it is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to disclose any further information, but suffice to say the truth will come out! We would like to kindly ask that the print media and blogs covering this story refrain from printing hearsay and fabrications and stick to the facts, while respecting that the family is grieving.”
Davido releases videos, statement proclaiming innocence hours after attending DJ Olu’s burial
Davido, who was on Wednesday summoned by police authorities over the matter, continues to plead his innocence while mourning two members of his inner circle. The singer, who attended the funeral mass and burial of DJ Olu on Banana Island, Ikoyi on Thursday, also threatened to release the CCTV footage of all that transpired to clear his name. “Lies everywhere due to respect for Tagbo and his family, I haven’t spoken about this issue since.
Soon a statement and footage will be released, enough is enough. God bless you guys. Everyone be safe. My heart is pure and the world knows, please God keep my heart the same,” he wrote.
Hours after the interment of the late disc jockey at The Vaults in Ikoyi where friends and family gathered to pay their last respects, Davido fulfilled the promise. According to the statement released late Thursday through his lawyers, he said he was never arrested contrary to reports going round but only made himself available to assist the police in the ongoing investigation and was told he could leave after he satisfactorily explained himself. Signed by Norrison Quakers, SAN, the press statement said Davido did not instruct anyone to dump the corpse of Mr Tagbo Umeike anywhere.
“Our client maintains that he has not in any way lied about what he knows about the unfortunate incident, neither has his statement to the police been incoherent as unfortunately been presented in the media.
Others involved have consistently maintained their respective statements to the police that our client did not instruct them to take the remains of the deceased to the hospital, nor did the deceased enter our client’s vehicle at any point that evening nor does he have a hand in the death or transport of the remains of the deceased,” the statement submits.
Is Davido at risk of being charged with manslaughter?
Speaking to Saturday Telegraph, Emeka Ngige, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the “If” singer is innocent until proven guilty. “Well, he remains a suspect, and that the police have invited him for further interrogation is in order. But essentially, he remains presumed innocent until he is charged to court and convicted.
So, notwithstanding the contradiction between what he said and what the police have now found out, still he should be granted the presumption of innocence until proving otherwise in a competent court. Let the police do a thorough work.
I am happy that the police used the CCTV evidence to make some headway in the matter but that is not conclusive until full autopsy is also conducted that could determine the level of alcohol in his body before they will now send the file to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), who will determine whether there is a case to answer or not.
It is still a long way; it will be premature to jump into any conclusion just yet. “However, there are no legal implications for the purported lies that he is said to have told the police because he was not under oath.
It was just a mere statement to the police. He can even retract that statement; the law permits him to retract. He can tell the police that what he said before in light of what the police are now saying, I retract my earlier statement.
He could claim to have said that out of fear or confused if it is now what actually happened. That is why it is still an ongoing process and that is also why if you go to the police you are meant to make statements more than three times.
They will give paper to write as many times to see if there would be contradictions on what you said earlier and what you are saying now. And when there is a contradiction that is what they would use to present their case in court that you are not a witness of truth. But it does not mean that you will go to jail immediately, the prosecutions still have to prove their case.
All he needs is to get a good lawyer.” Another senior lawyer, Yusuf Ali, SAN, said he is willing to let the police to carry out their investigation instead of commenting on the matter yet to go to trial.
“Well, personally I don’t like media trial. I think the media should allow the police to do their work. If the matter is being investigated we should allow them to do their work. If anyone jumps into premature conclusion where then is his right for fair hearing? It is irresponsible to make comment on a matter that is still under investigation. That is my honest opinion on that.”
Being the ones who should know, doctors also weigh in
With a person’s state of mind in a different zone once tequila is involved, Saturday Telegraph also sought the views of medical experts. According to Dr. Mashudat Bello- Mojeed, a Consultant Psychiatrist at Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Lagos, “Unfortunately, abuse of drugs and alcohol by youths is on the increase at the moment, and that is a rather sad commentary.
You know the sensation that they have after indulging on that is usually shortlived. After a while the side effect could stop, which give them a false sense of returning back to normal.
We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that abuse of substances of any kind could damage the brain, lungs, kidney, heart and even liver. It could also have severe consequences that could lead to installment or instant death depending on the level of abuse at the particular time. Like I said earlier, initially, they will have happy feelings but those happy feelings that they usually derive would be quickly followed by dire effect which could be mired at the onset.”
On his own, Dr. Ogunnubi Peter, a Consultant Psychiatrist and Chief Executive Officer of Grace Cottage Clinic, said: “It is very traumatising, painful and could also lead people to what is called post traumatic treats in future. Any human being that loses a loved one usually goes through bereavement and grief.
They go through some of these stages; the initial denial, which is, denying the problem. They get angry with whatever that might have caused the situation that led to such deaths; angry with family members, with government and with anybody or thing that has anything to do with such deaths.
Then, after the anger stage, there is what we call the bargaining. The person now would want to bargain with God to possibly reverse the loss of the loved one. At this point the individual would want to serve God forever in whatever capacity.
Those are the psychological thoughts that would be going on in the minds of such individuals. And if that stage is overcome and there is no reversal of the loss then the individual would be manifesting his anger and symptom of depression such as sadness, weeping, inability to sleep, and if all these are not properly attended to, this is when they get to see the doctor in the hospital.
And if they should overcome the depression then over a period of time they get to accept the loss just like every other person that has been through such situations. These are the psychological reactions that people who lose their loved ones go through.”
Fans divided over Davido’s alleged involvement
Commenting on the matter online, a Nigerian with the username, Racheal, wrote: “If you know what really happened, why not say it n save yourself this drama.” Funmi Olasoji, less sparing while responding to the statement and videos by Davido, wrote: “In other words, very soon, you guys would cover up the case with your billions and you would be a free man.
Yes, we understand” while Chidimma Igwe said: “Davido is going the wrong way. Before you go to the station, he has to prepare himself very well. Avoid ‘I say he say(s).’ May God help you dear if your hands are clean.”
For fans of the self-styled Omo Baba Olowo, it has been a distressing week but not everyone has abandoned their superstar idol. One of them, Sam Adepoju, said: “Davido is an innocent man, he knows nothing to his friend death. What does he want to gain killing the man?” Apparently overwhelmed with it all, Omoni Henry wrote: “Davido, I advise you stay distant from all the scandal. It’s career-wre
cking.” With this scandal and accompanying negative attention not something Davido has dealt with before, he needs all the love he can get from those around him. Taking the route of offering him hope, Sophia Momodu took to Snapchat yesterday to comfort her baby daddy.
Love from within
While sharing a photo of him, she wrote: “Baba Imade, God got you. Smile my G!” The elder brother of the feuding Psquare brothers, Jude Okoye, also seems to be on the side of Davido.
“All they can do is try but they can’t stop you. Always stay strong with God. Their “operation bring him down by all means” will backfire soonest! His crime now is giving instruction to get a grown intoxicated man medical help,” Jude wrote on Friday as well.
According to an online porter, Sahara Reporters, the popular singer allegedly issued a dud cheque to an auto dealer for the purpose of paying the sum of N7.4million as a balance for a Mercedes- Benz GLE 450 he purchased. Documents exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters showed that the auto dealer, Mr. Anekwu Chika Valentine of Prestige Autonet Limited, contracted a Lagos-law firm to assist him to recover the debt.
A letter of instruction addressed to the law firm of W.K Shittu and Co., stated that the law firm would take 10 per cent of the sum owed by Davido if it is recovered. On February 10, Davido issued two Zenith Bank (account number 100424****) cheques of N10million and N1.4million respectively.
However, the latter, which apparently was to pay a part of the N7.4million was not honored by Zenith Bank, where the auto dealer is also a customer. He was also enmeshed in a paternity crisis to the extent that he was barred from taking his seven-monthold daughter out of the country without her mother, Sophie Momodu, who is related to the Ovation boss, Dele Momodu.
Momodu took to his social media to speak of what he called the failure of money and the prevalence of law and order in the Nigerian immigration system. Momodu posted pictures of what he tagged a frustrated Davido, who attempted taking Imade, his seven-yearold, out of the country. Davido apologised for the row he had with the Momodus in the heat of the moment, but added that Dele Momodu could have handled the situation differently.
He outlined his story on the entire saga, accusing Sophie Momodu, who is older than him, of exploiting his naivety at the time of their affair. In 2012, the once buoyant relationship between Ayo ‘Wizkid‘ Balogun and Davido ran into stormy waters.
Though the music stars had maintained relative peace in the past, they resumed hostilities on Twitter. The young pop stars were at loggerheads over what insiders say is a claim to superiority between ‘Wizzy’ and ‘Omo baba olowo.’ Both camps traded insults and the tension between both artistes kept threatening any air of peace left.
Davido: Rise of a megastar
Born in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States to a late mother and billionaire father, Davido was always in and out of Nigeria as a child. Upon relocating to Nigeria in 2011, Davido started focusing on his music career and released a number of singles.
The song, “Dami Duro” caught the attention of the industry after he had made inroads through rolling with a number of industry heavy weights before the time. His debut album, Omo Baba Olowo was released in 2012, containing singles like “Back When” featuring Naeto C, “Dami Duro”, “All of You”, “Overseas” featuring Sina Rambo, “Ekuro”, “Gbon Gbon” and others.
In January 2016, Davido announced via Twitter that he has signed a record deal with Sony Music, a subsidiary of RCA Records with the record label based in America subsequently putting out a press release to confirm the deal. As an artiste, he has worked with the likes of Olamide, Tiwa Savage, Ice Prince and Patoranking among others as well as international acts including Mafikizolo, Meek Mill, Young Thug, Jay Sean and R Kelly, who jumped on his banging 2017 hit, “If”.
Along with his own record label, Davido Music Worldwide (DMW), to which acts like Dremo and Mayorkun are currently signed, Davido is widely regarded as one of the biggest acts in Africa doing great things beyond the continent.