184million Naira in 48 hours?
Is this what influence looks like? Is this how influence should be used?
It is no news that this week, Afrobeats singer raised a whopping 184 million naira from fans and friends after he kicked off a fundraiser on Wednesday when he tweeted: “If u know I’ve given you a hit song… send me money,” and gave details of a new Nigerian bank account.
Within 90 minutes of the posts – to his more than 31 million followers on Twitter and Instagram – the 28-year-old shared a screenshot of his account balance showing more than 42 million naira had already been deposited.
In a post with laughing emojis, he said his aim was to raise N100m to get his Rolls-Royce car cleared from a port. In less than two days, he’d hit and exceeded his target, with a total of 184 million naira raised, which Davido announced on social media also hinting at a possible show in Lagos.
Like most things in Nigeria, these events have also divided Naija Twitter and keyboard warriors on comment sections of gossip blogs into two sects: fans and ‘haters. Those in admiration of Davido and his music have shared posts commending the singer for his past philanthropy and defending the fact that he was asking only his friends for money, going as far as calling any critics out as ‘haters’ who are jealous of Davido’s success, riches and influence.
The ‘haters’ camp on the other hand has criticised the singer for seeking funds to get his Rolls-Royce cleared at customs and those who’ve sent money for financially supporting someone who’s already rich. Among those under fire was Reno Omokri who’s commented: ‘’Nothing wrong in giving money to people. But, don’t go into debt to show people how much you love them. Even worse is going into debt to try to belong to a clique that already knows who belongs and who doesn’t. Use your money to get wealthy, not to get attention!
When you feed the poor, God feels you. When you feed those that are richer than you, God deals with you. Your wisdom is profitable. To you. Your foolishness is also profitable. But to others. Not you. How can you give someone what you haven’t given your mother?
God does not reward nice people. He rewards wise people.”
Another who was attacked on social media by Davido’s fans was singer Cynthia Morgan who had, in all fairness, gone in hard to insult them. She was in turn accused of ‘hating’ Davido.
Insults about people’s intelligence aside, I can’t help but agree with Reno Omokri and Cynthia Morgan. I am no hater. I don’t know Davido personally and I have no reason to hate him. Yet, someone of his calibre and status asking for funds on his social media so he can clear his luxury car at the customs irks me. True, he may have shown great charity himself in the past. However, I thought people gave charitably so they could support others in need – or to get a tax break – not to pay it forward so that they can remind others of their past charity when asking for charitable donations.
Also, wouldn’t Davido have shown more influence if he had simply asked for donations to a charitable cause rather than paying the customs duty on his latest luxury purchase? If he can afford a Rolls-Royce, why can’t he just clear customs without resorting to fundraising on the internet?
Those who defend the singer are another matter. How many former celebrities you’ve seen and pitied blogs and social media who had fallen from grace, lived in destitute and didn’t have two kobos to rub together? When celebrities rally to raise funds for their wellbeing, how many of us really care? Charity, it seems for some is a lot more enticing when it’s a rich man asking to get richer and there’s an opportunity to ‘feel among’; many who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the destitution of the man next door who can’t find food to feed his family would gingerly donate towards the custom payments for a rich man.
Then there are those who defend Davido claiming the singer only asked his friends – last I check the initial tweet was shared by his 9.7 million followers – that’s one gigantic circle of friends if you ask me!
Finally, as the saying goes, charity begins at home. Those who are asking a friend for phone credit, or Uncle for pocket money for Christmas are racing to help a rich guy get more money so they can feel important. If your self-importance is based on responding to an artist’s call to make him richer, then you need to check yourself. Look in the mirror first, look at where you are, what you have, then look within your circle. Before it comes to Davido, who can you reach out to, support and build up? It is not charity when you give someone who’d not in need and he publishes your name in the most gratuitous donor list ever and then promises to put on a show.
As for Davido; it may be a sign of the immeasurable influence that he raised so much money in such a short amount of time, but I wonder if he realises it’s not the size of your influence that matters, it is what you do with it.