Nigerian entertainer, Charly Boy, has publicly stated that he received at least N100 million from the Buhari campaign as payment for a politically-charged music video he recorded, driving yet another wedge between himself and other members of ‘OurMumuDonDo’ who have recently excoriated him as a betrayal.
The 67-year-old said Festus Keyamo, a spokesperson for the Buhari campaign, met him privately weeks before the presidential elections, and both discussed license over a music video which Charly Boy had recorded to castigate Atiku Abubakar as an unscrupulous politician who should not be be trusted with power.
The entertainer, whose real name is Charles Oputa, also rehashed Mr Abubakar’s alleged crimes in the United States in the video uploaded on YouTube January 25.
The politician has long maintained he was not wanted in the U.S., and his supporters touted his first visit to America in 12 years in January as the strongest repudiation to the allegations.
Charly Boy said Mr Keyamo, a senior lawyer, actually visited him to discuss the arrest of Deji Adeyanju, a senior member of ‘OurMumuDonDo’ who was spending weeks in a Kano prison for alleged murder, only to then hear a “new song that I was working on…where I was dissing Atiku,” Charly Boy said.
“I do not care. But if you want to use my work, you pay for it,” Charly Boy recalled telling Mr Keyamo. “Of course, he paid for it. And they paid heavy.”
The statement was extracted from a video of Charly Boy’s interview with online-based Roots TV that was widely shared on social media on Friday.
Charly Boy’s comments struck members of the community organising movement as insensitive and provocative, and they have moved swiftly to ease him out as chairman of the group.
The video surfaced barely a day after an audio leaked online in which Charly Boy was heard seemingly admitting to have received money from Mr Keyamo. The audio was recorded by Mr Adeyanju, but the activist said he did not leak it, even though he had shared with a few persons over the past week.
Mr Adeyanju renounced membership of ‘OurMumuDonDo’ on March 13, alleging gross misconduct, including a breach of trust, against Charly Boy.
Mr Adeyanju was particularly incensed by Charly Boy’s affair with the Buhari campaign because he believed the administration was behind his ongoing trial for a murder case that had been dispensed 10 years ago.
The police arrested Mr Adeyanju on December 13, locking him in Kano Central Prison on a controversial magisterial order. He was freed on bail on March 1, after the presidential election had been concluded. The activist strongly believed the police kept him in jail over fears his activism could cost President Muhammadu Buhari at the ballot box.
Initial response to both Mr Adeyanju’s public denunciation of a movement with which he had been prominently identified in recent years and the leaked audio was for the warring parties to immediately reconcile for the sake of their civic group.
As of the time the audio leaked online Wednesday night, the specific amount Charly Boy allegedly received from Mr Keyamo was left to speculation.
But with Charly Boy himself now admitting that the amount was in ‘nine figures’, sources within ‘OurMumuDonDo’ said they expected the controversy to worsen.
Already, Adebayo Raphael, a key official and facilitator of ‘OurMumuDonDo’, said in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES Friday night that Charly Boy has been asked to proceed on suspension pending investigation of the controversies.
The statement accused Charly Boy of not only impugning the “credibility of the OurMumuDonDo Movement but also the myriads of conscientious and genuine activists, rights groups and civil society groups in Nigeria.”
Charly Boy was asked to immediately recuse himself as chairman of the group due to his “amoral and illicit dealings”, failure of which “shall leave us with no other option but to ask members of the public to cease any further dealing and interface with you,” amongst other lawful steps to force compliance.
The group was founded to agitate for a better Nigeria in which citizens can boast of equal dignity. It has held several protests, some of which drew police crackdown.
The group was largely deemed coordinated and united, until an undisclosed but huge financial grant was released to the members by a foreign non-governmental organisation. The money was to bolster civic engagement by the group, but crisis broke out following allegations that Charly Boy was not accountable or transparent in the management of the fund.
Mr Adeyanju had reportedly complained about Charly Boy’s handling of the fund prior to his arrest and extended detention in Kano. This was later cited as the primary reason why Charly Boy did not openly agitate for Mr Adeyanju’s release, and reportedly missed all the protests held by members of the group and other activists to free Mr Adeyanju.
Charly Boy has maintained no wrongdoing in the controversy, and threatened to release details that would indict Mr Adeyanju. Mr Keyamo told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday he met with Charly Boy, but said everything that transpired between them was private and in furtherance of their relationship of over 25 years.