#EndSARS Protest: The Place of Celebrities In Nation Building

By Olubunmi Akamo   

Like them or hate them, celebrities are what Carlin Flora, a freelance writer, aptly described “have assumed a god-like status in society, they are object of fascination and wonder. They are idolised and looked up to by society”. The reason for their huge importance in the society can be traced to their gargantuan admirers. When the recrudescence #ENDSARS campaign earlier surfaced on twitter, on October 3rd, 2020, prior to the death of a young man in Ughelli, Delta State by members of the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS), onlookers might have thought it would be another trend that would probably end on the wings of Jack Dorsey’s twitter bird. To their astonishments, it took another dimension abinitio, when the popular Nigerian singer, Ayodeji Balogun (Wizkid) on his twitter page condemned the country's president of ignoring Nigerian youths in the bloody hands of SARS officials to wishing Donald Trump quick recovery from COVID-19. Also, the swift move of Azeez Fashola popularly known as Naira Marley to stage a civil protest before backing out, pursuant to his social media dialogue with DCP Frank Mba, the Police Force public relations officer, greatly ignited the fire in which the likes of David Adeleke(Davido), Folarin Falana(Falz), Douglas Agu(Runtown), Debo Adebayo( Mr. Macaroni), Genevieve Nnaji and many other celebrities cum activists rode on towards the urgent need for civil protest by the youths in display of their grievances against the inhumane conducts of SARS officials, which admittedly turned out a victory.

Unlike the Ugandan music star and activist, Robert Ssentamu(Bobi Wine) that is in concur to the yearnings of his fans against the age-long governance of Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, Innocent Idibia(2baba) gave in to the pressure around him, in the year 2017 when he cancelled the proposed protest against the economic crisis in Nigeria, which saw the astronomical increase in prices of goods and services. Before the cancellation of the proposed protest, findings revealed that top government officials had to strongly weigh in to persuade the award winning singer to desist from the move, having known his influence among the youths and the country at large.

The masses voices might be enormous enough to demolish the Jericho’s wall blockage obstructing their dreams of utopian country, the celebrities are most times proved to be the masterstrokes for its bringing down to dust. This can be seen, when the human rights activist and the year 2019 presidential candidate of African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, invited the Grammy-nominated music star, Damini Ogulu(Burna Boy) to join his October 1st, 2020, anti-government nationwide protest, having known the mammoth people he influences. Such was also the influence of the African football legend, Didier Drogba, when his peace speech in the year 2005, after a football match, contributed immensely to the end of a five year civil war in Cote d’Ivoire, his country of birth.

However, the duties of celebrities towards nation building should not only be seen during protests and almsgiving .They can as well constructively criticise and advise political leaders through what they are famous with. As an example, the late King of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s name will ever be on the good side of the country’s history, following his indepth lyrics and rhythms that conjoined to make his philosophical hit songs, in affinity to people’s demand from government, despite the coercive might of the military. To this effect, Nigerian celebrities are advised to see themselves as agents of light whose illumination can help in exposing the darkness movements of the unrepentant

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