Nigerian Stand-up comedian Basketmouth has come under intense criticism for organising a live concert in London on February 14 with critics saying that his timing of the event will distract from Nigeria's all-important presidential elections.
Nigeria goes to the polls on February 14 in what will be a tight presidential race between incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan and his challenger General Muhammadu Buhari.
With the opposition now unified under the umbrella party the All Progressives Congress, it is hopeful of dislodging the Peoples Democratic Party from power, which it has held since the return to democracy in 1999. However, with all eyes on the polls on February 14, Basketmouth, whose real name is Bright Okpocha, has organised a live concert in London on that day at the
Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith. His event will feature appearances by Patoranking, Wizkid, Olamide and comedians from South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria. In an open invitation posted on Instagram, the comedian indicated that there will be free entry to students who register for the show at a specified online address.
However, many of his fans have kicked against the timing of the concert, accusing the comedian of planning to distract Nigerians from the poll. One fan said he wondering if Basketmouth’s real intention was to avoid casting his vote on that day. He added: “It’s so sad to see people who are supposed to be role models do this. "Why must you have a show on the day the federal government has declared elections? It is Valentine’s Day but we need to respect the authorities and our country.” One other fan added that Basketmouth would not dare host a concert on election day if he were a citizen of the US. He advised the comedian to get wise and show some respect to his country. Fans defending Basketmouth said, however, that he had been planning his Valentine’s Day event since last year and at the time, no one knew the federal government would choose Valentine's Day as the election date. They added that should Basketmouth cancel the show, he will incur severe losses and have to forfeit all the money he has already spent organising it.