The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on Sunday accused rapper Eedris Abdulkareem of resorting to blackmail after failing to extort money to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The minister backed his claims with screenshots of text message exchanges between himself and the rapper which he shared in a series of posts on his verified social media handles.
2.) In 2018, when I was named the Director of Strategic Communications for Buhari Campaign Organisation Eedris waxed a song in support of Buhari & wanted to join us, albeit for a fee. He then made desperate efforts to see me through text messages from his phone no. 07019691772👇 pic.twitter.com/rpCh8uwVLB
— Festus Keyamo, SAN (@fkeyamo) April 24, 2021
The controversy began on Tuesday when the rapper dropped ‘Jaga Jaga’ reloaded, a remix of his 2004 hit of the same title. But, this time around, he featured Mr. Raw & Madarocker.
On the track, he condemned the issue of police brutality, condemned the current administration citing the worsening conditions in Nigeria and also lamented the infamous Lekki killings of October 10, 2020.
‘Jaga Jaga’ reloaded serves as a follow-up to his recent single titled, “Country Hard’.
The rapper also called out the minister in the track accusing him of corruption.
The line that irked the minister went, “Where Festus Keyamo sef? He don dey chop with cabal o”.
Mr Keyamo, however, described the song as a cheap attempt by the rapper to hit back at him. He said this was because he did not encourage the rapper’s attempt to extort money to support President Buhari.
“Eedris Abdulkareem just released a song, ‘jagajaga reloaded’, where he waxed the following lyrics, “I laughed out so loud and even danced to the rhythm too. But there’s a small story behind this poor attempt at blackmail,’’ Keyamo had begun.
Mr Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), traced the origin of their spat to 2018.
He said, “In 2018, when I was named the Director of Strategic Communications for Buhari Campaign Organisation; Eedris waxed a song in support of Buhari & wanted to join us, albeit for a fee. He then made desperate efforts to see me through text messages from his phone no”.
Mr Keyamo explained said that when he finally met the rapper he told him he had no budget for such.
“I explained that my job was voluntary. It was the same thing I told so many other so-called activists-by-day-and-hustlers-at-night who secretly approached me. He then switched to the fact that he wanted a loan to pay for his hotel bills to the tune of N1.3 m & to cater for his ‘sick mum’.
“That was already running into more than N3m. However, one govt functionary called me to say he told him another story that his child was sick.
‘‘He begged me to introduce him to Malami (AGF), Amaechi & the SGF and to paint a good ‘PR’ for him. He pledged that he was with us in the campaign with his whole ‘body and soul’. But at this point, I knew he was a desperate hustler who could embarrass me. So, I ghosted him,” the minister wrote.
Repeated phone calls to the singer’s private number for his reaction to the minister’s claims were not answered.
The ‘Jagajaga’ crooner has been outspoken about his stance on a number of national issues, especially former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s role in Mr Buhari’s accession to power in 2015.
Most recently, he said it is a shame having Mr Buhari as president.
In 2004, Eedris released his third album “Jaga Jaga”, a slang for shambles. The track bemoaned corruption and suffering in Nigeria. The track was banned from radio by Mr Obasanjo’s administration but continued to be played in nightclubs.