On November 4, a delegation of Nigerian skit makers led by a former lawmaker, Bimbo Daramola, under the aegis of the Nigeria Skits Industry Awards (NISA), paid Vice President Yemi Osinbajo a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Notable Nigerian skit makers like Maryam Apaokagi, popularly known as Taaooma; Josh Alfred (Josh2funny); Ayo Ajewole (Woli Agba); Adebamiro Adeyanju (Mr Hyenana), Adeoye Adeyemi Elesho (Yemi Elesho), among others made the trip.
As expected, their visit sparked several conversations on social media and drew widespread criticism. Nigerians expressed disappointment about the infamous visit, saying it was clearly politically-motivated.
After several callouts on social media, Taaooma, Josh2funny, and Woli Agba put out personal statements explaining why they made the trip and absolving themselves of any wrongdoing.
Debo Adebayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, who refused to tag along with his colleagues, would later explain why he declined the invitation to meet with the Vice President.
Former lawmaker and convener of the Nigeria Skits Industry Awards (NISA), Bimbo Daramola
Mr Macaroni said he is not comfortable with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. He also said as one of the frontliners of the #EndSARS movement, he doesn’t want to associate himself with Nigerian politicians.
The convener of the awards, Mr Daramola, told PREMIUM TIMES the visit was not politically-motivated.
Mr Daramola also said the initiative, which was endorsed by Nigeria’s King of Comedy, Ali Baba, and several skit makers, seeks to recognise and organise a formidable skit industry as the award would also launch the first-ever Nigeria Skit Festival.
He also revealed that a spin-off of the latter is a streaming platform for Nigeria skits, tagged Skitflix.
Speaking further, the ex-lawmaker, who represented Ekiti North Federal Constituency from 2011-2015, said his team is set to redefine and celebrate skit making, a new genre in the entertainment industry as well as the awards billed to hold on November 28 in Lagos state.
Setting the records straight
Reacting to the controversies that trailed the visit to the villa, Mr Daramola said the purpose of the visit was to upgrade and elevate the profile of that industry and the personality thereof.
He said NISA had visited prominent people like the Ooni of Ife and the Lagos State governor, who had given their endorsements.
He said the visit was perceived to be very controversial by many Nigerians because it would be the first time that Nigerian skit makers would be taken to the Villa.
“Medical doctors and practitioners go to the villa every day, engineers go to the villa every day, politicians go to the villa every day, nobody talks about it, if we are going to build a country where our relevance, our essence will be recognized and value by people, would be as a result of an all-inclusive effort, the totality of everybody, I do not think that a banker should be valued more than a skit maker, I do not think that a politician regardless who you are to be seen as more serious-minded than Mr. Macaroni, than a Tawoo, or than a Wole Agba, nooo, these are people who are doing their best towards redefining who we are as a people,” he said.
He also said the Vice President did not invite the skit makers to the Villa, as widely purported.
Mr Daramola saluted the courage of the skit makers who were present for their industry at the villa, as they were able speak up for the concerns of Nigerians on topical issues like #EndSars and the Twitter ban. He also added that there was no compromise at the Villa.