Fans of rising music start, Tems and Omah Lay, can finally breathe easy as the duo along with one other – Tem’s manager Muyiwa Awomiyi, have been released from captivity by Uganda police. All charges against them have been dropped.
The singers were arrested at a show organised by Ugandan show organisers for ‘negligent act that could lead to the spread of an infectious disease,’ and reprimanded until a trial set for tomorrow. A spirited social media campaign for their release followed as popular Nigerians and Ugandans utilised their platforms to call out the Ugandan government for what they pointed out is a double standard as even the number one citizen of Uganda, President Museveni, continues to flout COVID-19 safety rules with political campaigns all over the country.
Opposition leader, Bobi Wine, who was among the leading Ugandan voices calling for the immediate release of Tems and Omah Lay, tweeted about the release of the singers in a tweet where he also noted that his lawyers joined the defence of the Nigerian citizens.
Nigeria’s Chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, might also be instrumental to their release as she is one of the first public officials to tweet about the releases and imminent departure from Uganda.
The ordeal of Omah Lay, Tems and her manager, may be over, but the ripple effect of the fracas may linger for a while.
Uganda is hosting next year’s MTV AMA, even as the country legs set to go to the polls in an election that could see Museveni leave office.
The MTV AMA nominations are heavily dominated by Nigerian acts, and Nigeria is notorious for unleashing the power of its numbers when it comes to issues of voting for awards and polled shows. Big Brother Africa is a memorable example.
Ugandan acts have been caught in a whirlwind of online harassment by angry Nigerians. Ugandan musician, Bebe Cool, has been targeted for allegedly being responsible for the police arrest of Tems and Omah Lay. This episode is likely to influence the voting patterns of Nigerians even more than it ordinarily would have.
On the other hand, if embattled opposition leader, Bobi Wine, emerges victorious, the relationship between Uganda and Nigeria is likely to improve overall for his role in the whole Tems and Omah Lay affair.
Ultimately, the good thing remains that Nigeria’s beloved rising stars are coming home. We can all breathe easy now.