Last weekend, ambassador of Dettol Nigeria and spokesperson of the National Centre for Disease Control, Funke Akindele hosted a birthday party for her husband’s 43rd birthday. Now, it was nowhere near as big as parties of this nature would normally be, after all Funke Akindele is one of the country’s most bankable actresses and a true media mogul, but Lagos state has been on lock down as the government tries to manage the spread of the novel Coronavirus. But then again, The party must to come on, and Funke Akindele and her family managed to rouse (according to them) neighbours from their Amen Estate to join them in their celebrations. As is expected for parties of this kind, JJC Skillz himself whipped out his mobile phone, went on social media and began to live stream through Instastories, highlights of the party, exposing a significant number of people at the party who should have been ‘self quaranting’ in their own homes including Naira Marley, who according to reports lives 2 kilometres away from Funke Akindele’s estate.
— Helen Ozor (@misshelenozor) April 5, 2020
Now this was an egregious error on Funke Akindele’s part, especially because just a week before she had been criticized for holding another gathering at her home with actress Eniola Badmus, who had just returned from the UK that was experiencing an upsurge of the virus and was required by NCDC directives to self isolate for 14 days. Akindele explained away Badmus’s presence in her house and was forgiven, but this party essentially rubbished any argument she could have had. Other guests have suggested that the intruder was Naira Marley, who came to the party with an entourage and stayed longer than was necessary, exposing others to infection. The internet tore into Akindele and her husband across several digital platforms, the vitirol spreading beyond her to even envelop the guests. Several of her guests have tendered their own apologies for their involvement and tried to save their own careers.
Since it happened, Akindele and her husband have tendered several apologies and Akindele has been arrested by the Nigerian police for violating state and federal directives for a lock down. Her guests have been asked to present themselves as the nearest police station and NCDC has pulled down their ad with her from their platform. Akindele is remorseful, but it might be too late. All because her husband just had to make an Instalive of their party.
Sure, what Akindele and her husband was ill-thought, but this is also a critique on how little Nigerian celebrities understand the power of social media as a tool for social justice and mob retaliation. Everything you post online is a statement, whether it is intended to be or not. Not everything needs to go online, especially in this ostentatious times where emotions are high, anxiety is making people more vicious than usual.
Perhaps its time for Nigerian celebrities to drop their phones and pick up their cheque books. So we don’t have a repeat of this kind of mob bashing.