On Thursday, Nigerian singer David Adeleke, popularly known by his stage name Davido, jokingly asked his friends on Twitter to donate money for his 29th birthday celebration.
“If you know I’ve given you a hit song, send me money,” he joked, sharing his bank details. Within minutes, the account balance moved from zero to millions with donations from folks within and outside Nigeria. From Otedola to Don Jazzy to Obi Cubana, and largely people in the music industry and fans, donations tripped in. Within two days, the account has received more than N180 million, driving such uncommon donation frenzy, from a social media joke.
Another time Nigerians have witnessed such free giving to an individual was in July, when Obi Cubana, Nigeria’s celebrity barman, had his mother’s funeral. It was a show of cash. Bundles of money flew from his friends and well-wishers. And the story was as exciting as it was notorious.
The two cases do not only show the amount of influence social power can wield on people, they also preached the essence of the attitude that made them happen. Obi Cubana was said to have received the donations because of his goodwill, his generosity and willingness to help others. Davido too is said to be of the same breed, but he has taken a different path in using his donations, making a gesture that sets a good precedent for charitable causes in Nigeria.
“Might give all away,” Davido tweeted while on Friday while the donations were still coming. True to his words, he made the big donation announcement on Saturday.
“I wish to express my sincere gratitude to my friends, colleagues, fans, and the public for the generous expression of love in recent days,” he wrote in a statement. “In my usual playful manner, I requested a few days ago that my friends and colleagues send money in celebration of my birthday. The response and outcome exceeded my expectations, as I received about NGN 200,000,000.00 (Two hundred million naira) in less than two days. I truly appreciate everyone who donated hard-earned funds and I am very thankful for your generosity.”
“I have always been passionate about giving back and helping people. In view of this, I’m delighted to announce that all the funds received, totaling NGN 200,000,000.00, (Two hundred million naira) will be donated to orphanages across Nigeria as well as the Paroche foundation. In addition, I will be making a personal donation of NGN 50,000,000.00, (Fifty million naira) bringing the total amount to NGN 250,000,000.00 (Two hundred and fifty million naira),” he added.
While Nigerians have developed the custom of donating to celebrities, even when they are poor, most of the celebrities have not developed the culture of giving back. Last year, Big Brother Naija (BBN) reality TV show fans, using GoFundMe, donated over 30 million naira for their favorite contestant, Erica Nlewedim, who was evicted following her unruly conduct.
Other reality TV show contestants have also received unsolicited donations from fans, amounting to millions of naira. But this has been to the dismay of many Nigerians who believe that the donations should be channeled to charitable causes.
Davido’s gesture has been widely welcomed by many who believe that human needs should be prioritized when it comes to reasons for giving. Instead of funding the lifestyle of celebrities who will largely live flamboyantly with the donations.
Davido said “my goal is to do this fundraising every year to celebrate my birthday and give back to people in need. It is my hope that my friends, fans, colleagues in the industry, and the public will continue to support me as I drive this cause.”
Cases of ailing people, who can’t afford medical care flood Nigeria’s internet space every day, soliciting for help. It is hoped that Davido’s move will inspire others who have more or equal social status to use their influence in like manner, to generate funds for charitable causes in Nigeria.