Who knew that the arrest of Funke Akindele-Bello for breaking social distancing guidelines would send a ripple through the Nigerian celebrity establishment like an earthquake? Akindele-Bello is a national treasure, a comedic sweetheart whom we have watched weather through the trenches of the film industry and become a star, so it’s only natural that people would feel inclined to show her support as she was arraigned and sentenced.
But our celebrities seem to think that this is a scheme for her downfall – Uti Nwachukwu’s Instagram post using the #FreeFunkeAkindele hashtag had a vindictive vibe, and AY Makun dared us in a tweet to hold our oppressive government accountable as we have done to Akindele-Bello.
YES! NOBODY IS ABOVE THE LAW. BUT I WISH THOSE OF YOU WHO CALLED OUT @funkeakindele CAN DO SAME WITH YOUR COUNTLESS OPPRESSORS IN GOVERNMENT… EVEN WHEN THE SKY IS FILLED WITH CLOUDS THE SUN STILL SHINES ABOVE. FUNKE WILL RISE AGAIN.#LESSONSLEARNT
— AY COMEDIAN (@AYCOMEDIAN) April 6, 2020
Is Makun not aware that we have been calling out the government since forever? The other half of awful celebrity opinions was no less appalling. In a viral video that hit social media yesterday, Burna Boy reacted gleefully to the fire outbreak at the Office of the Accountant-General and said Nigerians deserve their leaders, circling back to Akindele-Bello and perpetrating the narrative that her arrest was facilitated by people who wanted to spite her.
It goes downhill from there. Naira Marley takes the torch from Burna Boy and tweets about ”snitches” in respect to Akindele-Bello, while Toke Makinwa comes out of the woodwork to remind Nigerians that they are poor and their opinions don’t matter. Problem is, Nigerian celebrities want the same immunity the political class have against accountability and responsibility – their attempt to bring up erring politicians as a benchmark for acceptable behaviour went against mass consensus. In fact, we are quite stunned at how swiftly Akindele-Bello was punished.
As we navigate the Coronavirus crisis and deal with another week of lockdown order, it’s cute to see celebrities remind us that we are beneath them. We will get through this too.