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Davido earned Sh148,000 a minute for his bad show

April 4th, 2015 4 min read

On Friday, March 27, Kenya Airways flight number KQ 533 departed from terminal 1 of Murtala Muhammed International airport in Lagos, Nigeria destined for Nairobi, Kenya.

Aboard the business section of the plane were four passengers of interest to this piece, among them one Mr David Adeleke better known by his nickname Davido.

The Nigerian hit maker would arrive at JKIA at 7:35 pm on the same day from where he headed straight for NTV’s #The Trend for a live interview with Larry Madowo, ahead of the heavily publicised concert scheduled to take place the next day.

But as these events were unfolding, a different narrative was trending online in connection with Davido’s visit to the country.

Back home in Nigeria, fans and haters alike were up in arms regarding his perceived unpatriotic decision to forego the just concluded presidential elections in favour of a gig in another country. More resounding, though, was the wave of sighs and the awe regarding his implicitly lavish lifestyle as pictures of Davido and his crew aboard their “private jet” flooded social media timelines and entertainment blogs across the world.

Posted under the caption “Kenya in a bit!!”, the image shows an unmarked Range Rover parked on the airport runway next to a classy jet, sparking a flood of comments from fans who marvelled at the display of opulence from the continental mega-star.


The subsequent posts further stoked the conversation as Davido and his crew were apparently captured kicking it inside the private jet en route for the Nairobi show.

“We paid for their full expenses, which comprised four business class and four economy class tickets for Davido and his crew, as well as accommodation for the time we had contractually agreed for them to be here”, explains Ranee Jamal, founder of Ranee Productions, the event promoters.

However, according to Jamal, the greatest problem was caused by a Dubai-based Nigerian intermediaries who brokered the deal between her company and Davido’s handlers for the concert.

“When I first approached them concerning the concert, we agreed that I would pay Davido $45,000 (Sh4.1 million) to do a show in Nairobi while they would top up the difference to stage a separate concert in Mombasa,” reveals Ranee.

“However, as the event drew closer, they informed me that they had been unable to raise the agreed amount, and that I should foot the full cost of his performance fee, had suddenly gone up to $60,000 (Sh5.5 million), payable in two installments.”

Ranee further explains that she did not get any confirmation of payment from the intermediaries after making the initial deposit of $35,000 (Sh3.2 million), at which point she started getting suspicious of the two, who “kept coming up with new reasons to get more money”.


“They would tell me that if I didn’t add money Davido wouldn’t come. I even had to pay for extra flights for people that weren’t in the original agreement because otherwise, according to them, Davido wouldn’t come,” narrates a visibly irritated Ranee as a pile of documents to support her case sits before her.

“I don’t even think Davido knew all these things.”

Meanwhile, upon arrival at JKIA, Davido and his posse headed straight for the now much-talked-about interview on The Trend where the 22-year-old star is deemed to have displayed extreme cockiness in an ego-fest that left the host deflated.

The gang would later throw a tantrum when one of the managers at the hotel where they were staying refused to make exceptions and allow their visitors to visit them in their rooms later that night.

Following the organisers’ intervention, the hotel incident was eventually resolved and a jet-lagged Davido, his crew, and visitors later proceeded to party the night away with a few lucky fans.

The following afternoon, Davido was a no-show at the concert test-run as his decksman, DJ Neptune, and label mate, Deekay, did the technical run-through on his behalf.


It was against this backdrop that the Aye singer turned up at the Carnivore Gardens last Saturday evening, where he proceeded to give what was arguably the most mediocre performance by a major international act on Kenyan soil.

Between his missing voice, cocky demeanour and the fact that he performed for less than an hour in what should have been a two-hour event, it’s easy to see why the mammoth crowd that turned up for the show felt cheated about getting a raw deal despite paying good money to attend the concert.

A VIP ticket was going for Sh8,000, golden circle tickets Sh4,000 and arena tickets Sh2,500.

As it turns out, Davido’s rushed performance was supposedly motivated by his eagerness to get to the pre-advertised after-party in Westlands, which, according to Ranee, was not part of the deal.

In fact, she only got to know about this after the hitmaker got his phone and other valuables nicked at the said club.

“We never agreed on an after party and any agreements of such a nature would have needed to go through me as the official concert promoter,” adds Ranee.

“The intermediaries were going around booking him for appearances and shows at various clubs purporting to be his hosts, which was in direct breach of our agreement.”

The day after the concert, Davido would later attend a meet-and-greet session at a different club in Westlands, which was allegedly negotiated for and arranged behind her back.


“The matter is currently with my lawyer, who is suing the clubs and individuals involved for breach of contract,” reveals Ranee. “The turnout for my event was jeopardised by the booker’s actions, and I will be pursuing every possible recourse, including withholding the balance — $25,000 (Sh2.3 million) — for their payment until due legal process is followed.”

As the dust settles on the anticlimactic incident, it remains to be seen how Davido and his management will move to rectify his tainted image locally and internationally amid a growing list of complaints about his behaviour, delivery and public relations skills, given his status as the leading artiste on the continent at the moment.

On the local front, though, this turn of events seems to have irreparably dented the already sour relations between Kenyan and Nigerian entertainment industry players and fans, going by the online reactions recorded.

Could this be the closing chapter of Naija’s tight grip on Kenyan music consumers?