Real reason Davido got N70 million, then failed to show up in Warri

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As the altercations between musician David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, and an event company owned by a former chairperson of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, continue, bellnews has uncovered the real reason the musician failed to show up for an event in Nigeria for which he was paid in advance.

Reports had emerged on Sunday that after receiving a N70 million appearance fee and agreeing to perform at an event in Warri, Delta State, Davido failed to show up. However, details were sketchy regarding why the musician behaved the way he did.

But bellnews can now report that the 30-year-old musician was absent from the Warri event because he fixed and promoted two separate shows in Nigeria (the Warri event) and Australia (Melbourne) for the same day, 6 October.

Davido promoted the two events in separate videos, telling his supporters to come out as he could not wait to have a “timeless time” with them.

“I am gonna be live at Lux Club on the 6 October in Melbourne, Australia,” Davido said in a video shared by his promoters on Instagram. “All the fans come out and all the beautiful people I want to see you guys. See you guys soon,” he said.

Soon after, he recorded another video telling his supporters to join him live in Warri. “I will be live in Warri on 6 October,” the artist said, adding that it’s going to be a shutdown at the Warri Again Independence Show. “I can’t wait to see all the fans,” he said. “We are going to have a timeless time.”

The Afrobeats sensation, whose music has been streamed more than two billion times, released his fourth studio album, Timeless, this year and has just concluded a promotional odyssey, travelling between Lagos, Johannesburg, New York and London performing and expanding his international fanbase.

Timeless has already attracted critical praise and digital plays. Within the first 10 days of its release, the album was streamed over 133 million times (with 43 million streams in the US market alone) and hit #2 on Billboard’s World Album chart.

In December last year, alongside musicians Trinidad Cardona and Aisha, Davido created the song Hayya Hayya, the official anthem for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and performed at the global sport spectacle’s closing ceremony.

David promos of Australia event
David promos of Australia event
Davido and the Warri Event
On Friday, the musician performed at Lux Club in Australia but failed to honour the concert in Warri, an event for which he was paid N70 million to perform.

An investigation by bellnews revealed that Davido’s company signed a performance agreement with BrownHill Event Inc, owned by Mr Pinnick, on 30 March 2023, committing the musician to performing in Warri on 6 October.

The contract was signed by the musician’s agent, Soso Soberekon, indicating the singer would perform for at least “55 or 60 minutes at the event.” Victor Wokocha endorsed the agreement for Brownhill, while a certain Cecil Bekederemo signed as a witness.

Days after signing the agreement, Davido was paid, with Mr Soberekon acknowledging receipt of the payment on 6 April 2023.

Multiple calls to Mr Soberekon were not answered or returned. Bellnews also sent WhatsApp and text messages to his numbers. They were yet to be replied to.

It remains unclear at what point the musician pulled out of an agreement he signed and a commitment he made after receiving payment. Whether he communicated his preference to head to Australia instead of honouring the Warri appointment to BrownHill also remains unclear.

Afrobeats, Davido’s main musical genre, is driving Africa’s music industry. In 2022, the region’s music revenue surged by $94 million, according to a recording industry organisation, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

As measured by revenues, Africa was the world’s fastest-growing music region in 2022 (34.7 per cent growth), far outpacing mature markets like the US (5 per cent), Europe (7.5 per cent) and Asia (15 per cent), Forbes reported.

Davido, who broke onto the scene in 2011, has not apologised for his failure to perform at the “Warri Again Independence Show.”

Mr Pinnick called him out on Friday night, saying he and the other organisers paid $94,000 to the singer in April and booked an $18,000 chartered flight for him to perform at the event in Warri.

Aside from making payments, the organisers said they went ahead to engage sponsors, make promotional adverts, tickets, and other crucial preparations prompted by the artist’s intention to perform at the Warri Again Independence Show.

On 29 September, a week before the concert, organisers sent a letter to officially remind Davido of the show.

“You are billed to perform at this show as the headline artist resulting from the execution of the Performance Agreement you signed on 30 March 2023, which led us to make payment for the sum of $94,500 that was paid in full as performance fee upon execution of the Performance Agreement,” the letter read.

Although the contract excluded flight arrangements, bellnews understands that the organisers booked an $18,000 chartered flight from EAS Airlines that would have conveyed the artist and his crew to and fro the event. The flight was scheduled to depart from Lagos Executive Jet Lounge at 2 p.m. on 6 October.

“We have met all our obligations under the said contract, and we expect to see you at the show come 6th of October 2023,” the letter addressed to Davido read.

Based on the performance contract, this medium understands that Davido is obligated to refund the organisers of the show within the next fourteen days.

“In the event of a cancellation or postponement due to the wilful negligence of or intention of the Artist, the Artist agrees to refund any deposit paid within 14 days of the event date passing and the Artist is required to pay for any damages accruing for his actions.”

The management team of the Warri Again Concerts said Davido’s failure to perform at the concert “despite having received full payment and logistics made available to guarantee his attendance is quite unfortunate.”

“Our legal team has been fully briefed and will advise on the next,” the group said in a statement signed by Mr Wokocha, the project director of Brownhill Events.

“Notwithstanding the unfortunate incident, the concert was a huge success and proved to be the best edition yet.

“We are fully committed to consolidating on the gains recorded in this last edition and are poised to ensure that several improvements are implemented in the 20th edition,” the statement said.

Organisers said the annual Warri Again Concert was birthed for the sole purpose of rebranding Warri through the discovery and nurturing of young talents.

“We shall, in keeping faith with this mandate, adopt the highest level of professionalism in our interactions with sponsors and artistes whilst providing premium entertainment to our guests and viewers alike.”

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