With less than 50 hours to the review of the easing of the first phase of the lockdown and curfew in Lagos Ogun Kano and the Federal Capital, which was begun by the Federal Government, many people who have borne the brunt of the crippling effect of the two measures are earnestly hoping that President Muhammadu Buhari would announce further relaxation of the lockdown , which was first imposed on March 31, 2020 and remained in force for five weeks until May 4, 2020, when the first phase of the relaxation took effect. But owing to the failure of the people to fully adhere to rules laid out by the government, the first phase was extended for another two weeks, which witnessed enhanced enforcement of the curfew and some other aspects of the eased lockdown.
People in the entertainment industry such as musicians, comedians, comperes and event managers were hard hit by the lockdown measures as no events, whether A-List or Z-List, have been held, all in observance of the rule on social distancing, which is a vital in curbing the spread of the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 Pandemic that has ravaged the global economy and caused the deaths of over 360,000 patients and more about 5.8 million confirmed cases worldwide as at May 28, 2020. In Nigeria by the same date more than 8,915 confirmed cases were recorded while over 259 people had died from the disease, but more than 2,592 patients recovered and were discharged. Sunday Sun spoke some notable entertainment industry personalities, who revealed how they have been coping with the lockdown.
Mandy Uzonitsha, first female comedienne
Who dey call you for event now except they get burial ceremony. But who dey even bury now? Someone paid me for a job before the lockdown and has not asked for a refund. I’m sure the function will take place after lockdown. But the money has been helpful. Most of the celebrities in entertainment world are giving back to the society now. Most of my colleagues are doing different stuffs, cooking for people in their area. Princess has been cooking and serving people food in her area, Iwaya. Yinka Davies too is giving out foodstuff like noodles, canned tomato puree, rice, beans. Even my local government chairman, Eti Osa LGA sent beans and rice from the Lagos State to people and my church too sent. Gloria Ibru and her sister have been sharing things to people. Some celebrities posted what they did on their Instagram account, but I simply did mine solo without publicity.
Bisola Aiyeola, actress and singer and first runner up at Big Brother Naija in 2017
It is not something that is just affecting celebrities only; it affected every sector and individuals. Whatever resources people have saved or are keeping are basically to just stay alive. Businesses that had their calendar of activities for 2020 had to go back to re-strategize because we still don’t know how or when this whole pandemic thing will become normal, maybe when the vaccine is found. Everyone just has to be patient, its survival first. It is who will be alive that will go for shows and event. A lot of people have taken to social media as means to communicate with their fans and probably start up different types of shows on social media. Maybe income can trickle in and certain brands that had already been online can advertise with these individuals. We are all still trying to figure this out, and still trying to survive.
Bose Ogunboye, aka Lepacious Bose, comedienne
There is no work anywhere, everybody is going through the pandemic. All businesses are shut down, people are broke, companies are closing and people are being sacked. It is nothing unusual being an entertainer, it is just that our own work comes weekly and we need the crowd. The only difference is we are more in uncertainty because we don’t know when people will start gathering again.
I guess people wrongly believe that the life of entertainers is luxurious and glamorousand so, they just assume that we are fine. Really we are all struggling; everybody is struggling. I like my own company, if I’m not working, I don’t go out , I generally don’t like going out, my home is my space. I think I am one of the few people that love the lockdown. If it is possible to stay like that and be making money, I will be fine. Apart from the fact that we can’t work and we can’t make money, the only thing is that I didn’t change my routine. I still sleep at my regular time, I still wake up at530.am, I still do my work out and exercises between 7.am and 9.30 am, I still study and have some of my classes by zoom. I travelled out of the country and came back barely a week before the lockdown. I came from Britain where the pandemic was already in place. People were already buying things in shops and the shops had become empty; they were selling things out and you could see that people were already stocking up groceries, etc. As soon as I arrived in Nigeria, I just stocked. I didn’t wait for government. All through the lockdown I had no reason to go out to quickly get anything. I also stocked up for my parents gave them strict instructions not to go out. It is much more than how comedians are surviving. I think that it is a very selfish way of looking at it, because people are not gathering and we are not making money. It goes beyond that. As at the time of the lockdown, the average ‘Mama Put’ woman could not go to the market to cook and people could not go and buy food from her.
The lockdown taught me a big lesson. It opened my eyes to the fact that there are two things that will never ever finish in this world. That is food and drugs. Truly, if I make money I would invest in food rather than even in comedy. No matter how poor the person is, no matter how angry or locked down the person is, everybody needs food. I think all the people that deal with food and agricultural products are the only one in this pandemic that will survive, soar and excel.
Yeni Kuti, dancer, singer and initiator of Felabration, music festival in honour of Fela, her father.
This isn’t a matter about celebrities only. People in the entertainment industry, hospitality, airlines have all been adversely affected. The New Africa Shrine has been in lockdown for over three months. We went into lockdown before government shut everyone down. We have not found a way to cope, so suggestions from you will be highly appreciated.
Oluwaforijimi Jimmy, aka DJ Jimmy Jatt, ace Nigeria disc jockey and pioneer of DJ art in Nigeria
(Christy is still expecting a response to the Whatsapp message she sent to DJ Jimmy Jatt. If that does not come, he will be replaced with another person later today. Jatt is top drawer celebrity)