Pop singer, Mr Eazi, who recently launched a $100,000 dollar intervention fund for emerging African artistes, has explained the reason behind the initiative.
The singer, real name Oluwatosin Ajibade, says the initiative is aimed at encouraging young creatives to participate in the 2019 elections by voting better leaders.
According to him, one of the criteria for receiving the funds which he says will be under his soon-to-be launched Eazi Sound Foundation, is that prospective beneficiaries must be registered and eligible voters in their country.
Explaining how he came about the initiative, Eazi in an interview with Channels Television, said he had always offered help to emerging artistes in the past and only decided to make it public following advice from friends.
“Since 2016 when I basically started doing music, I’ve been helping emerging artistes, sometimes with advice and in some cases, I help to shoot videos or put money into their projects, ranging from 1000 to 2000 dollars.
“I was having a chat with some people and they were like, why don’t you say anything about it, and I said it’s just something I do and they were like why don’t you open it to a lot of people, instead of you just randomly picking from twitter,” he said.
Speaking further, he said he observed that many young Nigerians are always in the habit of complaining about the state of the nation while many have failed to actively participate in politics.
Subsequently, “I decided to attach it to this whole thing where a lot of young educated African youth just say its illiterates that are picking bad leaders. But when I and my friends talk, we find out that most of us did not register to vote – we’ve never voted in our lives, so we really have nothing to say about the quality of leadership because we’ve not added our quota.”
He noted, “I believe that 50 per cent of the people who listen to my music are artistes in themselves. Data shows that I have at least 3.4 million fans in Africa so if 50 per cent of them are artistes, we’re talking about one million fans, so if I could get one million people registered to vote, that will be amazing for the quality of leadership because creatives are also passionate about the government like myself.
“Apart from wanting change and a good Nigeria, for Nigeria as a whole, even for myself, I need a better Nigeria because when I travel, I get stopped even though I travel so much.
“I’ve gone through three passports in three years, yet at every border, they’re always singling me out just because of my green passport.
“Sometimes I travel with my band and they have passports from Hiati, United Kingdom and they go through and I have to wait. It’s funny and at the same time, very embarrassing so I even need Nigeria to change for my business (if I want to be selfish) and I feel like the best way to do it, is through my platform,” he said.
Mr. Eazi made history as the first Nigerian and indeed African musician to be named Apple Music’s ‘Up Next Artist’ in July 2017.
The initiative is aimed at showcasing emerging artistes to the world.
He was previously signed on to Wizkids’s Star Boy record label.