Festus Keyamo, minister of state for labour and employment, has called out Eedris Abdulkareem, Nigerian singer, over ‘Jaja Jaga Reloaded‘, his recently released song.

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The musician had on Tuesday released the project, which was the remake of ‘Jaga Jaga’, his 2002 hit track.

In the song, Abdulkareem reflected on last year’s #EndSARS protest, the numerous challenges confronting the country and how the leaders have failed to tackle them headlong.

He had also aimed a dig at Keyamo, alleging that the minister has ditched his characteristic vocal criticisms of societal ills because he has “joined cabal to chop money.”

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“Where Festus Keyamo sef? He don dey chop with cabal o,” he could be heard singing with a picture of the minister.

But in a Twitter thread on Saturday, Keyamo alleged that Abdulkareem was attempting to blackmail him because he rejected the singer’s request to join the Buhari-led administration’s campaign team.

Festus Keyamo

He said Abdulkareem had approached him in 2018 — shortly after he was made the director of strategic communications for the Buhari campaign organisation (BCO) — and offered to produce a song promoting the president, who was seeking a second term in office then.

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Keyamo said he, however, rejected the offer because the musician requested money to execute the project.

The minister added that the singer thereafter begged him for a loan of over three million naira to pay for his hotel bills in Abuja and also cater for his sick mother.

Keyamo also disclosed that the musician pleaded with him to introduce him to Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, to pursue his course of “getting into the system”

The minister alleged that his refusal to honour Abdulkareem’s request led the singer to endorse Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), for the 2019 general elections and to become a critic of Buhari’s government after the polls.

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“Eedris Abdulkareem just released a song, ‘Jaga Jaga reloaded’, where he waxed the following lyrics, “where Festus Keyamo sef? He don dey chop with cabal o”. I laughed out so loud and even danced to the rhythm too. But there’s a small story behind this poor attempt at blackmail,” he wrote.

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“In 2018, when I was named the Director of Strategic Communications for Buhari Campaign Organisation Eedris waxed a song in support of Buhari & wanted to join us, albeit for a fee. He then made desperate efforts to see me through text messages from his phone no.

“When I finally met with him, I listened to the songs, but told him I had no budget for such or any for that matter. I explained that my job was voluntary. It was the same thing I told so many other so-called activists-by-day-and-hustlers-at-night who secretly approached me.

“He then switched to the fact that he wanted a loan to pay for his hotel bills to the tune of N1.3 m & to cater for his ‘sick mum’. That was already running into more than N3m. However, one government functionary called me to say he told him another story that his child was sick.

“He begged me to introduce him to Malami (AGF), Amaechi & the SGF and to paint a good ‘PR’ for him. He pledged that he was with us in the campaign with his whole ‘body and soul’. But at this point, I knew he was a desperate hustler who could embarrass me, so I ghosted him.

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“Shortly after this episode when he could not penetrate the system to get the money he so desperately wanted, he then endorsed Atiku and called Buhari a ‘fraudster’. See one of the links here But we decided to ignore his weak voice of opposition.

“After our victory, he went berserk and joined every protests against the same Buhari whom he wanted to serve with his whole ‘body and soul’, but needed money to do so. He has been mentioning my name specifically at occasions as if I am the cause of all his troubles in life.

“Now, the latest is the ‘Jaga Jaga reloaded’ that he has waxed to vent his frustrations at not getting into the system. His reference to me as ‘chopping’ reminds me of the gaffe of then Minister Sunday Afolabi who infamously said Bola Ige was invited to Govt to ‘come and chop’!

“I wish to assure Eedris and any who think being in Govt is tantamount to ‘chopping’, that for some of us (I can’t speak for others) it is just an honour to serve our country and an attempt to move from armchair criticism to a real participant in order to make a difference.

“Finally, we can all sit back and enjoy the ‘Jaga Jaga reloaded’. One of the objectives of the song is to call me out since I ghosted him for attempted extortion – he has now succeeded. Another objective is to help promote the song by my reaction – that he has also achieved!”

The musician has not responded to the allegations as of the time of this report.



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