Free Audu Maikori by Adebayo Ajagunna

auduWithout a doubt, AUDU MAIKORI is a star of his generation. At 40 Audu has achieved more than many septuagenarian Nigerians will ever achieve in 10 lifetimes. I first met Audu when he was still a law student at the University of Jos. He and his crew were some of the smartest young guys I came across in my early days in Abuja. His right-hand man Paul is a brother to my then girlfriend and pal for life NK. Whenever they came from school and I sat to gist with them I was amazed at how forward thinking these guys were.

These weren’t your typical Nigerian youth that was going to invade the labour market with their CVs looking for non-existent bank jobs or oil company jobs. I always heard them talk about “Chocolate City” and I believe they were doing club and entertainment promotion in Jos and Abuja at that time even when they were still students.

It was no surprise that while attending law school Abuja and ultimately becoming a lawyer Audu, Paul and co set up “Chocolate City Music” as a full-fledged music production company. About then they got some funding from the British Council who helped them pay for an ultra modern studio and production equipment. If I remember clearly they won some kind of business proposal talent contest for young entrepreneurs sponsored by the British Council.

From then on the sky has been the limit for “”Chocolate City” Music company and they redefined the local music industry discovering and producing such artistes as ICE PRINCE, MI ABAGA, JESSE JAGZ and a host of others. Hit after hit, success after success Audu wasn’t resting on his oars. He ran the company like a professional, sought real capital for growth from investors ultimately bringing a boardroom titan like Mr Hakeem Bello-Osagie former Chairman of UBA Bank to serve as the Chairman of Chocolate City Music. Big artistes like Femi Anikulapo-Kuti one of Africa’s biggest acts and multiple Grammy nominee and various award winner and the King of Afrobeat music signed on to the Chocolate City label.

Now without a doubt. Audu is one of the finest voices of his generation. He is listed on the University of Jos website as the second most distinguished Alumnus ever of that institution. He is also one of the most known indigenes of SOUTHERN KADUNA, so it should be no surprise that Audu would play a role in trying to bring peace to Kaduna.

Audu made a grave error a few weeks back, he did something a lot of us do. He shared a FALSE STORY on twitter about herdsmen attacking and killing some students in Southern Kaduna. Now Audu is not your typical mischief-maker, he was told the gory story by his personal driver who swore he was an eye witness to it. So Audu shared it, his celebrity ensured the news went viral and further raised tensions in the already tense area.

The Kaduna state government swiftly moved to investigate and found the story not to be true and Audu honourably sent a rejoinder to say he found out the story wasn’t true and apologised. But the story had grown wings and those bent on fanning the embers of ethnic and religious hatred would not let go of it even though the originator had since retracted.

The DSS/Police have now arrested Audu and flew him from Lagos to Abuja on Friday and a “free Audu” hashtag is now trending on social media. I would lend my voice to this appeal and advise the Kaduna government to work with people like Audu to bring lasting peace to Kaduna state. There is also a lesson for us all; that we can freely say what we want online should not grant us the right to instigate and publish a falsehood. Audu didn’t deliberately publish falsehood in my opinion, yet the effect of his post threatened the peace. Since he has apologised I don’t see the reason for his detention except there are other factors I am unaware of.

I appeal to Governor El-Rufai, the DSS, the Police and all bodies involved in his arrest to immediately FREE AUDU MAKORI NOW. People like him are the voices you need to bring peace through engaging the youth. Brings me to the last point, we can advocate for Audu because he has a platform I will like to say that there are too many innocent young Nigerians languishing in various detentions on flimsy accusations with no one to speak for them. We must review the way law enforcement in our nation relates with the entire citizenry. 

God bless Nigeria and bring lasting peace to Kaduna and all of Nigeria.

#FREEAUDUMAIKORI


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