The disqualification of the controversial singer, Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable, is generating mixed reactions as journalist and founder of Afrobeats Intel, Joey Akan, described the move as biased, setting a dangerous precedent.
The Headies organisers had on Wednesday disqualified Portable from this year’s awards show slated for September 4 in the USA even though he had two nominations.
They cited his threatening and uncouth language and alleged criminal conduct which is a subject of police investigation as reasons for the disqualification.
But in a series of tweets on Wednesday, Akan queried the decision saying “interesting line drawn by the Headies, withdrawing nominations for the enfant terrible, Portable. It’s a statement move, designed to speak to everyone that we’re cleaning house. On the surface, it appears to be the popular move. But it sets up a precedent,” Akan wrote.
He then elaborated on why the decision lacks fairness.
“Your Headies Award criteria has never stated anywhere near the requirements, that good character off the mic, is also a prerequisite for the honours.
“And if we are taking a moral stand now, and not separating the art from the artist, then let us all swing the hammer fairly.
“Look across your nominations list. Are those people up there all saints and angels? Sugar, spice and everything nice? Swing it across board. Enforce and encode this as a rule and not some arbitrary decision to score points with partners.
“Above all, precedent. The public will hold you to this. It’s great to deplatform. The optics are perfect. But when it’s a higher artist, someone more leveraged. A top three perhaps, will this hammer make an appearance? Is the right hand of justice going to stand firm? Let’s sanitise the game. Welcome to a new dispensation.”
Earlier, in an apparent shade at the awards platform, Akan had posted a message on his Facebook page on Wednesday, saying “Headies might be a legacy platform, but they are no longer the biggest award show in Nigeria. That’s Soundcity MVP.
“The importance you attach to it is a sentiment from the past. What they have shown today is that your trust and emotions are misplaced.
“I see you people have gone to catch feelings over Award ‘wey dey peel.’ Listen to music and be validated by what you feel. Don’t wait for awards to celebrate your fave. After all, organizers are putting up a balancing act, and trying to make everyone happy.”