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Saraki Son's Concert Goes Wrong, Ends In Sorrow, Tears And Blood (photos)

For many revellers who attended the Nativeland concert organised annually by Seni, the first son of former Senate President Bukola Saraki, the 2019 edition held Thursday, December 19, left sorrow, tears and blood as a sad memento.

Arguably one of the most appealing concerts for elite and silverspoon kids and returnees, the show also enjoyed huge publicity blitz especially as it was billed to feature reigning acts like Burna Boy, Zlatan, Naira Marley, Fireboy, Rema, Joeboy and DJ Cuppy. Held at the Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, the organisers, mindful of their huge crowd, had announced that gates would close at 11pm and there would be a curfew between then and 1am to curtail entry. That was not enough, however, to stop the melee that ensued.

Prescient, perhaps, rave of the moment artiste, Fireboy, was performing his hit song, ‘Party Scatter’ when the VIP stage, which tickets were sold at N25, 000, collapsed. The ensuing commotion and stampede led to many of the show-goers getting injured and bloodied. April Maey, a visual artist, posted a picture of her clothe soaked in blood on Twitter. Another attendee complained of her missing wig, which a guest found and hung on a stake.

Prior to the stage collapse, there had been incidences of guests being tasered and whipped by highhanded and overzealous security officers. Videos and photos of guests being assaulted are strewn all over social media.

Reacting, Fireboy said, “Things didn’t exactly go right at NATIVELAND ‘19 but I’m glad we could still vibe and have fun — massive thanks to all of you that came out for me and quick recovery to those that got hurt at the stampede. Love and blessings.”

On his part, controversial ‘Soapy’ crooner, Nairamarley said, “Everybody was sad and upset. Stepped in the building (and) had to control the crowd and put a smile back on my people’s face.”

Favour Onyeoziri, a copywriter and blogger said, “I have attended a lot of Nigerian shows, while some like Access Bank’s #BAFEST2019 were awesome and well-planned, #NATIVELAND2019 seems to have conveniently stole the number 1 spot on the list of the worst shows in the past couple of years. The list of mishaps and tragedies are just too much for any other show to come in close.”

However, Tolu Ogunlesi, Special Assistant on Digital Media to President Muhammadu Buhari saw it from a political angle, saying, “Just imagine if it was El-Rufai’s son that organized it. Twitter would have impeached the man overnight. But now all we can hear is the name of the show, as if the show organised itself.”

He added, “Fascinating to see subtle differences in Twitter Reactions. Had the incident happened in a place far removed from elite power centres, arguments would have been different: e.g. Govt failed; [organizers] should be prosecuted! etc. Now, it is: “Lagos doesn’t have event spaces!”

The organisers have released a statement, stating that the crowd overwhelmed the security operatives and a lot of people came in with multiple un-ticketed entry passes. They went on to apologise to 'Nativelanders' for the mishap and promised to get a bigger venue for their next concert. This apology, however, didn't go down well with a lot of people who said they were more concerned about their brand than the injuries inflicted on hapless show-goers.

23-year-old Seni Saraki owns The Native Magazine, which he says, is a digital platform that started as a print magazine which has now morphed into an agency and an annual music festival. He says “NATIVELAND brings the world of The NATIVE to real life – from showcasing the artists at the pulse of the culture across our stages, a one-of-a-kind shopping opportunity with the most coveted clothing brands in the game, to an expertly curated list of food trucks and vendors. NATIVELAND brings our online communities to real life, our annual celebration of Nigerian Music.” news culled from Naijazee.

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