TIMI DAKOLO SHOT ON NEW YEAR DAY
Winner of the first ever West Africa Idols, Timi Dakolo was on Tuesday January 1, 2008 shot in the head by unknown militants in Nigeria’s troubled Niger delta region.
The rising singer, who is plotting a music career for himself, having only won the world-famous contest’s prize in 2007, has been admitted in a yet-to-be-named hospital in Port Harcourt, where the incident happened. Port Harcourt is the capital of Rivers state, an oil-rich Nigerian state where there has been an eruption of violence, characterised by relentless kidnappings, hostage-taking, and gang banditry in recent times.
‘We were staying in a hotel. he was in the town for a performance and for the xmas celebration. we were shocked when the militants struck the hotel’, said an anonymous lady believed to have been with him as at the time of the attack. it is uncertain if the gunmen knew who the victim was. the lady, speaking on phone with me, confirmed ;Timi is been treated in a hospital in port harcourt. he was very lucky because the bullet didn’t have a direct impact on his head. it only brushed past’.
The incident happened a day after the nigerian media reported, rather sadly, of the mass violence that marked the new year eve in Port harcourt,with Tom Ateke, a gang leader and dreaded warlord allegedly taking responsibility for the attack. over 16 people were killed in the attack, which residents of the city have blamed on government’s lifting of the dusk to dawn curfew a day earlier.
It remains uncertain if Timi was the target of the militants, or whether he was just in the wrong place entirely. It is believed he was shot whie attempting to leave the popular hotel presidential after a performance.
The singer’s incident, coming abut two months after pop star 2face Idibia was shot in Lagos, has got the Nigerian music community thinking, worried about the safety of its practitioners in a country where value for human life is dangerously near zero level. other Nigerian stars, including Mike Aremu, Kemistry, Skid Ikemefunna, Weird MC, Kween Onokala, Soul E, have all been victims of desperate robbers in recent times
Timi, 26, is an indegene of Bayelsa state, another oil-rich Nigerian town where youths are taking up arms, determined to take thier future in thier hands, after years of alleged deprivation (although there is also a high level of political manipulations in the Niger delta struggle which has recorded scores of casualties including famed playwright Kenule Saro- Wiwa)
Timi is believed to have been resident in Port Harcourt for a while – he was even a student of communications at the University of Port Harcourt, before enroling for Idols- and only became a regular visitor to lagos following his new status as winner of West African Idol. He was declared the winner on May 26, 2007 at the home of Idols, Planet One, Lagos, Nigeria. The show was televised the next day. He beat runner-up, Omawumi Megbele with 63% of the votes. With his victory, he took home many prizes including a recording contract with Sony BMG.
He is the second Nigerian to win a continental musical contest of such magnitude. Dare art Alade, son of late entertainer Modupe Arthur Alade had done the country proud in 2004 when he came third at the Project Fame academy in South Africa. he aso won a recording deal with Sony BMG which, unfortunately, never saw the light of day.