The year in Nigerian music was set to close with the Headies award ceremony in December 2015. Instead it opened with controversy in 2016 after the event was shifted and held 1 January.
The event started off several hours late, with nominees and other music artists gathered at the Landmark Event Centre in Lagos for the Nigerian music industry’s most respected awards. Comedian Bovi and dancer Kaffy helmed the occasion. As the night went on, performances and awards went to artists deemed to have performed admirably during the period under review.
A few awards went to expected winners including the Best Collaboration award which was won by the trio of Reminisce, Olamide and Phyno for the song ‘Local Rappers’ off Reminisce’s Baba Hafusa album. Olamide’s ‘Bobo’ won the Best Street-Hop category. 2face Idibia was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his “Special recognition for excellence and outstanding impact to the entertainment industry.”
Things became controversial after Reekado Banks won the Next Rated category—which comes with a car prize. Upon receiving the award, Banks, a protégé of producer Don Jazzy and member of the MAVINS crew, noted that some persons would be unhappy with his win.
YBNL Boss Olamide was one of those unhappy persons. When his signee Adekunle Gold took the prize for Best Alternative Song, the rapper, with a cup presumably holding alcohol, expressed dissatisfaction with the Next Rated category. He claimed Lil Kesh, his protégé, deserved the award based on a steady release of hits. He was cheered off stage as he slammed both mic and cup onstage. Cameras showed him with both middle fingers raised.
Thereafter Don Jazzy, receiving a Special Recognition Award, said to Olamide, “If you want the car, come and collect it.” He, too, was cheered by the audience.
The ceremony continued and by the close, Wizkid had two awards, Best Song for his hit song Ojuelegba and Best Pop Album for his sophomore album Ayo. Producer Legendury Beats also won for the song Ojuelegba.
The highest individual winner was the singer Timi Dakolo had won three awards on the night, including Recording of the Year.
He was unable to bask in the attention as Olamide after the ceremony tweeted a series of insults at Don Jazzy, sparking a bout of online controversy. He appeared especially angry at the car reference. "He said if I want the car I should come and take it seriously? Do I look like your maids?" he asked in one tweet. Within minutes his tweets had been retweeted several times. Fans took sides as Don Jazzy maintained a silence. Hours later, he posted an apology to his fans on Instagram.
“I want to apologise to my fans for my conduct,” his statement began “including swearing on Live TV, at The Headies event some hours ago. I recognise that you all are the most important part of my work and my journey so far, and I would not have come this far without you. Therefore, you deserve better from me. I promise to conduct myself in a more respectable manner in future.”
Several hours later, a photo of Don Jazzy shaking hands with Olamide showed up on the Instagram pages of both Don Jazzy and Olamide. The two had apparently reconciled. “We are very sorry for the wahala,” they both wrote. “Make una no vex ooo. It is our responsibility to lead but then again we’re only human and we all make mistakes.”