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Davido Might Be Mentally Ill - A Psychologist's View

Posted by Samuel on Thu 29th Jun, 2023 -

Osahon George Osayimwen explains, in this exhilarating feature, why Davido needs to come to terms with the fact that he has a problem.


For a man who brags about being one of the most influential and successful music artistes not only in Nigeria but Africa, to be so rich that the cheapest commodity - a condom eludes him easily, there is fire on the mountain. If nobody sees nothing wrong with it, mental health practitioners do!

A couple of weeks ago, David Adeleke, 30, popularly known as Davido took delivery of a 2023 Maybach S680 Virgil Abloh that costs almost N400 million. According to media reports, only 150 of the luxury car model exists in the world and the globally-recognized moneybags are gradually purchasing them to up their status or using them to appreciate special people in their lives. Alicia Keys' husband, Swizz Beatz got one for her to celebrate her birthday and as expected in showbiz, a reality show was almost made out of its unveiling.

As the Muslims celebrated Sallah, it was strange that the regular pictures of ram/cow meat and other razzmatazz attached to the Islamic festive day became a secondary issue on social media. Uncle David was back in the news and it wasn't about his musical prowess or personal achievements. It was more of a scathing scandal that could make his wealthy father walk around with his cap in his hands. He was alleged to have impregnated a fifth woman from far away, USA. The woman named Anita Brown who paraded a highly questionable past of being an adult actress with an OnlyFans account was firing on all cylinders as she dropped incontrovertible evidence to show she knows Davido more than his family members. As the drama ensued shamefully to the entertainment of bored Nigerians, who have a penchant for highly sensational and meaningless contents, another lady in France also surfaced. The French lady also claimed to be pregnant for Uncle David. Just like her American counterpart, she came out with her 'receipts' to prove that Davido transacted successful s*xual businesses with her. 

In the heat of the moment, some netizens also dug out a video of a Kenyan public personality, Pendo Stacy, who teased that she also slept with Davido. She brazenly showed us what is expected to be his boxers as evidence. This was ridiculous displayed on live TV. It is hard to prove. Only his wife, Chioma can confirm if the boxers belong to Davido. What an unplanned explosive sitcom!

Even when David in the Bible fell and went out of favour with God by killing Uriah and sleeping with Bathsheba after seeing her n*ked, the shame wasn't this bad. People from the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria would say a mentally ill person is a pleasure to watch when he/she isn't related to you. While Davido's escapades might be a viable source of mortification to his family members and close friends, fans might see it as the biggest reality show in the absence of the Big Brother Naija. Everybody related to Davido including his greatest praise singer and Lai Mohammed-like person, Tunde Ednut lost his voice on social media. The smoke was too much for him to bear. He couldn't just breathe.

So on a more serious note, let's dig into the crux of the matter. Davido's case might be related to mental illness. This might sound very atypical and  I promise to break it down as brief as possible in layman terms, in order not to bore my readers and make it too long. I will like to share a story of a kid that used to run after trains. It was very strange! Each time they did, on-lookers would physically restrain them and when quizzed about their actions, they would become emotional and deluded with no reasonable defense of their actions. After a while, things would return to normal and the same cycle would repeat itself. After being taken to a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, PICU. The Responsible Clinician (RC), diagnosed them of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the RC, if the odd event had happened just once spontaneously, it could be expensively ignored. But for it to be continuous, there was more to the story. It should be noted that the kid always saw no oddity in their actions. In psychology, we believe a behaviour is just the tip of the iceberg. This gives credence to the postulations of Austrian neurologist - Sigmund Freud‘s Iceberg Model of Consciousness. Freud contested that our conscious behaviour is only the visible 10% of our psyche. Human actions are representations of complex cognitive processes that are unseen.

There is always a bigger picture and this is why patients are debriefed after incidents to dig deep into the factors that triggered their challenging behaviours. This helps us to understand the problem better and draw a care-plan in accordance to the principle of personalized or person-centred care. There are similarities between Davido and this unnamed kid. They keep doing the same odd things over and over again, they don't believe their actions are wrong and they have no reasonable defense for their actions. It is a vicious cycle!

From my understanding of psychology and experience in the mental health field, Davido might be dealing with trauma. Trauma affects us in ways we can never imagine. It creeps into our lives and we live with it consciously and unconsciously. We have memories of bad experiences we wish we could erase from our brains but they never go away. These memories could be in the simplest form of a bad romantic relationships, a road accident, academic failure, loss of a loved one, bankruptcy, or any similar unpleasant experience. The sufferer starts to deal with triggers - which are pointers to or a sense of resemblance of a past event. This makes us very uncomfortable and unsettled. If not well-managed over a long period of time, it could lead to a full-blown medical condition that might require hospitalization. 

Basically, we have three main types of trauma which are namely  Acute, Chronic, or Complex trauma. From an anecdotal assessment on the basis of secondary sources of data, he might be battling with acute trauma which is related mostly to a single but significant event in one's life that shapes behaviour. This event appears to be the death of Davido's mother, Veronica. She died when the singer was 11 years old. In several interviews, Davido had spoken about his undying love for his mom and how her death as a result of cardiac arrest hit him so hard. There is always a special connection between a child and his mother especially at the formative stage of his life. The demise of a mother could leave a vacuum that could never be filled in a lifetime. This is the sad reality of life. Such permanent disappearance of a special one could spark a kind of hunger that can't be quenched. For example, a man battling with a failed romantic relationship, as a knee-jerk reaction, might find succor in excessive intake of alcohol. Others might be seeking 'rebound relationships' to deal with the pains, some might engage in self-harm or suicidal attempts to manage the pains.

How do my views relate to Davido?

There is this inexplicable vulnerability he has around women from a study of his scandals. In 2015, he accused Sophia Momodu, his first babymama of taking advantage of him and getting him to impregnate her. Sophia, a smart Lagos girl who wanted to force her way into the upper-class was and is still milking Davido heavily with no notable means of livelihood.

"I met Sophia when I was barely 21 years old. She was many years older than me and was able to manipulate and exploit my youth, naivety and generosity" Davido lamented in a scathing public statement during one of his episodes with Sophia.

Other cases of babymamas who came out of one-night-stands would later put Davido in the unwanted league of legendary singer Innocent '2Face' Idibia, who fathered 7 children with 4 different women.

After Davido realized Sophia Momodu was more of a hireling/contractor in his life, he appeared to have been triggered again. He felt like a homeless kid under a heavy downpour. Figuratively speaking, with his drenched clothes and intense cold, he ran under Chioma's canopy. For about a year, Davido built his life around Chioma. He reportedly bought her a Porsche of N45 million in 2018 to mark her 23rd birthday and also dedicated a well-promoted hit song titled 'Assurance' to her. As a psychologist that reads meanings to everything, the term 'assurance' is deep. It carries so much weight. I am sure Davido didn't choose it by accident. In mental health, there is what we call 'reassurance'. When a patient is in crisis or during post-crisis periods and they feel they can fight no more, giving them words of encouragement is what we call 'reassurance'. Davido was like a sick child seeing hope of survival in the beautiful eyes of Chioma.

A critical examination of Anita Brown's testimony bears element of a trauma-induced action. As Davido lost his 3-year-old son, Ifeanyi, it was a bit difficult for him to 'mourn' as a celebrity, so he would rather 'moan'. Hopefully, my reader knows the difference between both words. He jumped in bed again with Anita Brown whom he reportedly bid farewell to in one of his hit songs, Assurance. He was in search of respite, the comforting arms of a woman became his coping mechanism as usual. He appears to have fashioned out his own idea of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT. As Chioma mourned, Davido was in America, moaning and mourning pleasurably under the hot Anita using different angles.

The bottom line here is that Davido needs help. He needs to come to terms with the fact that he has a problem. From there, he could seek professional medical support. This is the only way the cycle of babymamas could stop before he accidentally sets up at least three football teams before the age of 40.

It hurts that Nigeria pays no attention to mental health. Mentally ill people are either stigmatized or their challenge is linked to spirituality. Davido might also feel too big to seek help. The President of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria (APN), Taiwo Obindo, in September, 2022 stated that more than 60 million Nigerians are suffering from mental illnesses. In 2023, the number could have doubled due to the removal of fuel subsidy by the President Bola Tinubu administration. How many viable psychiatric hospitals do we have in Nigeria? That is an issue for another day.


Osahon George Osayimwen is a UK-based Nigerian journalist and developmental Psychologist.

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