When in the year 2003, the news of the Hollywood star, Arnold Shwarzenegger, took the airwaves as the Governor of Florida, US of America, many Nigerians considered such as a “non-achievable dream” in the country’s politics for a number of reasons ranging from the fact that at that time Nigeria was just about four years into the new democratic system, to politics being erroneously believed to be the business of only politicians amongst others.
As the 2015 general elections draw near, many of Nigerian entertainers, ranging from Nollywood stars to music industry stars are now vying for different political posts, The Street Journal’s findings have revealed.
Many of these stars were known to have been used by politicians to promote their campaign programmes before elections in the past either to sing and ‘ginger the swags’ of their followers or give talks on politicians’ behalf. But the celebrities are now jostling for the available posts with the politicians themselves.
Prominent among these stars are comedian and singer Julius Agwu (Governor, Rivers State); Yemi Solade, movie star (Senate, Lagos State); Abolore Akande a.k.a 9ice, music icon (House of Representative, Oyo State); Offiong Kate Henshaw, Movie star (House of Reps, Cross River State); Jibola Dibo, movie star (House of Reps, Ondo State) and Keneth Okonkwo, lawyer turned movie star (House of Reps, Enugu State). Others include Desmond Elliot, Funke Adesiyan, Anthony Olanrewaju Awotoye a.k.a Tony Tetuila, Kenny Saint Best(KSB), Bob Manuel Udokwo etc all contesting for House of Assembly in their respective states.
In an interaction with our readers on the intentions of these celebrities, various reactions trailed. Mr. Yakub Kehinde from Lagos who frowned at the influx of the entertainers in politics said, “They’re looking for a way to get their own share of the national cake. If they’ve got anything to contribute to the national development of the nation, they can simply do that in their respective fields which they’ve been doing in the past”. Still speaking on their chances of being picked by their different parties to represent them, Kehinde doubted it. “The political class is fighting tooth and nail to put its persons in place. Entertainers don’t have a better chance. Do they have what it takes to muscle the flagship of parties with the political class? Remember 9ja politics no be Nollywood ooO”.
According to Miss Adebowale Abiade A. from Lagos, “Well, I think they believe they can also make the change that they have failed to see in the other political office holders we have had over the years. Some of these people I believe can have something positive to impact, but we wouldn’t know if we don’t put them to test. But I would advise they start from the grass roots” she said.
A comedian, Idowu Samuel oluwaseun (MC Thuraya) said “it’s a new development for the industry but the question now is, do they really have positive passion for Nigeria or it’s their pocket they are going there for?” Well to us, that question is rhetorical because it’s difficult to know the intent of a man until he’s faced with reality.
Our reader from Imo state, Miss Faith Okeha opined that “this is a constitutional right, so far as you are qualified, go ahead and contest. The second issue is just the motives, I am not sure they are gonna be different from the same set of miscreants that we have now, everybody’s looking for the “free money” that we have in politics. God save Nigeria”.
Some Nigerians, however, consider the decisions of the stars as waste of time, resources and energy. Musa Mohammad from Kaduna pointed out that “these guys do not really mean business but just wish to create more popularity for themselves. They can’t even win the ticket in the first place let alone winning in their localities.”
The choice of any candidate rests solely with the party and the people to vote whoever they want to represent them. There is no harm in trying a new career, besides; failure now does not mean forever, it could simply be a ladder for tomorrow’s victory.
Abolore Akande, a.k.a 9ice however, explained that he was going into politics to make a difference and impact on the lives of the people. According to him, God Had blessed him before going into politics. He has been making underground consultations with the stakeholders which culminated in a visit to the Governor of Oyo State, Isiaka Ajimobi during the last Sallah holiday.
Elliot who suddenly remembered to now emphasize his Yoruba name to further endear him to the hearts of the electorate in Lagos,has not hidden his determination to go to the House of Assembly, Alausa Lagos come next year. He assured the people of Lagos State of his resolve to impact positively on the lives of the people of the State.
One interesting thing that The Street Journal has observed in the new development in the political circle particularly in the southern part of the country is the deliberate and clever resolve of the ‘new breed’ politicians to align with the ruling party in their respective States.
Streetjournal wishes all the candidates the best of luck.