Gone are the days when Nigerian politics was only for full-time politicians, ex-military generals and businessmen. Today, quite a number of Nigerian celebrities are involved. As we approach the 2023 general election, EDWIN USOBOH takes a look at some of the socialites in entertainment who will be running for elective office in the election
Desmond Oluwashola Elliot, the actor and producer, is no newcomer to the Nigerian political arena. He campaigned and won the Surulere Constituency 1 seat under the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. After four years in office, Elliott was re-elected for a second term as legislature in 2019. During the 2020 EndSARS protest, he was heavily criticized for allegedly backing a social media law. The prominent politician will once again fight to retain his seat for a third term as a member of the Surulere 1 constituency in Lagos in the 2023 general election.
Olubankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W, first dipped into Nigerian politics when he was campaigning for representation of Eti-Osa, Lagos, in the House of Representatives under the umbrella of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) in the 2019 election. He lost to Babajide Obanikoro, the All Progressive Congress (APC) nominee. Banky W refused to back down and left the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). There he contested and won the party’s primary ticket to the Eti-Osa federal constituency ahead of the 2023 general election.
Funke Akindele, the actress and producer, recently confirmed her nomination as Dr. Abdul Azeez Olajide Adediran of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), popularly known as Jandor in Lagos, for the 2023 Lagos gubernatorial election. Her emergence has since drawn mixed reactions on social media. Many wondered how the Nollywood star with a long acting career would survive the turbulent political atmosphere as a newcomer. From 1998 to 2002 she starred in the sitcom I Need to Know. However, she became famous for her role in the film titled Jenifa, which earned her the nickname Jenifa. She was recently criticized for appearing unprepared on live television to speak about her party’s draft for Lagos. However, Jandor noted that Funke will add more value to his candidacy in the 2023 general election.
Tonto Dikeh is another well-known Nollywood actress who has been nominated as a running mate of a gubernatorial candidate. The controversial dikeh has long harbored political ambitions. She even stated that two years ago she will run for the 2023 election. In June, she was nominated as a running mate by Tonte Ibraye, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate for governor in Rivers state. Tonto, who is also a musician and songwriter, has been involved in many controversies. The outspoken actress is also known for constant social media fights with her ex-bestie Bobrisky and others of her Nollywood peers. Tonto hails from Ikwerre, Abio-Okpa, Rivers State, Nigeria. She is the founder of the Tonto Dikeh Foundation, established on August 27, 2000 with the aim of helping the less privileged.
Femi Branch is a versatile and celebrated actress who is also a candidate for a political seat in the upcoming general election. Earlier this month, he was named the running mate of Tofunmi Ogunronbi, the 2023 candidate for governor of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) in Ogun state. Ogunronbi explained that he chose the Ogun State-born actor because he believed Branch would bring more value to his candidacy. He also said the movie star has been vocal about bad governance and social injustice.
Tuoyo, ex-housemate of reality show Big Brother Naija Season 4, is contesting the position as a member of the House of Representatives. He wants to represent the Warri Federal constituency on the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) platform. Earlier this month he took to his Instagram to share his campaign flyer while also publicizing his political intentions.
Caroline Danjuma, the Nigerian actress, also joins the group. She was recently presented as the running mate of Iboro Otu, the 2023 African Action Congress (AAC) candidate for governorship in Akwa Ibom state. In a statement, the party said Danjuma was selected as a running mate because of her “exemplary life, love for humanity, leadership qualities and commitment to the betterment of Akwa Ibom communities.”