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Nollywood Celebrities Contesting For 2023 Elections



The entertainment industry is one of the sectors in Nigeria that attracts the interest of millions of people because of its impact on the society. In the last few years, musicians, actors, and actresses who are Nigerians have put their country on the world map at local, regional, continental, and international competitions.

In recent times, people in the entertainment industry are gradually venturing into politics in their quest to serve the people either at the state or national level. The transition from the red carpet to the halls of power since Nigeria returned to the democratic path in the present Fourth Republic has been a smooth one for many politicians.

Among thespians who have occupied the public office in the last few years as political appointees are Funke Adesiyan, Personal Assistant to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari on Domestic and Social events; Richard Mofe Damijo, a former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Delta State; Mercy Johnson, Senior Special Assistant on Entertainment, Arts and Culture to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; Femi Adebayo, Special Assistant on Culture and Tourism to former Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed; Dayo Adeneye, Commissioner for Information and Strategy to ex-Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Tony One-Week and Desmond Elliot had also served as members of state lawmakers. Tony One-Week was a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, representing Idemili North from 2011 to 2015 while Elliot is currently representing Surulere I constituency in the Lagos State House of Assembly.

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While some entertainers were successful in their transition from the red carpet to the halls of power, there are people whose political ambitions didn’t fly. Yul Edochie lost the 2017 governorship election on the platform of the Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC) in Anambra. Olubankole Wellington (Banky W), Abolore Akande (9ice), Kanayo O. Kanayo and Kate Henshaw also lost out in the House of Representatives elections in Eti-Osa (Lagos), Ogbomosho North/Ogbomosho South/Orire (Oyo), Ahiazu Mbaise/Ezinihitte (Imo) and Municipal/Odukpani (Cross Rivers) federal constituencies respectively.  Kenny Saint Best also failed to clinch the APC ticket for Ikeja I in the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, some actors have already declared their interest to run for House of Assembly, House of Representatives and governorship poll. Funke Akindele, Tonto Dike and Caroline Hutchings are contesting as deputy governorship candidates in Lagos, Rivers and Akwa-Ibom states while Banky W and Desmond Elliot are contesting for House of Assembly and House of Representatives respectively in Lagos State.

Funke Akindele (PDP)

Nollywood actress, Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele, popularly known as Jennifer, was recently announced as the running mate to the PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State, Olajide Adediran (Jandor).

Funke Akindele born on August 24, 1977, is regarded as one of the renowned actresses, producers and filmmakers in the entertainment industry with over two decades of experience in the movie industry.

The emergence of Akindele as a running mate to Jandor, who is not leaving any stone untouched in ensuring that he ends the reign of the ruling party in Lagos State, was a great surprise to many political observers, who were divided over the choice of the PDP deputy governorship candidate in Lagos State.

While some see Akindele as a good complement to Jandor based on her popularity as an actress and filmmaker as well as being a youth, some people are of the view that the Ikorodu-born actress-turned-politician does not have the political network and structures to win an election in Lagos State.

Funke Akindele last week Thursday during an interview on Channels Television expressed confidence that her party, PDP, is going to win the gubernatorial poll. “You need a party with a structure if you want to win; a viable party and you need PDP to take over. I have fans and followers, and I am true to myself. I have close to 19-20 million followers on social media.”

With her boast of having about 20 million voters on social media that will support her administration, many people are watching with keen interest if the ‘voters on social media’ will cast their votes for Jennifer and Jandor, who are contesting against an incumbent Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; whose administration has performed credibly well and has been endorsed by many groups and prominent Nigerians and Lagosians for a second term.

Tonto Dikeh (ADC)

Controversial Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh, is the deputy governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Rivers State. She is contesting as a running mate to the ADC governorship candidate, Mr. Tonte Ibraye, for the March 11, 2023 governorship election in Rivers State.

Tonto Dikeh made the disclosure via her social media handles, noting that she has taken a political bold step to accept the deputy governorship slot on the platform of ADC.

Dikeh’s ambition is a bold step but many people believe that her party may not go far in the governorship race. Some political observers believed that the governorship poll in Rivers is going to be a major battle between Governor Nyesom Wike-led PDP and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi led APC.

It is also believed that despite her popularity as an actress, Tonto Dike’s party, ADC has no viable political structure that can help her party to wrestle power from the ruling party in Rivers State.

Caroline Hutchings (AAC)

Nigerian actress and producer, Caroline Hutchings, formerly known as Caroline Danjuma has been unveiled as the running mate of Mr. Iboro Otu, for the 2023 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State on the platform of the African Action Congress (AAC). Caroline born on June 26, 1987, in Maiduguri, Borno State, was previously married to Musa Danjuma.

Like Tonto Dikeh, many people believe that Caroline may not go far in the governorship poll because her party, AAC is not a popular party in Akwa Ibom State. Political analysts are of the view that the renowned actress who has featured in many movies like Stalker, Colors of Emotion and reality TV show, Real House Wives of Lagos, does not have what it takes to help her party win the 2023 gubernatorial poll in Akwa Ibom State.

Olubankole Wellington (PDP)

Olubankole Wellington, popularly known as Banky W is a Nigerian singer, rapper, actor and politician. He is contesting to represent Eti-Osa Federal Constituency in the Tenth National Assembly come 2023 on the platform of PDP.  Banky W firstly dived into Nigerian politics when he contested in the 2019 election to represent the people of Eti-Osa in Lagos in the House of Representatives under the umbrella of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP).

He contested against Babajide Obanikoro, the first son of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, of the APC and Omotesho Bakare of the PDP. Banky W put up a good fight but lost to Obanikoro.

Not relenting in his ambition, Banky W dumped MDP and joined PDP, where he contested and won the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency primary ticket of his party ahead of the 2023 general election. The singer will once again battle it out with the incumbent lawmaker, Babajide Obanikoro of APC and others in the forthcoming election.

Considering his good performance during the 2019 elections under an unknown political party, many people are of the view that with Banky W contesting on the platform of PDP, he is going to give Obanikoro a tough fight in the House of Representatives election come 2023.

Desmond Elliot (APC)

Desmond Oluwashola Elliot is one of the actors in Nigeria who has established his feet in politics, having represented the people of Surulere I for two consecutive terms in the Lagos State House of Assembly on the platform of APC. Having performed very well, he got APC ticket for the third term and will take part in the March 11, 2023, House of Assembly poll in Lagos State.

Desmond Elliot born on February 4, 1974, is a Nigerian actor and director, who has starred in over 200 films and a number of television shows and soap operas. He is young and energetic. He also has a strong base in his constituency and many people believe that being a member of the ruling party, APC is an added advantage for the actor-turned-politician to return to the Lagos State House of Assembly next year.

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