With the general elections remaining barely five weeks, Nigerian entertainers seem to have joined in the frenzy by pitching their artistic clout behind their preferred candidates. Although a few of them, like Tony One Week Muonago and Desmond Elliot are involved in active electioneering having won the primaries in their party, others, especially those who lost the primaries are either on the field or online, lending their support, across party divides.
‘Friday Flavour’ checks revealed that the while some artistes have aggregated themselves into groups to launch their support, others have preferred to do so on a ‘solo basis’.
Top actor, Emeka Ike, it was learnt is actively involved in the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan, where he was assigned the duty of coordinating transportation during the deceleration event in December 2014. In the same vein top members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria had galvanised themselves into a group called Nollywood Professionals leading to a visit to the President in Abuja, a move so many industry watchers perceive as political. Some of the artistes who took part in the visit include, Ibinabo Fiberisima, Segun Arinze, Yakubu Abubakar, while the visit by the group, Legends of Nollywood attracted the likes of Paul Obazele and Zack Orji amongst other renowned stars.
Other artistes like Ejike Asiegbu, Dickson Iroegbu, Jerry Isichei and Charles Kay Anyabuike have variously launched various efforts, especially online to propagate the ideals and achievements of the Goodluck Jonathan-led government. On the side of Muhammadu Buhari, artistes like Olu Maintain, Jimmy Jatt, Praiz and Skales have been lending support.
In Ogun State however, Dayo Adeneye, who lost his bid for an opportunity in the House of Assembly has joined the campaign train of Ibikunle Amosun. Adeneye, fondly called DOne will function in the media and publicity arm of the group, charged with ensuring the re-election of Amosun in a few weeks’ time as the governor of the state.
For the PDP candidate in Lagos State, Jimi Agbaje, so many artistes are also lining behind him. Weeks before he ever emerged as the candidate of the party, a group, Forum For New Lagos had launched an audacious campaign at the Protea Hotel, Ikeja to drum support for his emergence in Lagos. Nollywood acts, Omoni Oboli, Biodun Okeowo Sofuyi a.k.a Tolani Osinrin and John Njamah as well as Kalu Ikeagwu, Ufuoma Mcdermott, Yemi Blaq, Weird MC and Ruggedman are some of the artsistes at the event.
Not left out in the campaign for Agbaje is Tinsel star, Edo State born, Queen Blessing Ebigieson, who launched, I Believe Agbaje, IBA.
According to her, “I keep telling people that I am not a politician. I founded a group called IBA. IBA means I Believe Agbaje. I formed the group with the sole aim of supporting my godfather, who is Jimi Agbaje. I didn’t just wake up one day and decided to form the group. It is something I nursed within me for a long time. I even consulted lots of friends. Jimi Agbaje is a man I believe so much in. He is sound, humble, generous, and pragmatic and an efficient man whom I believe can turn the fortunes of Lagos State around. And that is why I decided to gather my friends together in support for him. Membership is not restricted. As long as you believe in Agbaje, you can become a member. At the end, Lagosians, I believe will smile.”
Meanwhile opinions have been divided about the role of artistes during electioneering campaigns. Clarion Chukwurah in an earlier interview had this to say about her colleagues in politics: “The motive of those who are embracing partisan politics is purely monetary. Let us call a spade a spade. If you tell me that you want to go into politics to serve the people, I would want to look at your record first. I want to see what you have done to better the lives of the people in your immediate community. How many boreholes have you sunk in the community?”
Friday Flavour learnt that Jonathan will expectedly get massive support in the nation’s entertainment industry where he paid thorough attention by availing funds for creative efforts through the NEXIM Bank and Bank of Industry.