The call for increased youth inclusion in governance, spearheaded by the #EndSARS protest of 2020, has led to quite a number of Nigerian celebrities getting involved in politics.
Gone are the days, when celebrities merely endorse candidates for various political offices, they are now throwing their hats into the ring.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a number of Nigerian celebrities, particularly Nollywood stars, are running for political offices.
Ezinwanne Onwuka in this report highlights four Nollywood stars who are in the 2023 gubernatorial race under various parties.
Tonto Dikeh was the first Nollywood star to be picked as a deputy governorship candidate.
She was nominated as the running mate to Tonte Ibraye, the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Rivers State in June.
Confirming the movie star’s nomination, the ADC governorship candidate wrote on his official Facebook page: “After a series of consultations with leaders of our party, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Rivers State and the national level, I’m glad to announce Ambassador Tonto Dikeh as my running mate for the 2023 gubernatorial election in Rivers State.”
Expressing her gratitude for the nomination, Dikeh had posted on Facebook: “I thank Mr. Tonte Ibraye (@TonteIbraye), the Governorship candidate for ADC, Rivers State for nominating me as his running mate.”
Funke Akindele is the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) deputy governorship candidate in Lagos State.
The governorship candidate of the party, Dr Olajide Adediran, popularly called Jandor, announced the actress as his running mate for the 2023 general elections last month.
“I am proud to present Barrister Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele as my running mate and the Deputy Governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in Lagos for the 2023 general elections. Together, we will serve and offer you a breath of fresh air,” Jandor had tweeted.
While expressing delight in the nomination, the Lagos-born actress said her decision to join Jandor was a huge sacrifice, adding that she has suspended her acting carreer of 14 years in order to bring positive change to Lagos residents.
“I am not unaware of the cost of this assignment on my vibrant career, which I now must inevitably put on hold. That is a significant personal sacrifice,” she had said in a video she shared on Instagram.
A few days after Funke Akindele’s unveiling, actor Femi Branch announced that he was picked as Tofunmi Ogunrobi’s deputy in a statement shared via his Instagram page.
Ogunronbi is the governorship candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) in Ogun State in the forthcoming elections.
The NRM guber candidate said he picked the Ogun-born actor, who has been vocal about bad governance and social injustice, because he believes he would add more value to his candidacy.
He added that the actor has a “clear understanding of the task ahead and the need to work with a co-visionary with a shared passion for the emancipation of the good people of the state.”
Also joining the clique is Caroline Danjuma, an award-winning actress who hails from Eket in Akwa Ibom State.
Danjuma was unveiled as the running mate of Iboro Otu, the governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in Akwa Ibom in July.
In a statement, the party said she was picked based on her “exemplary life, love for humanity, leadership ability, and commitment towards the betterment of Akwa Ibom communities.”
Announcing the nomination, Danjuma said the opportunity will afford her the opportunity to serve the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigeria at large.
“To serve and to honor in loyalty and in truth to Akwa Ibom and Nigeria . So help me God,” she had captioned a photo of her flier as the party’s deputy governorship candidate posted on Instagram.