We do not need a soothsayer to tell us that next year’s 2015 elections in Nigeria, Africa’s most populated nation and the world’s largest black population, is going to be keenly contested and very exciting, to say the least. Well, let’s choose to be optimistic by seeing Nigeria’s political life through an interesting, if not dramatic development.
Aside from the political parties’ usual clashes (both intra and inter) and regular criticisms of each other, something else is happening and we guess you must have seen or read it in the media.
A lot of people were taken aback in no little way, when news emerged that popular Nigerian Hip Hop Artiste, Abolore Akande aka 9ice intends to run for a seat in his native Oyo state’s House of Assembly. One could easily shrug it off, thinking it is one of the many mischiefs from social media attention seekers (saw one recently, with a bold headline, claiming the first lady, Patience Jonathan has defected from the PDP to APC….lol). But it looks like Abolore Akande aka 9ice, is actually serious about this his ambition, in his words ‘’I believe l have achieved all there is to achieve in music’’ when asked why he chose to go into politics. Thereafter his campaign photo shots started hitting the social media.
Most people actually dismissed it as a joke, when they heard about his political ambition, thinking it was one of his many comical creations to market his comedy shows, and then,…’Julius Agwu for 2015!’ posters hit us. Are you kidding? Julius Agwu the comedian, as state Governor? ‘Who is going to ever take that (not so tall) dude serious’ was the major concern, but he seemed to mean business. Thankfully, the latest development, we heard was that he’s decided to step down to focus more on his comedy career. (Exhales! Now that’s better bro!)
Then came Desmond Elliot, with a declaration of his political ambition. This development was indeed surprising to many. Desmond happened to be widely respected and admired for his acting as well as directing skills. No doubt, he has done well for the Nollywood Industry, as well as for himself. However, he’s being campaigning seriously; he even unveiled a Yoruba name as a political campaign gimmick, ‘Olushola’, to sell himself to the Lagos Yoruba populace- very interesting! So he is now candidate Desmond ‘Olushola’ Elliot for Lagos State House of Assembly.
But we were to discover soon afterwards, that there were still many other Nigerian celebs, eyeing political offices, albeit elective not appointive offices like we were used to, with Governors across the nation, appointing them as Special Assistants or Advisers on sundry funny responsibilities; Kate Hensaw, we can’t but admit that her campaign pictures were so beautiful, (that was the only remarkable thing a number of people could remember). Kenny Saint Brown the singer, Dayo Adeneye-D1 of Kenny’s Music/Prime Time Entertainment, Tony Tetuila, Bob Manuel…. (There are probably others on the way, or the not so popular).
Please, don’t get this twisted, we’re not trying to ridicule politics or the candidates or portray that only a select few could play the political game. We all know how we clamour for a ‘saviour’ to lead the affairs of this nation, plus the fact that our nation does sincerely deserve the right leadership and direction at the helms of her affairs, just as Kate Henshaw’s manifesto says- ‘’l have a strong interest and desire to save my people and especially show that there is a better, more humane way to do things, when you are in a position of leadership. Putting the people first and being accountable to them as well as being accessible’’.
Beautiful manifesto, no doubt. But that set us thinking:
‘’Must everyone become a politician before he/she is able to give the right leadership or make a change? Must one carry a political party membership card or mount the soap box, before being able to make a difference in any environment, community, state or nation? Aren’t we all gifted in different areas of talents, skills or functions where we are meant to make a mark or lead? Or when did the synonyms for ‘change’ or ‘leadership’ become ‘politics’?
‘’ What will happen to Nollywood, to our music industry and to our entertainment sector? What happens after the likes of Desmond ‘Olushola’ Elliot, Abolore Akande aka 9ice and Kate Henshaw, get ‘sucked’ into respective political parties, will they still be able to go on set or stage and thrill us their fans creatively and dispassionately?‘’
One would have thought they would know that politics isn’t their terrain. No other people other than our entertainers ought to realize that Nigeria’s Nollywood, music or entertainment industry still has a long way to go, being in dare need of greater creativity, professionalism and dedication to meet up with, and even overtake their counterparts in US or even India, isn’t that what they should think of, sticking to and develop towards? But of course, their thoughts will probably be-they could get to achieve that more easily once they ‘hold power’, and what better way to hold power than the ultimate power tool-Politics, true?
We tend to get real skeptical anytime the relationship between our entertainers and governments get cosier than normal. Wouldn’t they become tools for governments? Will they still be able to speak out against ills or faults in the society? Will they still be able to be the voice of the people, or that of governments that now pay their bills?
Since entertainment is Art, which is known to perform a social function of speaking against societal ills as well as functioning as a kind of check and balance to governments, just like the King of Afro beat music- Fela Anikulapo Kuti did, who used his music to criticize the dirty games the governments of the day played. He wasn’t afraid to speak, despite all the threats and assaults thrown at him and that’s why he is still being celebrated today.
Equally, we’re thinking; ‘’What examples will this development leave in the minds of our younger generation- isn’t it spelling a kind of ill wind that – to ‘make it’ in this country, particularly monetarily, you just must join the big game-Politics?’’
Come to think of it, almost all these politics inclined entertainers belong to a particular platform which in this case is the major opposition party in Nigeria. Does this ring an alarm bell? Doesn’t it feel like these celebrities are potent political marketing tools (to sell and to attract their fans to this particular party) in our nation’s troubled political terrain?
Doesn’t it seem rather interesting that our celebrities would ride on their success, popularity and the seemingly never ending acceptance and support from their fans, only to join to politics, and in political parties, we their fans are opposed to?
Can we please have your thoughts and opinion on this?
Tolulope Ajayi D. and Chinyere Anaele
About Tolulope Ajayi
Tolu might not think of herself as a fashionista, but from her childhood, she’d always loved being creative, and learning to do things on her own, with her hands, most of which fortunately, coincidentally, now have become fashion – she sews, makes hair, makes customized jewelries, shoes, bags, beads, and bakes (well, that may not be part of fashion…lol).
She loves with passion, her career as an Advertising and Marketing Communications Practitioner. Tolu enjoys reading, writing, movies and music. Her favorite fabrics of all times are the Ankara and Chiffon, neckpieces happen to be her most loved fashion accessory.
Tolu’s personal style guideline is what she calls Style C3- Creative, Comfortable and Classy.
About Chinyere Anaele
Anaele Chinyere is a graduate of Theatre Arts, from the University of Benin. She is enjoying a growing career in Media and Communication. She loves looking good, enjoys playing with colors and appreciates people with a good sense of fashion and style. Perfumes are her major fashion weakness.
Chichi loves adventure, travelling, reading and writing poems as well as script for plays. She enjoys baking and experimenting in the kitchen. She’s fulfilled, hates dull moments and doesn’t like being alone or idle.
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