Some see them as unserious. Some see them as jesters. Some think they are never-do-wells but this notion about Nigerian entertainers seems set to change as some entertainers have declared their intention to run for elective positions come 2015.
Currently, Tony One Week and actor Rotimi Makinde are the only entertainers holding elective posts while Richard Mofe Damijo, Toyin Adegbola, Onyenka Owenu, Okey Bakassi are political appointees.
Oyo-born singer, 9ice; multiple award winning actress, Kate Henshaw; gospel singer, Kenny Saint Best, Actor cum director, Desmond Elliot; comedian and Musician, Julius Agwu and Actor Bob Manuel Udokwu are the few who have joined the murky waters of politics and want elective posts come 2015.
While 9ice is seeking to represent Ogbomoso North/South/Orire Constituency at the House of Representatives under the All Progressive Congress, APC, Kate Henshaw wishes to run for the Federal House of Representatives representing Calabar Municipal/Odukpani Federal Constituency, Cross Rivers State, under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
In Lagos, Kenny Saint Best wants to run for the Lagos House of Assembly, representing Ikeja Constituency 1 under the APC, just as Desmond Elliot is contesting for a House of Assembly seat.
Comedian Julius Agwu wants to become the next governor of Rivers State; while Bob Manuel Udokwu interestingly wants to replace another entertainer- Tony One Week – at the Anambra State House of Assembly representing Idemili North Constituency.
In Ogun, actor Yemi Solade has declared his intention to represent Ogun senatorial district under the All Progressives Congress party.
Can the entertainers get their parties’ nod?
A political commentator, Adekoya Boladale, thinks it is unlikely for some of the entertainers to win their primary elections not to talk of general elections.
“Entertainers are widely acknowledged as unserious, rough, wayward and carefree.Nigeria is not California, the people judge public office on a different scale,” Mr. Boladale said.
“Will they be willing to bow to the wishes of the powerfuls in the party? Take APC for instance, there are party members who have been in the party since 2007, will the party dump them for a celebrity whose face only grace the TV?”
Also, filmmaker Charles Novia, in his article, ‘As Our Actors Seek Public Offices, on his blog asked If the entertainers have consulted with the people before declaring.
“Have they made deep political incursions into their wards and councils to intimate the voters about their ambitions? I am talking about real tours of political duties and not some silly wave-of-the-hand tour at the fawning crowd who are more delighted at seeing the screen gods than going out to vote.
“Are they just coming out to declare their intentions to contest, knowing in their hearts that they stand no chance of even getting the tickets from their parties but just hoping to be game changers by ‘settlement’ in which later in the next dispensation they get one plum government appointment?” Mr. Novia wrote.
Agreeing with Mr. Novia, Mr. Boladale doubt the convening capability of the entertainers.
“Words on the street on the aspiration of these entertainers-turn-aspirants is that they are coming in to have a feel of the luxury in politics and I doubt if they are grassroot enough to get themselves votes when primary election comes,” he stated.
Politics because of failed career?
It is perceived in some quarters that some of these entertainers’ careers are facing a downturn. This is particular to the musicians amongst them.
9ice, who is gradually fading away from the limelight and yet to release a hit song since the days of ‘Gongon a’so’ denied experiencing a falling career.
He told Punch newspaper recently that after seven albums, he cannot be classified as a failed artiste and his political ambition was not because he is broke- as perceived among fans.
“If my music career failed, I would not have seven albums under my belt. I am yet to see any of my colleagues that has seven albums. If your music is not appealing, you cannot release seven albums because there would be no marketer to buy them and there would not be any demand for them.
“When there is no demand, there can be no supply. I think some people want me to do what they want but I like doing what I want. If people in the industry are going right, I would go left if I believe that is the way to go. I don’t care if everybody is doing party songs, let them enjoy their party, I have my own principle and I know what I want to become.
“I am stating for a fact that there would be some of my colleagues that would not be remembered 10 years from now because of the kind of songs they have released. I don’t want to be like that. I might not be rich or popular but I would be a legend and that is my priority. My music career has not failed and that is not why I ventured into politics.
“For those saying that I am into politics because I am going broke, I tell them that I am not a rich man, neither am I from a rich family; poverty is not far from me, I am close to it and I am not afraid of it. I have never been an artiste that would flaunt wealth, I cannot be who people want me to be. I would always be myself. I am neither hungry, rich nor poor, so that question doesn’t apply to me. It should be directed at whoever says he is rich, I have never said something like that. I am from a poor family,” 9ice told PUNCH newspaper.
Also denying having a failing career, Kenny Saint Brown said having put 16 years into her musical career, she remained relevant in the music sector having won multiple awards in recent times.
“I am still consistent; I won best gospel artiste of the year in 2010, 2011,2013. I was able to bring change to gospel music, a lot of people cannot make such a change, I brought gospel music to the forefront.” KSB told PUNCH.
Both KSB and 9ice stated that Nigerians should not think once a musician does not have hit or party songs, the musician is a failed artiste.
As it stands, it is not yet celebration time for these entertainers. Their ability to get their political party’s nod will determine their political success.