by Adie Vanessa Offiong & Bashir Musa Liman
‘Watch out, the entertainers are coming,’ seems to be the loud but unspoken warning to political enthusiasts in recent times. In the last few weeks, the media has been agog with news of entertainers declaring political ambitions.
From both Kannywood and Nollywood, Abba Al-Mustapha, Nura Hussain, Kate Henshaw, 9ice, Julius Agwu, Bob Manuel Udokwu and Desmond Elliot, among others, had declared their intention to take their services of the nation a huge step further by going into politics come 2015. Amidst criticisms, which some of them have been greeted with, they have gone ahead to state clearly what their intentions are as fans hope it is not a case of mistaking entertainment fame for political fame.
“The sky is not my limit, it’s my starting point,” Al-Mustapha was quoted to have said recently. His political ambition may very well fit this description. He is contesting for a seat at the Senate under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The 36-year-old from Gwale Local Government Area of Kano State, came into limelight for his role in the Hausa movie ‘Ruda,’ where he played the lead character.
Al-Mustapha’s most memorable role in movies was in the blockbuster, ‘Jarumai,’ where he teamed with big stars in the Hausa film genre like Ali Nuhu, Sani Danja, Aminu Shariff (Momo) and Ibrahim Maishinku.
Nura Hussain has been in filmmaking since 1997, beginning with ‘Zarge,’ produced by Sarauniya Film Production based in Kano. His humility and courteous disposition earned him a lot of respect and admiration from his fans and the industry as a whole.
He combined the running of Al-Ansar Islamiyya School with acting before delving into politics in 2007 when he ran for councillorship on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party for Kano Municipal ward.
On why he joined politics, Hussain said: “I want to do anything that will have impact on people. At the beginning I was running a school; then I ventured into acting which also educates and enlightens people. Now I’m in politics to solve the problems of people.”
There is rumour that he will contest for the state House of Assembly under Kano Municipal constituency; a rumour he has neither denied nor confirmed.
Hamisu Lamido Iyantama
Hamisu Lamido Iyantama is one of the founding fathers of the Hausa film industry, Kannywood. He is an actor, producer and director. He ventured into active politics in 2006 and for governor on the ticket of the Action Democratic (AD) during 2007 elections.
His political ambition was thwarted after he was sentenced to 15 months in prison by a mobile court for not registering his film ‘Tsintsiya’ (The Broom) with the Kano State Censorship Board. He won his appeal at the Court of Appeal in Kaduna where he was acquitted. ‘Tsintsiya’ won the 2008 Zuma Award for Best Film on social issues.
The 46-year-old actor is not in active politics now, but there is speculation that he will make a u-turn and contest the 2015 elections. What is equally not certain is which post he would gun for.
Newest on the bloq is Anthony Olanrewaju Awotoye, popularly known as Tony Tetuila, who declared his intention to run for Kwara State House of Assembly as member representing Irepodun Local Government Area, last Thursday.
The ‘My car’ crooner who was a member of the defunct music group ‘The Remedies’, following his split from the group recorded success as a solo artist; but has lately not done much in the industry.
Fielding questions from journalists, Kate Henshaw, whose intention is “to do, make noise and leave when the ovation is loudest,” has emphasised that she is not quitting acting for politics. “I’ll take a break to serve the larger population of Nigeria; I won’t quit (acting). Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor and is back to acting again. Four, eight years, that’s the limit… you can hold me to my words,” she said.
Henshaw said a prolonged stay in politic office is reason for many of Nigeria’s problems and corruption by government officials. She also said she has no money to share and added that she was not going into politics for financial gains, but to “push” herself to improve the country.
It has been reported that the A-list actress has officially kicked off her campaign to contest for the Calabar Municipality/Odukpani constituency seat in the House of Representatives under the PDP.
Thanking fans and supporters for their birthday wishes on her Instagram page, she said: “My desire to serve is true, but I cannot say much right now because there is definitely a lot of work to be done on my part and firm decisions made. We must recognise and remember that change cannot come, if we all sit back in the shadows complaining silently. I want to try.”
Henshaw has been attacked on twitter by a fan who called her a ‘prostitute’ following her declaration. A comment she hasn’t responded to.
The mother of one has starred in no less than 200 movies since her 1993 chance entry into Nollywood when she acted in ‘When the sun sets’.
The ‘Street Credibility’ co-crooner 9ice, most famous for his hit ‘Gongo Aso,’ has announced he will be venturing into politics and contest for the Oyo State House of Assembly.
His recent Instagram posts described as aligning with this ambition, 9ice informed his fans of his intentions via the same medium. He said: “Your Honourable Come 2015. Ogbomosho North Constituency.”
Born Alexander Ajifolajifaola, on January 17, 1980, 9ice actively began his music career in 2000 and has won the ‘Revelation of the Year Award’ and the ‘Best Male Vocal Performer’ in the 2008 edition of the Hip Hop World Awards held in Nigeria. A month later, he was nominated in the category of Best New Artiste at the first SoundCity Music Video Awards.
Moving away from lawmakers, Julius Agwu is aiming to be governor of Rivers State come 2015. Speaking about his intentions and asking his fans’ prayers, the famous comedian wrote: “#RIVERS2015 ‘the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…’ #Eccl 9:11 emoji After pressure from my people to lead them come 2015… I have finally decided to take the #BOLDSTEP emoji? My Party will be unveiled in due course. Please say a word of #Prayer4me.”
Toying with the possibility of this declaration being a joke, a report said: “Knowing Julius this could all be one big joke…but if he is indeed serious about his governorship ambitions, he will be joining other entertainers like Desmond Elliot and singer 9ice who have announced their political ambitions.”
Better known for his ‘Crack ya ribs’ and ‘Laff for Christ Sake’ comedy series, 41 year-old Agwu is a Theatre Arts graduate and had his first major break in 1996, when he featured in the first edition of ‘Night of a Thousand Laughs.’
Renowned Yoruba and Nollywood actor, Yemi Solade announced he would run for office via his twitter account where he shared his campaign poster. He declared he would seek election into the Senate under the All Progressives’ Congress (APC).
As an actor, Yemi has featured in several hit movies, especially in the Yoruba section of Nollywood as well as a number of TV soap operas. He is famous for his role in ‘Super Story.’
Starting when he was 27-years-old, Solade has been in the profession for over 30 years now and directed his first movie, ‘Bogiri O Balanu,’ last year.
Kenny St. Brown
Gospel singer Kehinde Ogungbe, popularly called Kenny St. Brown, is the younger sister of Kennis Music chief executive, Kenny Ogungbe and was once married to Eddy Brown of 1990s pop group, Remedies. She is eyeing a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly and recently unveiled her campaign posters.
Contesting on the APC platform to represent Ikeja Constituency 1, Kenny changed her name in June 2013 to Kenny St. Best, following her divorce process. According to her: “‘I’ve been separated from my ex for close to six years now, and I’ve never really filed for a divorce before that, but now I want to do that and the divorce proceedings are already on.
“I never thought I would have to drop the name ‘Brown.’ But after Whitney died, you know there is a kinda similarity with her too, I just didn’t want to identify with that at all, if something is ‘ex,’ it has expired.”
Desmond Elliot is running for Lagos State House of Assembly. In a recent interview he explained why he is vying for public office. He said: “The current situation is very pathetic. I feel God has helped me thus far and I want to give back through politics that will be favourable to the youths.”
He added that: “The worst part of our national life is that the level of corruption has not allowed youths to understand what it means to live a meaningful life. Just because of lack of knowledge of what to do, we are being side-tracked. There are no jobs and issues like these lead to frustration.”
Born to a Yoruba father and an Igbo mother, Elliot warmed his way into the hearts of many Nigerians for his formidable acting in works like ‘Everyday People’ and ‘Reloaded’ amongst others. The actor cum director has received various recognitions, including nominations for the Best Actor category at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards (2009, 2010).
The father of four has also been involved in the ‘volunteer-based non-profit, non-religious, non-political organisation established to give hope to the hopeless’ with a goal to fix child illiteracy in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Bob Manuel Udokwu
Bob Manuel Udokwu is the Senior Special Adviser on Nollywood & Entertainment affairs to the Anambra State Governor. On September 3 he declared his intention to run for the Anambra State of Assembly to represent Idemili North constituency but has not stated his chosen platform.
Soliciting the support and prayers of his fans, Udokwu said: “This move is to help develop and transform the state in line with the vision of the present administration. Also, to help develop Idemili North area and make it the constituency to beat in the state.”
Udokwu first hit limelight with his appearance in the hit soap opera, ‘Checkmate,’ as a supporting lead actor. In 1992, he went on to debut in the home video ‘Living in Bondage.’ Since then he has made one epic rise to another on Nigeria’s entertainment scene, including hosting the Ultimate Search reality show.