The role of entertainers in influencing the decisions of their fans in favour or against a cause has always been exploited fully by political parties and candidates in Nigeria.
Whether for personal interest or not, the role of showbiz stars in this year’s elections is more than just supporting a political party or candidate; our favorite stars are moving beyond the big screens and farther from the vocal booths to the seat of power – with most aspiring to be law makers at state or federal level.
In 2015, we saw the likes of Desmond Elliot, 9ice, Tony One Week, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Kate Henshaw, Dayo Adeneye (aka D1), Funke Adesiyan, Kenny Saint Brown, Ben Bruce ran for elective offices during their respective party primaries. Some won; while some lost out.
Those who didn’t make it through the primaries counted their losses and moved on to supporting their comrades who were still in the race in their respective political parties, especially at the federal level, perhaps for compensations as usual. As it is a tradition in the Nigeria’s marred political system that those who lose out or step down for another during elections are compensated with political appointments in one area or another; qualified or not.
Interestingly, the election campaigns this year have unarguably been one of the most pulsating and captivating in the recent history of Nigeria, especially in the current democratic dispensation which began when former Military Head of State, Abdusallam Abubakar handed over to the democratically elected president, Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo on May 29, 1999.
Partisan politics have been the order of this dispensation as a lot of attention has always been placed more on the parties rather than the candidates. The elections this year though, is seeing an interesting deviation of sorts from this as the focus is more on the candidates – most especially at the presidential level – than the parties.
This is so much so that, at this point in time, virtually all the voters in the country presently root for only two presidential candidates: Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar. This is a bit different at the State and other levels across the country though; the choice of preferred candidates still rides largely on which political platform holds sway in that region.