Popular celebrities bought party forms in the 2023 elections to contest for elective positions in Nigeria’s political arena with a view to changing the country’s direction.
For some, the allure of politics has proven too compelling to resist, leading them to throw their hats into the ring and run for public office. While some have been successful others have not been so fortunate.
Below are some celebrities who, despite their popularity, were unable to secure electoral victories
1. Banky W
The Nigerian singer and actor has lost elections twice in a row. In 2019, he ran for the House of Representatives seat in the Eti-Osa Constituency in Lagos State under the platform of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP). Although, he was considered a strong contender, he ultimately lost the election to the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Musiliu Obanikoro. This year, he again ran for the same position but lost to Thadeus Attah of the Labour Party. The ‘Ebutte Metta’ singer, who spoke at ‘The Water Brooks’ church, expressed his disappointment at losing the election.
The politician said he had made plans to celebrate his “highly anticipated win”. In the message titled ‘Faith after a Fall’, the singer said the loss will, however, not stop him from praising God. “God said is it only faith when you win? Because the truth is, your faith in God does not stop you from hurting. But it helps you heal and it helps you deal,” he said.
2. Funke Akindele
The popular Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, also known as Jenifa, is also one of the celebrities who couldn’t secure an election victory. She ran for the seat of Deputy Governor of Lagos State under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). However, she was not successful in her bid to represent the state and lost to the incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Akindele with Adediran AbdulAzeez (Jandor) the PDP governorship candidate polled a total number of 62,449 votes, to come a distant third in the election.
Reacting to the election on her social media handle, precisely twitter, she said: “I’m glad that we could at least speak up. Thank you once again, Lagos, for showing your daughter support. As I consider my next moves in life, I will continue prioritizing the good of the people and the integrity of my position as an advocate for the people. Eko oni baje!”
3. Olumide Oworu
This year, the Nigerian actor best known for his role in the television series ‘The Johnsons,’ contested for a seat in the House of Representatives to represent the Surulere I constituency in Lagos State under the platform of the Labour Party (LP). Although, he was unsuccessful in his bid to secure the seat. He lost to the incumbent, Desmond Elliott of the APC, another celebrity.
However, it was later revealed that Olumide was not on the ballot. Instead, one Mr Bode Adebayo was on the LP ballot contesting for the Surulere constituency 1, not the young actor.
4. Caroline Danjuma
According to the results declared by INEC, Umo Eno of the People’s Democratic Party won the governorship election in Akwa Ibom, where the actress and reality TV star Caroline Danjuma contested for the position of Deputy Governor. The movie star who contested on the African Action Congress (AAC) platform, with her principal, Iboro Otu, came a distant sixth. Umo Eno of the PDP got the most votes, the Young Progressive Party candidate Albert Bassey came second, and APC’s Akanimo Udofia came third. In a statement, the party said Danjuma was picked as a running mate based on her “exemplary life, love for humanity, leadership ability, and commitment towards the betterment of Akwa Ibom communities.”
5. Tuoyo Ideh
Another young public personality that contested a political position in the 2023 elections is Tuoyo Ideh. The reality TV star contested for the House of Representatives, the Warri Federal constituency and lost. Tuoyo, appeared on the popularly Africa must watch reality show, Big Brother Naija’s season 4 tag ‘Pepper Dem’
6. Femi Branch
Veteran Nollywood actor, Femi Branch, was the deputy governorship candidate for Ogun state alongside Tofunmi Ogunronbi under the National Rescue Movement (NRM) party. Femi Branch’s party came a distant 12th in the Ogun state gubernatorial elections. It was a blowout. Femi began his acting career at Obafemi Awolowo University in 1991. That same year he featured in a Yoruba stage play titled Eniyan. He later featured in a movie titled Orisun which means “Origin”. His first appearance on television was in 2003 in an MTN Group television commercial titled “Dance With Me.” He has since starred in over 100 Nigerian movies, a few of which he produced and directed by himself.
7. Tonto Dikeh
Another ace Nollywood actress whose participation in the 2023 elections brought a lot of enthusiasm was Tonto Dikeh who, with her principal, Tonte Ibraye, stirred a lot of hope after their declaration for the Rivers state election. However, the controversial movie star dashed her fans’ hopes of going all out to vote for her when she and her principal announced that they were stepping down for the candidate of the APC, Tonye Cole. Tonto who is also musician and songwriter, has been entangled in many controversies, from her divorce from her ex-husband, Churchill Olakunle, in 2017 to a messy breakup with her ex-lover, Prince Kpokpogiri, in 2021. She hail from Ikwerre, Abio-Okpa, Rivers State, Nigeria. She is the founder of the Tonto Dikeh Foundation established on August 2000 with the goal of lending a helping hand to the less privileged.
In 2015, the singer and songwriter contested for a seat in the House of Representatives to represent the Ogbomosho North/South/ Oriire Federal Constituency in Oyo State. Unfortunately, he lost to a formidable opponent, Prince Akeem Oyewumi, son of the Soun of Ogbomoso, of the All Progressives Congress party, in the Oyo State primary.
9. Kate Henshaw
In 2014, Nollywood actress Kate Henshaw also lost her ticket to represent the Calabar South Federal Constituency under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the party primary held in the state. After the primary election, she took to her Twitter account to address her loss with grace, admitting that it was free and fair while congratulating the winner.