It is clear that Nigerian celebrities are beginning to pull their weights in the political space at the moment to the delight of their fans.
From Funke Akindele emerging as a deputy governorship candidate in Lagos State, to Tonto Dikeh also emerging as a deputy governorship candidate in Rivers State, celebrities in Nigeria are clearly making political statements.
However, the trio of Kanayo O. Kanayo, Yul Edochie and Kate Henshaw who participated in previous elections have all opted out for one reason or another.
Kanayo O. Kanayo who contested in the National Assembly elections in 2019 to represent Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise Federal Constituency of Imo State has failed to show up for 2023. Based on his earlier venture in politics, many people were expecting him to contest again in 2023 but the reverse is the case.
Kanayo finally revealed he was not contesting. He gave his reasons as thus: “I will not contest for any political office in 2023. This sacrifice is to enable me to work for a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction.”
Yul Edochie had contested for the governorship seat on the platform of the Democratic Peoples Congress, DPC in Anambra 2017 and lost and even served as a special adviser to Willie Obiano until 2019 when he left APGA to join the PDP in a bid to support the Atiku Abubakar presidential bid.
Early in the year, rumours had it that he was going for the biggest of all in 2023, by seeking to become the president of Nigeria. His fans were however shocked to later read in the news that Yul decided to pull out of the presidential race. He claimed he was pulling out of the elections because the party he intended to use to achieve his dream, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has no capacity at the moment to win a presidential seat.
“I wanted to run for President with APGA. After much consultations and meetings, we sat and did our evaluations. We put sentiments aside and embraced facts. Our party is good but does not have the capacity at the moment to win a Presidential seat. So I didn’t move further”, he tweeted, thereby ending his ambition to be president.
Kate Henshaw contested a seat to represent the Municipal/Odukpani Federal Constituency of Cross River State at the National Assembly in 2015 under the People’s Democratic Party. So when other celebrities started declaring their intentions to seek electoral posts, many people expected her to declare her intentions. Unfortunately, she didn’t.
Sharing her experience in 2015, she said: “I didn’t have a budget, I just knew I needed money to run the campaign office, pay people to work with me. I didn’t really have a budget at hand. I wish I had, maybe I won’t have even started. Because I found out that most of the consultations I went to, the men would ask me “do you have enough in your war chest?” I was like “what is a war chest?” That is when I found out that it’s “how much money do you have to throw around.”