2023: 5 Nigerian Celebrities who pursued a career in politics

Nigerian celebs in Politics

In a bid to satisfy the clamour for youth participation and inclusion in politics, certain Nigerian celebrities have taken up the baton of leadership to pioneer change and development in the country.

Although there are narratives that these actors, celebrities and singers may not have been qualified in terms of experience, many have appreciated their courage and boldness to volunteer to provide leadership for Nigeria.

Ahead of the upcoming 2023 elections, these Nigerian celebrities have volunteered to join the race, while other celebrities have contested their interests for a political post in the past-newbies have also put forward their interests.

This article will highlight and explore Nigerian celebrities who picked up political interests on second thought.

1. Desmond Elliot

The Nollywood star and director began his acting career playing soap operas, "Everday People", "Sinners", and others. An award-nominated actor who starred in "Men who cheat" and "Atlanta" was a recipient of three major nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2009 for his co-produced and co-directed movie "Reloaded".

However, Desmond Elliot, a father of four, dumped his acting career in 2014 to pursue his new interest in politics. The 48-year-old actor contested and was elected as a lawmaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Surulere Constituency, on the 11th of April 2015, after the Nigerian General Elections.

During the ENDSARS protest of October, Desmond received severe backlash for supporting the Anti-Social Media Bill in Nigeria. Although the Nollywood actor turned politician denied it, there are alleged claims that he wasn't telling the truth.

Desmond Elliot's political career has not been a bed of roses, as Nigerians have constantly called him out for being insensitive and the alleged cause of all of the problems in Nigeria. In 2020 he had to apologise after he made remarks about youths being "children".

2. Bankole Wellington (Banky W)

Olubankole Wellington is a Nigerian actor, musician, and husband to actress Adesua Etomi. He ventured into the political space to lead his constituency Eti-Osa, on November 11, 2018.

Banky W, who is known for being behind the record label that brought Wizkid to limelight presented his interest to vie for the seat in Nigeria's House of Representatives, under Modern Democratic Party, formed in 2017. Unfortunately, on February 23, 2019, he lost the election.

Undeterred, Banky W announced interest in running again via his Instagram page in a video on April 1, 2022. Banky W contested and won the Eti-Osa federal constituency primary ticket under the People's Democratic Party ahead of the 2023 elections.

3. Funke Akindele

Funke Akindele is a Nigerian actress popularly known as Jemifa for her role in comedy drama.

The actress, director, and producer with over 20 years of experience in the Entertainment industry has also abandoned her career to run as the gubernatorial candidate for the People's Democratic Party; a path she announced via her Instagram page on July 13, 2022

Funke Akindele is running as the Deputy of Dr Abdul Azeez Olajide Adediran in the 2023 Lagos governorship elections. The Nollywood actress-turned-political candidate further confirmed the announcement via Twitter threads.

4. Tonto Dikeh

One of Nigeria's most controversial celebrities, Tonto Dikeh, is also vying for a political position ahead of 2023. An indigene of Rivers State, Tonto Dikeh is the running mate of Mr Tonte Ibraye ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Rivers State.

The announcement has received mixed reactions on the internet, largely due to Tonto's reputation as a controversial personality. Dikeh and Ibraye will battle against Siminialayi Fubara and Tonye Cole, who are candidates of PDP and APC.

Tonto Dikeh and Tonte Ibraye are running under the African Democratic Congress party.

5. Yul Edochie

The Nigerian actor Yul Edochie, son of veteran actor Pete Edochie, expressed ambition to contest in Anambra State after the ‘Not Too Young To Run bill was passed earlier this year. 

Under the Democratic People’s Congress umbrella, the movie star got only 145 votes during the Anambra governorship elections in 2017.

In 2018, he started his interest in running for the presidency but later backed out of the race. 

Yul Edochie was later appointed as the Senior Special Assistant to the Anambra state governor, Willy Obiano, on Creative and Entertainment Media.

During his birthday on January 7, 2021, Yul Edochie announced his intentions to join the presidential race again and got endorsed by his father, Pete Edochie.

On May 1, 2022, he reconfirmed his desire to run for the presidency. However, the actor's reputation came into question after he announced the birth of his son to his second wife, Judy Austin. His announcement did not sit well with his first wife, May Edochie, who rained God's judgment on Yul and his mistress.

Fans and netizens have told Yul to abandon his political ambition because of his controversial announcement and extramarital affairs.