Prior to the 2023 general election, the Nigerian political space witnessed a lot of dynamics, with various political parties handing A-list Nollywood stars their party tickets.
However, there were assumptions that celebrities lack knowledge of politics and that the political arena should be left to professionals.
Some political gladiators also claimed that the presence of a celebrity in a political party would only increase the publicity but most likely will not get the needed electoral value or translate to victory.
Surprisingly, Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele, during an interview on Channels TV, bragged about having a huge number of followers that will vote for her in the election.
She said: “I have the numbers. I have fans and followers. I’m true to myself. I have over 19 to 20 million fans on social media”
The outcome of the election shows that celebrity popularity may not always translate to votes.
In this article, Rant HQ highlights six Nigerian celebrities that suffered defeats in the 2023 election despite their huge fan base and popularity.
1. Banky W: Before the election, the singer cum actor was optimistic about winning the Eti-Osa House of Representatives seat under the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, with a landslide victory. He lost to the ‘unpopular’ Labour Party (LP) candidate, Attah Thaddeus.
2. Funke Akindele: The filmmaker and PDP Lagos Governorship candidate, Abdul-Azeez Adediran, popularly Jandor, also anticipated winning the election until the ‘Obidient tsunami’ gained momentum.
Funke who could not even win her polling unit deleted all campaign photos and videos from her Instagram page before the incumbent governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu was declared the winner of the election.
3. Olumide Oworu: There were high expectations that the Nollywood actor, will unseat his senior colleague, Desmond Elliot at Surulere 1 constituency, sadly, his name was not officially entered into the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) portal as the Labour Party candidate.
Olumide claimed that INEC failed to enter his name due to some reason and was replaced by Adebayo Bode, as the official LP candidate for the election.
4. Tonto Dikeh: The controversial actress alongside her principal, Tonte Ibraye, governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Rivers State failed to secure many supporters for their campaign rallies.
A day before the election, Tonto’s party collapsed its structure to support the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Tonye Cole but they still performed poorly at the election.
5. Carolyna Hutchings: The actress was the running mate to the African Action Congress governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Iboro Otu, before stepping down a day before the election.
The election was eventually won by PDP candidate, Umo Eno.
6. Femi Branch: The veteran Nollywood actor was the running mate to the Ogun State governorship candidate of the National Rescue Movement, (NRM) Tofunmi Ogunronbi.
The NRM and other political parties lost to the incumbent governor and APC candidate, Dapo Abiodun.
Femi Branch’s celebrity status couldn’t influence the voters as his party was among the bottom losers.
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