celebrity politics

Nigeria: Actress Funke Akindele to run for deputy governor of Lagos State

By ‘Tofe Ayeni

Posted on July 13, 2022 16:10

 © PDP Lagos State ticket. From Twitter
PDP Lagos State ticket. From Twitter

On Tuesday 12 July, popular Nollywood actress Olufunke ‘Funke’ Akindele announced she would be the deputy governor candidate for the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Lagos State, the country’s economic capital.

The Nollywood star, best known for her ‘Jenifa’ character, has a law degree from the University of Lagos. On Twitter, Akindele said she believed she would be a “breath of fresh air” in politics.

She will be running alongside Azeez Olajide Adediran, a journalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist popularly known as Jandor.

In a video on Instagram explaining her decision to join the ticket, Akindele said: “I saw it as an opportunity to help liberate and improve the wellbeing of our people, particularly the deprived youth, women and the girl child.”

Acting and trying new things

Akindele started acting in 1998 when she starred in the sitcom ‘I Need to Know’. Her big break more than a decade ago: hit movies Jenifa and Jenifa 2. Many people wondered what would happen to her showbiz career.

The actress said: “I am not unaware of the cost of this assignment on vibrant career, which I must now necessarily put on hold. It’s a huge personal sacrifice. My resolve is that no sacrifice is too huge for the actualisation of the urgent mission to rescue our people and our dear state.”

Akindele and her allies face an uphill battle for votes in Lagos. The ruling All Progressive Congress’s (APC) presidential aspirant Bola Ahmed Tinubu is commonly called the “godfather of Lagos”. Since his two terms as governor from 1999-2007, he has been a kingmaker. Current governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is a Tinubu loyalist that has served one term, and pollsters predict he will win the election again.

From Nollywood into office

Akindele is by no means the only Nollywood star venturing into politics. Earlier this year, another popular actress, Tonto Dikeh, launched her run for deputy governor of Rivers State under the African Democratic Congress banner.

Other examples include:

  • Bankole Wellington, an actor and singer known as Banky W, who won the PDP primary ticket for the Eti-Osa constituency in Lagos State in the federal house of representatives ahead of 2023;
  • Desmond Elliot, an actor currently representing the Surulere constituency in the Lagos State house of assembly, won the governing APC ticket for a third term;
  • Femi Adebayo, a popular Yoruba Nollywood actor, was a special adviser on arts, culture and tourism to then governor of Kwara State Abdulfatah Ahmed. He is now running to be a senator in the upcoming elections;
  • And Bob-Manuel Udokwu is an actor and has held roles in three different administrations in Anambra State, including being the special assistant on creative media when current Labour Party presidential aspirant, Peter Obi, was governor.

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