By Biodun Busari
It will not be totally strange to say that the trio of Nollywood actresses, Funke Akindele, Tonto Dikeh and Caroline Danjuma are acting a monologue in William Shakespeare‘s As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one (wo)man in his time plays many parts…”
These actresses have recently emerged as the deputy governorship candidates of the Lagos state, Rivers state and Akwa Ibom state of Peoples Democratic Party, African Democratic Party and African Action Congress respectively for next general elections.
The three of them have battled marital crises but put them aside to embrace new roles totally different from the film industry which has bought them fame and wealth in the movie industry, as they prepare to manage their respective states affairs if they elected into political offices next year.
With these three beautiful artistes, it could be said that they have a lot of things in common which might make or mar their political ambition in the 2023 general elections.
Funke Akindele, in July 2022, as Lagos deputy governorship candidate to PDP’s governorship candidate, Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, popularly known as Jandor.
Akindele is a 44-year-old multiple award-winning actress. She is a Lagosian, popularly known as Jenifa since the lead role she played in the movie titled Jenifa, which brought her to the limelight in 2008.
She then rose to stardom in another movie with the title Omo Ghetto which earned her nominations and awards in the movie industry.
Apart from her achievements in the entertainment industry, Akindele runs a non-governmental organisation known as the Jenifa Foundation, for offering young people vocational skills.
She also has endorsement contracts including as an Ambassador to Dettol and IrokoTV. In 2018, she was signed as a brand ambassador for Keystone Bank. In November 2019, she signed an endorsement deal with WAW Nigeria, a company that manufactures detergent and bar soap
Without a doubt, all of these feats are a plus to her political career which is just taking off amid her recent marital issue.
Prior to her emergence as the Lagos PDP’s governorship candidate, in June, Akindele’s ex-husband, Abdulrasheed Bello announced separation from her citing irreconcilable differences. She married Adeola Kehinde Oloyede in May 2012 and divorced in 2013.
Akindele, a Law degree graduate from the University of Lagos, speaking about her new challenge said: “My decision is not just to accept this huge responsibility but to also work tirelessly and complement Jandor’s burning desire to see our dear Lagos live up to its full potentials.”
African Democratic Congress (ADC) announced Tonto Dikeh as Rivers State’s deputy governorship candidate to Tonte Ibraye, the governorship candidate.
Tonto Dikeh studied petrochemical engineering at Rivers State University of Science and Technology, but she ventured into acting. She is an actress, singer, songwriter and humanitarian.
On 27 August 2000, Dikeh established her foundation, the Tonto Dikeh Foundation.
She has had a successful acting career and also delved into the music industry, starting with featuring in a music video for Amaco Investments, alongside Patience Ozokwor before she made her music debut by releasing the singles “Hi” and “Itz Ova” in 2012.
She also did another single Crazically Fit featuring Terry G in 2012. Moreso, on 13 June 2014, Nigerian singer D’banj signed her to his record label, DB Records before she announced her departure from DB records in March 2015.
Among her strengths in a political career, she has ventured into are a number of endorsements that could be counted for her influence.
On 24 March 2019, Dikeh was revealed as the brand ambassador for Amstel Malta and two months later, on 23 May 2019, she signed a N100 million endorsement deal with Zikel Cosmetics.
Dikeh, like her Akindele, has battled marital issues as her traditional marriage to Olakunle Churchill which was held in August 2015 crashed in divorce in 2017.
In 2014, she was rumoured to have been in a sexual relationship with Rukky Sanda but debunked.
The 37-year-old actress admitted she has had failures but believed she could achieve success with her political calling.
She said: “I have failed in my life, I am not denying that and everybody has seen that. But am I going to fail with leadership?
“We are looking forward to investing massively in social protection, creating a social value system for young people, increasing women’s inclusion in our governance system, supporting small businesses and strengthening our traditional institutions to be active players in the drive to bring sustainable development to the good people of Rivers State.”
Caroline Danjuma is also known as Caroline Hutchings is the deputy governorship candidate to Iboro Otu, the governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom state of the African Action Congress (AAC).
The 34-year-old Danjuma is a product of a Scottish father and a Nigerian mother born in Maiduguri, Borno state. She studied Environmental Protection Management, Geography and Regional Planning at the University of Calabar, Cross River. She also obtained a certificate of achievement in organizational behaviour from Edinburgh Business School in 2016.
Like the aforementioned Nollywood actresses, Danjuma has had a sterling career in the movie industry. Among her successful films are Deadly Kiss and Missing Angel in 2004, The Captor in 2006. Her latest film was Stalker in 2016, co-starring Jim Iyke and Nse Ikpe Etim. Danjuma is cast on the biggest reality TV show, The Real Housewives.
She has six international and domestic awards and her love for women and children has won her recognition. In August 2017, she was honoured for her advocacy programs centred around building capacities for Nigerian youths by a Pan-African organisation, Mandela Award.
Just like Akindele and Dikeh, she had a marital crisis as her marriage with Musa Danjuma, the younger brother of former defence minister, Theophilus Danjuma, 2007 lasted nine years.
She had a divorce in 2016 and there were reports that her ex-husband wanted to marry the mistress he impregnated.
Despite all these, AAC speaking about her emergence as the deputy governorship candidate believed in her capacity and said; “Chief Mrs Caroline is a hardworking mother of three who is passionate about education for all children and youths, especially women, she’s a supporter and campaigner for women equality, and an advocate for community development through youth and women enterprise.”