By Tony O.
We have recently endured a tumultuous period in the political world and have been continually bombarded with information to the point that it is difficult to know what to believe.
Fame will open doors for celebrities, but there is an exciting and downside part to it. The downside of it is that it mostly likely won’t translate to votes in the political space.
Many would argue that celebrities should not involve themselves in politics simply because entertainers should entertain and leave politics to the ‘professionals’.
That is assuming that celebrities are uneducated about the politics and political arena that they want to play in, and do not know what they are talking about.
This is an unfair assumption as many celebrities are passionate about the subject and want to see the right changes made. But a celebrity can make the needed electoral impact, when such a celebrity understudy in a political party first before delving into the space.
Mabel Oboh is a good example of notable celebrities that got into the space firstly by being ADC’s publicity secretary in Lagos State and worked closely with the party’s national body. She made a remarkable impact in Edo gubernatorial election 2020 by coming fourth position under the umbrella of ADC.
Yul Edochie’s political gubernatorial entrance with DPC party was not that of a good example, although he contested and got minimal votes. It could be presumed that he delve into contesting for the governorship position, relying on his fame without much grounding in politics.
This is why some political parties need to wake up and do what has to be done. Certainly, any party that complements an already weak ticket with a celebrity, thinking it will get the needed electoral value, clearly does not understand how volatile Nigerian voters are.
Yes, it will increase the publicity but most likely won’t get the needed electoral value and so cannot translate to victory. A strong political gladiator can comfortably work with a celebrity, but it won’t work if a weak politician in the eye of the electorate, throws a celebrity into the mix.
On the international scene, we have seen Anold Schwarzenegger, who was governor of California, USA. This is strong character blending with political weight. He is one of many. On the local scene is singer Banky W, actress Tonto Dike, Desmond Elliot and many others.
How the entertainers-turned politicians are faring is common knowledge. So parties, irrespective of the expected gains, must make people go through the works as party men before handing them tickets.
With the recent push by political parties handing celebrities tickets instead of its loyalty party members or statesmen, the political parties are derailing and are also moving towards the wrong directions — certain defeat.
The question is, is celebrity fame and political fame the same? How does it impact on the electorate? Are some political parties getting it wrong? Only a few will ever get to know how the parties arrive at some policies and/or choices.
Tony O., wrote in from Lagos.