The Electoral Act of 2022 set the stage for future polls in Nigeria and 2023 saw celebrities vie in what became the seventh consecutive general election since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. Across the house of assembly and governorship levels, entertainers contested for various offices.


Entertainers, having related with the citizenry at an emotive level, are easily assumed by same to have the interests of the common people at heart. They risk their reputation and years of industry goodwill to try for public office.

It has become a reoccurring pattern over the years for actors and musicians to pivot into politics, promising to ramp up the blossoming of Nigeria’s creative industry and help realise its potential of becoming a major revenue generator.

But the majority of Nigeria’s showbusiness personalities who vied in the 2023 election suffered a mortifying defeat.


Funke Akindele’s run falls through

Funke Akindele, the actress-producer, stepped forward in 2022 as the running mate of Abdul Azeez Olajide Adediran, the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, for the state poll.

Akindele pulled a much-criticised TV appearance to talk about her party’s blueprint for the commercial capital.

Funke Akindele breaks silence on election loss
Funke Akindele

At the election on March 18, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the incumbent governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), defeated Abdul-Azeez Adediran, alias Jandor.

Sanwo-Olu won with 762, 134 votes, beating the Labour Party (LP) candidate Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour who scored 312,329. The two were followed by Abdul-Azeez Adediran and his running mate Akindele who polled 62,449 votes.

“It was an absolute learning curve for me. A lot of things have been learned and unlearned. I sincerely do not regret taking this huge step of running for office,” said Akindele in response to public opinions on her election loss.

“As I consider my next moves in life, I will continue prioritizing the good of the people and the integrity of my position as an advocate for the people.”


Tonto Dikeh, Tonte Ibraye spin low numbers

Dikeh has long nursed a political ambition, priming herself for years to run for governor in her state.

Don't sleep with 100 men just to get new iPhone 11, Tonto Dikeh tells ladies
Tonto Dikeh

In June 2022, she was nominated as a running mate to Tonte Ibraye, the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Rivers.

However, Siminialayi Fubara, the candidate of the PDP, won the Rivers governorship election.


Tonye Cole of the APC, his closest challenger, polled 95,274 votes.

Magnus Abe, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, had 46,981 votes while Beatrice Itubo of the LP got 22,224 votes.

Ibraye and her entertainer running mate were nowhere close to these numbers.

Desmond Elliot scores third term in Surulere


He is the exception. Elliot has been on the receiving end of heavy backlash from the youth over his choice of words during the police brutality protests of 2020, so much so that he had to issue an apology.

Desmond Elliot wins Lagos assembly seat again
Desmond Elliot

Yet, the actor-turned-politician retained his place for a third term as a member of the Lagos state assembly representing Surulere 1 Constituency.

Elliot was named the winner with 17,837 votes while Bode Adebayo, the candidate of the LP, came second with 7,822 votes.

PDP’s Sulaimon Aderemi came third with 1,045 votes, and Esebamen Aigbokhaode of ADC came fourth with 81 votes.

Elliot contested and won the Surulere Constituency 1 seat in 2015 under the APC. After four years in office, he was re-elected for the second term as a lawmaker in 2019.

LP jinxes Banky W’s second try for Eti-Osa at reps

After the national assembly polls, which were held on February 25 alongside the presidential election, Thaddeus Attah of the LP was declared the winner of the Eti-Osa federal constituency seat in the house of representatives.

Prior to the election, it was something of a wide-held take that Bankole Wellington had a real shot at winning.

Banky W finally speaks on election loss to LP candidate
Banky W

He was vocal during the youth-led protests of 2020 against police brutality and gained the support of the young.

In May 2022, Banky W won his party’s primaries but the result slip showed another candidate as the winner.

This had sparked controversy, prompting the scheduling of a rerun election that the singer-turned-politician won.

LP shot into prominence from relative obscurity on the back of its 2023 presidential candidate Peter Obi’s populist movement, giving the party something of an edge over its rivals at the house of reps level as well during the polls.

This, of course, edged out Banky W, who had similarly contested in the 2019 election to represent Eti-Osa in the lower chamber of the national assembly under the platform of the Modern Democratic Party and lost.

For the 2023 polls, the winner Attah scored 24,075 votes to beat Banky W of the PDP, who had 18,666 votes, and Babajide Obanikoro of the APC, who had 16,901 votes.

Femi Branch

Femi Branch knocked out as incumbent retains Ogun

Dapo Abiodun, the incumbent governor in Ogun, won the state’s 2023 governorship guber under the APC.

Abiodun secured 276,298 votes, while the PDP came second with 262,383 votes. The African Democratic Congress (ADC) polled a distant third with 94,754 votes.

Femi Branch was running mate to Tofunmi Ogunronbi, the candidate of the National Rescue Movement (NRM).

The actor-turned-politician, his running mate, and their party came nowhere close to the winning numbers.

Caroline Danjuma loses

Among other entertainers who also vied in the 2023 polls is Caroline Danjuma who was unveiled as the running mate of Iboro Otu, the 2023 governorship candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in Akwa Ibom state.

The PDP candidate Umo Eno won 29 of the 31 LGAs in the state, racking up 354,348 votes to topple his rivals.

Copyright 2024 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.

Follow us on twitter @Thecablestyle