2023: Why Nigerian Actors Can’t Turn Down Money Offers From Politicians

With just nine months to go until Nigeria’s 2023 general election, some Nigerian artists are sure to smile at the bench. Since the beginning of this democratic dispensation and the advent of social media in Nigeria, politicians have relied on star power and the influence of indigenous artists to garner support during elections. While Nigerian musicians are rarely hired to help get votes except to perform at political rallies, Nollywood, Yoruba, and Kannywood actors have been obvious choices. Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was renowned for pumping funds into the industry and spending money on its stars, especially during campaigns. In the recent past, Kannywood and Nollywood actors have also endorsed the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari. But more recently, Mr. Ibu and Harry Anyanwu backed Bola Tinubu, a chief of the Congress of all progressives (APC), for the presidency of 2023. To this end, a famous Yoruba actor, Taiwo Ibikunle, says that it is difficult for him and his colleagues to turn down monetary offers from politicians to campaign for them before elections. Mr. Ibikunle made this statement in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES at a movie premiere in Maryland, Lagos State. The Osun state-born actor said that as the election draws near, some Nollywood actors will storm the screens and streets campaigning for some candidates ahead of the general election, despite little support from politicians. “If we don’t pay attention to politicians, who will? We need the money too. You collect what you are supposed to collect, knowing that when they come to power, they will no longer remember you. Pay me now. Let me deliver as much as I can now. That is the business we have with them.” He also noted that their Hollywood counterparts also campaign for politicians during election periods. Government contributions to Nollywood Ibikunle also lamented how the government has abandoned the film industry and only remembers them during elections. The actor said that the government only focused on oil without recognizing other aspects of the economy, especially the entertainment industry. The actor complained that despite Nollywood contributing more than 2.3 percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the government abandons the film industry until election periods. “The government has its eyes on the big box, everybody wants to do oil, but we’re going to get to that point where oil may not be useful anymore because some advanced countries now use electric cars, I’m sure very soon.” we would reach that level. They forget that the industry contributes more than 2.3 percent annually to the country’s GDP, just to remind us during the elections,” he said. According to Ibikunle, Nollywood has grown from its inception to worldwide recognition with little to no government support. “We thank God that Nollywood has been moving, we are not static, things are coming out, we have not had a supportive government since its inception and it has affected the industry a lot.” “The government believes that it cannot get anything out of the industry, and only in the elections have we been reminded, and it is quite unfortunate,” he lamented. The growth of Yoruba films Speaking about the growth of Yoruba-language films, the actor stated that Yoruba-language films were the first to be released in theaters and on VHS. ALSO READ: Why Yoruba Movies Have Bad Subtitles – Filmmakers “Yoruba movies have always set the pace. Let me clearly state here that film culture started from cinema, and even the first home video was a Yoruba film.” According to him, many people claim that Nollywood started with ‘Living in bondage’. “They forget that before Living in bondage, there was the first movie produced on VHS. In Nigeria, it was in the 1988s that we saw videos of films like Soso Meji, produced by Ade Ajiboye, and Alade Aromire, produced by Ekun (1989). Currently, most of the movies that are doing well in the industry are Yoruba movies, especially at the box office,” he said. He is known for his leading role in the hit Yoruba movie “Eji Owuru” (2003) and famous for his roles in movies like Omo Ghetto (2010), Ofeefe (2019), Nkan Alejo (2020), The new Patriot (2021) and Strangers (2022). Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; 2023: Why Nigerian Actors Can’t Turn Down Money Offers From Politicians