Different strokes for different folks. Ever since some entertainers declared their intention to seek elective offices, the decision has been welcomed with mixed reaction and several controversies.
The likes of Desmond Elliot, 9ice and KSB are some of the entertainers who have gone under public scrutiny over their political ambition.
For popular Nollywood actor, Desmond Elliot, whose eye is set on the Lagos State House of Assembly, the bone of contention has been on the name ‘Olushola’ which he has adopted.
Until recently, a lot of Nigerians did not know the actor is a Yoruba man till his campaign posters surfaced online. In a chat with Saturday Beats, the actor said that he has never denied his ethnicity. He said that while growing up, the name everybody called him was Shola.
“Where I grew up in Surulere they know me by the name Shola and that is what they call me. I use Desmond Elliot which is my first and last name for my profession basically because I wanted to remain neutral, you could not tell where I come from. It is not because I am ashamed of where I come from. If I was, I would not be involved in Yoruba films or any Yoruba events neither will my kids have Yoruba names,” he said.
For those who still doubt his roots, the dark skinned movie producer said that his father is from Lagos Island while his mother is from Delta State.
Elliot said, “In the interviews that I have done, I have never denied that I am Yoruba, I always mentioned my names. People have always guessed where I come from and I left it open because truthfully I am a Nigerian. I am a Yoruba man and I would never deny other tribes that I have come in contact with. I am Yoruba by birth, I schooled in the North, I married someone from the South and my mother is from Delta State.
“I am from Olowogbowo in Lagos Island; it is not something that is hidden. I tell people that say I don’t identify with the Yoruba race that I do so because I have done several Yoruba movies. At what point did the name become an issue, have I not been a worthy citizen of Lagos State?”
Although the name Abolore Akande might not ring a bell, when 9ice is mentioned, the song Gongo Aso readily comes to mind. When the singer made public his intention to contest for a seat in the House of Representatives, many thought it was because of his dwindling career.
But the singer told Saturday Beats that he had not failed in his career having seven albums under his belt. He also debunked speculations that his foray into politics is because he is going broke.
“If my music career failed, I would not have seven albums under my belt. I am yet to see any of my colleagues that has seven albums. If your music is not appealing, you cannot release seven albums because there would be no marketer to buy them and there would not be any demand for them. When there is no demand, there can be no supply. I think some people want me to do what they want but I like doing what I want. If people in the industry are going right, I would go left if I believe that is the way to go. I don’t care if everybody is doing party songs, let them enjoy their party, I have my own principle and I know what I want to become. I am stating for a fact that there would be some of my colleagues that would not be remembered 10 years from now because of the kind of songs they have released. I don’t want to be like that. I might not be rich or popular but I would be a legend and that is my priority. My music career has not failed and that is not why I ventured into politics. “For those saying that I am into politics because I am going broke, I tell them that I am not a rich man, neither am I from a rich family; poverty is not far from me, I am close to it and I am not afraid of it. I have never been an artiste that would flaunt wealth, I cannot be who people want me to be. I would always be myself. I am neither hungry, rich nor poor, so that question doesn’t apply to me. It should be directed at whoever says he is rich, I have never said something like that. I am from a poor family,” 9ice said.
Shortly after his candidate’s last week, his ex-wife, Tony Payne, tweeted advising people to be sure of their candidate and not to vote based on the candidate popularity. The message soon went viral with many people claiming that it was aimed at the singer.
Reacting to the remarks, 9ice said that as far as his name was not mentioned in the message, it was not aimed at him.
“As far as my name, constituency and race was not mentioned, I don’t believe it has anything to do with me. It might just be a coincidence but if someone comes out and says, ‘People check Akande Abolore very well before voting for him,’ then I would know it is directed at me. I don’t take assumptions for a direct message,” he said.
Also, his colleague in the industry, Kenny Saint Best, claimed that her venture into politics is not because of a failing career.
She said, “What is the yardstick for measuring success? If for 16 years I have been leading the pack; I have been part of the revolution in Nigerian music, even in the gospel sector, where are the people we started doing music together? You have to check my contemporaries. The problem with Nigerians is that they believe when you are not the rave of the moment, you are not successful and that is not true. You don’t have to always lead the pack and also you don’t have to be at the tail end, it pays to be in the middle and be consistent. I don’t have any other business aside doing music; it is music that has sustained me. Everything I do revolves round music. They say all this because I don’t make noise; if I want to make noise, Baba Keke is there to make noise for me from now till eternity. But the kind of platform I have would give others the opportunity to thrive, so I intentionally allowed my brother to downplay me. Jaywon, Tuface have come and gone but there is still KSB, it was his responsibility to give them the same platform he gave his sister at a point in time. I am still consistent; I won best gospel artiste of the year in 2010, 2011,2013. I was able to bring change to gospel music, a lot of people cannot make such a change, I brought gospel music to the forefront.”