Nigerian Artistes Endorsing Political Candidates: Consequences And Benefits.
The Koko-master D’banj has always been a Goodluck Jonathan fan from day one, Timi Dakolo, Sammy Okposo are most likely on the list too alongside several other Nollywood celebrities. Just recently, we’ve been made to understand that artistes such as Dj Jimmy Jatt, Praiz, Olu Maintain, Skales and others have pitched their tent with Team Buhari in the upcoming elections. Like every move, action or decisions we make in life, there are benefits and consequences. Fortunately or unfortunately, Nigeria runs a ‘winner takes all’ kind of politics where losers are often times driven into oblivion.
Nigerian entertainers queuing up to identify with Politicians or Presidential candidates must be prepared for the positive or negative effect this move will have on their respective careers. In 2011, D’banj aggressively campaigned for Goodluck Jonathan (and he’s subtly doing same this election season), when Jonathan won, D’banj’s career also blossomed simultaneously. The Koko master gained access to vital connections that helped his music with hits after hits, ‘Oliver Twist’ being the climax – Some form of ‘good luck’ did follow D’banj up until his split with Don Jazzy.
Even though D’banj’s music career is currently experiencing a downward swing, commercial endorsements have not stopped coming, especially government related programmes such as the Agricultural business initiative (Coco na Chocolate). Pro-government Nollywood celebrities have not been left out from these fringe benefits. The benefits I’m talking about here may not necessarily be linked with bribery or corruption; it just comes with the territory.
In Nigeria (and I dare say almost everywhere else) most big businesses and big business owners are ‘connected’ with the government of the day, directly or indirectly. Hence, whenever such businesses have extra money to spend on concerts and brand endorsements, they tend to look for either trending celebrities or ‘government friendly’ ones. Most of us can recall Eedris Abdulkareem’s “Nigeria Jaga-jaga” and Tony Tetuila’s “E go beta” episode during the Obasanjo administration (1999-2007). While Eedris’ career suffered because many powerful corporate sponsors and show promoters snubbed him, Tony Tetuila on the other hand was allowed to flourish.
Nigerian Artistes that have recently stepped out for Buhari must be prepared for any sudden eventualities in their respective careers if he wins or loses. Same goes for those in Jonathan’s camp.
Ultimately, the best bet would have been for Nigerian artistes to remain politically neutral and focus solely on using their talents to make money, or using their music to change society like Fela did.
However, this may be asking too much considering the fact that most of our artistes just like every other Nigerian cannot do without politics. Even Fela Anikulapo Kuti had his own political movement.