The President’s Friends In Showbiz
Until the democratic era of President Goodluck Jonathan, the showbiz industry has never had the kind of attention they now enjoy. SAMUEL ABULUDE writes on the personalities in the industry that can be regarded as the President's Showbiz men
The showbiz industry has experienced a kind of sparkle in recent times. This is not unconnected with the global recognition that our music and movies have gathered over the years. This indeed has made it easy for the government of the day to appreciate the efforts of the industry in giving the nation a positive image.
President Goodluck Jonathan in its 2010/2011 campaign sought the support of musicians and actors and it worked for him. With the likes of D'Banj, Onyeka Onwenu at the fore front of his campaign drive, artistes in Nigeria realised that the president would listen to their cries for a proper structuring of the motion picture industry as well as the music industry, which is beginning to yield positive result with the $200million intervention fund and N3 billion grants.
Personalities like Richard Mofe Damijo, former AGN boss, Ejike Asiegbu, Ini Edo, Klint Da Drunk, Gordons, D'Banj among several others have been seen with the President on different occasions. One of the President's close aides, Dr Oronto Douglas, who is the Senior Special Assistant on Research and Documentation, has been the interface between Nollywood and the presidency.
Popularly referred to as the elegant stallion, Onyeka Onwenu, the music diva has tried her hands on politics at different times but yet to occupy any elective position. The chairperson of the Imo State Council of Arts has used her music fame to campaign for different political figures. Her Jonathan Run, Run, Run campaign song in 2011 was a major one and with that she warmed herself into the presidency. Onyeka has performed at different times and recently at the Democracy day Dinner.
Aki and Pawpaw (Chinedu Ihedieze and Osita Iheme)
These Nollywood icons are among visible faces of not just the President's men but the governors as well. Chinedu Ihedieze known as Aki along with his partner have always globed trotted with the presidency and enjoyed patronage of different governors at different events. These diminutive figures are celebrities in their own right. As Aki celebrates the burial of his father this weekend, most governors particularly, in the South east are expected to grace the occasion.
Kanayo O. Kanayo
The intellectual actor and movie maker has been a recurring decimal at the corridors of power. Having spent 33 years of his life in acting, Kanayo O. Kanayo has never hidden his desire to dive into the murky waters of politics.
He is a major player in the love relationship between the presidency and Nollywood. He was one of the six Nollywood stars that the Nigerian government honoured with National Award of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) last year.
Kanayo declared his intentions to contest for a House of Representatives slot in his Imo state constituency but unfortunately the ambition of The Political Science Masters degree holder was not immediately realised as he lost at the primaries.
Not giving up, he joined the Jonathan/Sambo 2011 bandwagon and became a visible member of the campaign – touring the world to sell the message of the campaign. He capped his role as an emerging political force when at the Grand Finale of the campaign in Eagles Square-Abuja in April; he gave a stirring speech that received a standing ovation from the cream of Nigerian political, military, industry and pop culture personalities.
She is the first female president of the largest guild of actors, AGN. Ibinabo Fiberesima, former beauty queen and actress has come of age and saddled with the responsibility of steering the ship of Actors Guild of Nigeria to the next level. Definitely, this has afforded her the opportunity of being a constant visitor to the presidency.
Bob Manuel-Udokwu, an A-list actor can also be referred to as the President's showbiz man. The actor has always landed a couple of juicy deals including being the host of the popular Guilder Ultimate Search at different times.
He was made a Special Adviser on Creative Media to the Anambra State Governor early this year. With his connection to personalities at the corridors of power, it would have been a surprise if the handsome actor was not one of those in showbiz whom the presidency has chosen. The native of Idemili local government area of Anambra State landed a 2-year ambassadorial contract with Don Morris brand of wines as well.
Emeka Ike is one of the big actors in Nollywood; he has been in the industry for a while now. The president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan recently made him an ambassador of the Rhythm and Play program of the National Academicals Sports Committee NASCOM. It was for the recognition of his selfless service to humanity. Other artistes notably, rapper MI and Victor Moses were also made ambassadors for the program set to revive school sports in the country.
The actor has taken a leave from the make believe industry in recent times after losing the AGN position to Ibinabo Fiberesima. The dude who won the Gulder Ultimate Search Celebrity edition invested his energy in managing his school, St Nicholas College at Magodo Estate in Lagos even as he is working on establishing another one in Accra, Ghana. Recently Emeka Ike was appointed into the Board of Director for Humanitarian Studies and Social Development.
He is one of the leading lights of Kannywood movie industry in Northern Nigeria. Sani Danja is an actor of repute and loved by many, so it was not a surprise when he was spotted at the dinner celebration hosted by the president to celebrate Nollywood at 20.
He was among the entertainers that were decorated as Rhythm and Play ambassadors by the president. Sani Danja, a movie producer is also a musician.
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