Political Endorsements by Nigerian Celebrities – Way Forward or Selling Out?
After the postponements this past weekend, the elections will kickoff on the ...
9th of April 2011. One factor that is inspiring major debate is the endorsement of political candidates by Nigerian celebrities.
A few hours ago, a campaign/endorsement video featuring Olu Jacobs, Monalisa Chinda, Genevieve Nnaji, Ini Edo, Ramsey Nouah, Desmond Elliot and Stephanie Okereke surfaced online.
The video was posted on various sites across the internet – This inspired even more feverish debate. The video was subsequently removed from Youtube but has now been reuploaded by a third party. In Lagos State, several Nigerian celebrities have voiced their support for various candidates with the majority endorsing current Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. A concert tagged “My City Rocks” took place in March 2011. According to an article on the BRF campaign website,
In Nigeria, with the state of the educational system, an outsider will be shocked by the reasons why the average person chooses their preferred candidate. That is, an endorsement by their favourite celebrity is definitely a potent tool to compel many people to vote for a political candidate.
In the US, Oprah Winfrey famously endorsed Barack Obama. This was met with both positivity and backlash from some quarters.
In the end, she stuck to her conviction and constantly enforced the reasons why she chose that candidate.
Based on the feedback received from BellaNaija readers, there is a major difference in the approach towards political endorsements in Nigeria, the following points have been raised.
Several Nigerian celebrities who have endorsed politicians have not shared reasons for doing so. The power and efficacy of these endorsements will definitely be amplified and legitimized when supported by clear points and reasons.
Another issue that arises is integrity of the endorsements, rumours of cash payments are rife, so another question is, how can we trust your endorsement if you have received an undeclared gift or cash.
We encourage our celebrities to use the power of their position to help drive our country forward. However, without positive values such as integrity and transparency, the power and relevance of these campaigns is negated.