The forthcoming 2023 general election may well turn out to be one of the fiercest electoral battles in the history of Nigeria. Although 18 presidential candidates from various political parties are eyeing President Muhammadu Buhari’s seat, THE WILL focuses on the three major political gladiators.
In this three-part series and still in the spirit of the country’s independence anniversary, IVORY UKONU and SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN unveil celebrities, entertainers and socialites who have pitched their tents with their favourite presidential candidates.
This week, the spotlight is on those who are rooting for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar:
Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo
The third runner-up in Season 6 of the Big Brother Naija Reality TV Show, Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo, otherwise known as Cross, is an ardent supporter of Atiku Abubakar.
The fitness enthusiast took to Twitter to publicly declare his support for Atiku last June. Cross’ love for Atiku dates back to when he was still a young chap. According to him, he has known Atiku for many years, lived with him and even shared the same bed with his children.
Cross revealed that at some point in his life when he had nowhere to go, Atiku took him in and took care of him. He, therefore, considers Atiku to be his family. While canvassing support for the former Vice President recently, Cross swore that Atiku was the best among the three major presidential candidates. He also said the politician means well for the Nigerian youth.
Singer Paul Dairo, aka Paul Play, is not only a card-carrying member of the PDP but also a staunch supporter of Atiku Abubakar. He however supports him from the United Kingdom where he is based. He is also the director of entertainment for the Atiku Care Foundation, a non-governmental organisation established to take care of the less privileged at the grassroots level while showcasing the man, Atiku Abubakar to the world at large by bringing him closer to the grassroots.
A few months ago when seasoned actor, Dele Odule joined the PDP, he publicly announced his interest in partisan politics. According to him, the reason for pledging allegiance to the political party and its flagbearer was to make room for the liberation of his people in Oru-Ijebu, a community in Ogun State, as promised him by the embattled ‘governorship’ candidate of the party in the state, Ladi Adebutu.
The actor recalled the good things that Ladi, a former lawmaker, did for the entertainment industry when he was in the National Assembly, which would have impacted positively on the industry.
Adebutu had sponsored a bill that made it to the second reading in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, its progress was stalled by his failure to return to the house. However, Adebutu made a promise to assist the actor and his community when he is elected as governor of the state.
Music act, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, has been a keen follower and supporter of the PDP. His uncles are members of the party. One of them, the late Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, was a former governor of Osun State and the other, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is the current governor-elect of the state.
By extension, Davido is in support of Atiku Abubakar’s presidential ambition. The latter has equally reciprocated the love the singer has shown his party by rocking to his music Stand Strong while unveiling his five-star recovery plan last week.
Nollywood actor, John Okafor, also known as Mr Ibu, has never hidden his love for Atiku Abubakar and the need to support his ambition to become the next President of Nigeria. He reiterated this fact when he had to correct a misconception after honouring an invitation of Bola Tinubu, the presidential flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Many people had assumed that he had pitched his tent with Tinubu. But the comic act made it known that his choice candidate is the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar. He revealed this even before Atiku declared his intention to run for the position.
According to him, his support for the former Vice President of Nigeria is as a result of personal conviction and Atiku’s pedigree. The politician has been a benefactor to the actor, who sees him as a father and he has said that he would not abandon him at a time he needs him.
The actor clarified that if he is seen with any other candidate, it means his service as an actor was needed there at that time but that it does not mean he has shifted his allegiance from his benefactor.
“I’ve never run sideways, it’s been me and Atiku who has helped me in so many ways and if he is running for president certainly Atiku is my candidate. Atiku is like a father to me, having worked for him even in his own state, so I wouldn’t abandon him. I’m not trying to pull Tinubu down but he’s not my candidate, Atiku is my candidate. Anybody I visited is just simply a visitation. As an actor they wanted me to assist them in one way or the other. That does not mean I’ve abandoned my candidate and father,” he said.
Nollywood actor and producer, Funke Akindele, is not only Atiku Abubakar’s supporter, but also the running mate to Olajide Adediran, the PDP candidate in the 2023 Lagos State governorship election, for which she has had to put her acting career on hold. She has been using her platform to campaign for both herself and Atiku.
Singer cum actor, Bankole Wellington, a.k.a BankyW, was a member of the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) through which he cut his political teeth in 2019 but wasn’t successful at the polls. He had to defect to the PDP where he clinched a ticket to contest in the National Assembly election in Eti-Osa Federal Constituency, Lagos.
Wellington recently and openly endorsed Atiku Abubakar’s presidential ambition. He gave Atiku a befitting welcome when he visited Eti-osa Federal Constituency. He has been canvassing votes for Atiku and himself, using his platform.
Reality show star and former BBN housemate, Chukwuemeka Okoye, popularly known as Frodd, is one of the youths rooting for the PDP presidential candidate. He was one of the youths who visited the politician in the company of some of his fellow housemates and other content creators.
Bright Osemudiame, a former Big Brother Naija Housemate, showed his support for the presidential candidate of the PDP earlier this month after he joined his colleagues in paying a courtesy visit to the politician. One of the reasons the reality show star visited Abubakar was to canvas for youth empowerment and involvement when Abubakar becomes the president. He might have been silent since then about the coming elections, but his visit to the politician is a pointer to the fact that he is rooting for the PDP in 2023.
Reno Omokri, an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan. is a staunch supporter of Atiku Abubakar. He considers Atiku as the best presidential candidate because of his antecedents as the Vice President of Nigeria. Omokri uses his platform to encourage Nigerians to vote for his preferred candidate because he is ‘healthy.’ The controversial social media influencer was pictured presenting a t-shirt to his favourite presidential candidate after endorsing him.