Days after she was unveiled as the running mate of the PDP governorship candidate in Lagos, Olajide Adediran, aka Jandor, it appears actress Funke Akindele has hit the ground running, as Nigerians like to say of political leaders.
An actress of repute, Ms Akindele said she had suspended her acting career to face her political career.
Explaining the rationale behind the move, she said it was “…to work tirelessly and complement Jandor’s burning desire to see our dear state of Lagos live up to its full potential”.
The CEO of SceneOne Productions said her 25-year entertainment career gave her the privilege to engage people from all walks of life.
Akindele, 43, on Friday, was hosted on Channels Television’s flagship talk show, ‘Politics Today’, and the outcome made her a trending topic on social media.
A Twitter user, Chief Nwachinemelu, with the handle @odogwu_ogidi, said the actress should be advised to stop making media appearances.
“If anyone knows Funke Akindele personally, advise her to stop going on media rounds. She should devote time to studying politics, especially Lagos politics.
“She’s vacuous and inconsistent with her responses on Channels. Politics isn’t opera. So distasteful to watch,” he tweeted.
While Ms Akindele’s outing might not be in the same league as Tonto Dikeh’s (another Nollywood actress-turned deputy governorship aspirant) “spare tire” gaffe, Mr Nwachinemelu’s opinion captures the thoughts of many Twitter users.
Below are five controversial statements the Jenifa star made during the interview.
Breath of fresh air
The actress said if they win, their administration will be a ‘breath of fresh air’.
“Yes, Lagos is metropolitan. It is large, it is sophisticated, and it is a commercial and tech hub. People come in and out to do business here. We shouldn’t be talking about bad roads. We shouldn’t be talking about the poor health system,” she stated.
Twenty million online followers
Ms Akindele repeatedly talked about her twenty million social media fans and followers, at one point referring to them as her political capital.
She said: “I have the numbers, fans and followers, and I’m true to myself.
“I have more than 20m fans on social media and at the grassroots level. I have fans at the grassroots level outside Ikorodu ready to support me, and I’m true to myself. What I’m coming in is to change the lives of Lagosians”.
Let’s do simple arithmetic here. Lagos State has 6.9 million registered voters, leaving the actress with almost 14 million voters extra to account for.
One may want to discountenance her statement except that she was responding to the question, “can you put a figure to the followers, what you are expecting?”
She said, “I have over 20 million fans on social media and at the grassroots level. I have lots of fans at the grassroots… I am true to myself everywhere.”
Traffic light solution to insecurity
Asked how they will fight insecurity in the state, the actress said her administration would tackle it by fixing bad roads and traffic lights.
“If the roads are good. If there is no traffic and light, and if we put in the proper structure, this will not happen,” she said.
The presenter had to steer her arguments to the fact that there are many jobless individuals who may be responsible for these vices.
The actress said the PDP is “presently working with a strategic team with a blueprint” to ensure that its plan is implemented if it eventually wrests power from the APC.
She said, “We don’t want to build Lagos based on assumptions.”
While this may ring true, going on with the interview, the actress kept referring to the ‘strategic team’, letting off the notion that she came unprepared.
Reacting to the traffic situation in Lagos, the actress said a lot of work needs to be done.
She referenced fixing the bad roads, which she describes as death traps and traffic lights.
“Jandor and I have a lot of work to do. We are starting from the bad roads. The roads are bad. We see a lot of death traps, potholes—even the traffic lights. Things are not professionally done. They are not properly done due to nepotism, tribalism, and favouritism. When we get there, we are going to correct a lot of things and ease the problems. Ease a lot of problems Lagosians are going through concerning traffic,” she said.
Although some of her supporters have pointed out that she may have been speaking on a general note, critics say it was a blunder.
Recall that Akindele joined the Lagos political fray when she joined the PDP as running mate to its gubernatorial candidate—explaining her decision to venture into what she terms “a more significant facet of humanitarian service” with her fans.