On his second ‘Rubbin’ Minds’ appearance, hosted by Nigerian Lawyer and presenter, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu for Channels TV, Editor-In-Chief of Pulse Africa, Osagie Alonge sheds necessary light on some clustered links between Nigerian pop culture and Nigerian politics.
Alonge spoke about the how the predominant young Nigerian populace – 75% of the Nigerian demography, under the age of 30 – only talk on social media, but don’t really come out to vote when it matters. Obi-Uchendu had asked Alonge why he felt Nigerians of lower ages were scarce at polling units.
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Speaking on the root of the problem, Alonge also highlighted the frustration encountered by young people and Nigerians during the collection of the PVCs. The conversation then got to the unrecognized and underused power of Nigerian celebrities as regards politics. While the issue of Banky W was discussed, three parts were more elaborate.
- 6:15 – 7:09: On the power of celebrities in politics, as influencers and not necessarily, participants.
Upon the vocal political alliances of celebrities like Davido, Ini Edo and Kwam I, Alonge feels like we should not limit celebrities to only the things we want. He felt like celebrities have a right to align with and campaign for candidates they support.
He said, “I remember when Barack Obama was running for President the first time, we had the likes of Diddy, who did the ‘vote and die’ campaign; we had Jay Z perform at Obama’s inauguration. So you had Oprah (Winfrey); there were so many people who rallied around politicians and we’ve seen that in the past.
“I’m surprised that people are not – you know, using their power. Don’t forget, celebrities and entertainers have power; social online and offline to galvanize people. The question is, ‘are they indifferent?’”
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Later on, Alonge then discussed why Davido, especially has been unfairly criticized for his open political alliance. He said, “I think everybody should have a mind of their own. Davido says he’s supporting ‘Candidate A,’ he genuinely wants to support ‘Candidate A,’ he has a right to do so.”
While Alonge totally support political alliance as legality, he feels that we should use that right to “drive change.”
- 8:25 – 9:16: On the responsibility of celebrities to drive change.
Towards the end of the conversation, the Nigerian Journalist then explained why and how he feels celebrities can better utilize their power which he had earlier mentioned.
He said, “I think the first thing is celebrities and entertainers need to encourage people to register and go out and vote.”
Alonge feels that is the first step before encouraging people to vote for a particular campaign because. “Young people look up to celebrities and entertainers.” He concluded by charging celebrities to use their star power to drive change.