Personal Brands as Political Equity


The election season is almost over in Nigeria and political jingles will soon cease renting the air. Until then, the usual suspects huff and puff as they jostle for the limelight of public attention.

Elections in Nigeria are typically colourful for many reasons – the promises made by candidates; the achievements adduced as reasons for votes and the social media bants amongst others. They also throw up personalities – the old guard reasserting their relevance and upstarts who scream, “away with gerontocracy”! This time around though, other personalities have jumped into the fray. The political stage is playing host to crooners, thespians and comedians – and not just as brand ambassadors or endorsers. The Glitterati, banking on the power of their personal brands are determined to actively trade them for political equity.

Abolore Adigun (9ice), Desmond Elliot, Kate Henshaw and Tony Tetuila to name a few are towing the footsteps of their western counterparts – Al Franken, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood as they make the transition from big screen and stage to Government house.

A famous example of an entertainer turned politician is Arnold Schwarzenegger of the Terminator Trilogy fame. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, in which he served from 1990 to 1993. He was Chairman of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson and in 2003, he won the recall election against Governor Davis to become the Governor of California. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected in California’s 2006 gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. However, his approval ratings hit an all-time low of 27% in 2009 and 22% when he left office in 2011, with a state budget deficit of $28 billion.

Another example of an actor turned politician is Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan initially chose a career in entertainment, appearing in more than 50 films. While in Hollywood, he served as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. In 1964, he began his political career as a Democrat. He announced in late 1965 his campaign for Governor of California. Ronald Reagan accomplished in 1966 what US Senator William F. Knowland in 1958 and former Vice-President Richard M. Nixon in 1962 had tried: he was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, and was sworn in on January 2, 1967. Shortly after the beginning of his term, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968. He was re-elected Governor in 1970. Reagan became president in 1981 and served for two terms. His approval ratings in 1988, shortly before he left office, were at 63%.

So, can personal branding readily translate to political success? Here are a few considerations:

  1. The political system must be mature enough to give political neophytes a shot. The rules must be clear and celebrities must meet the requirements.

In 2001, Wyclef Jean, a Haitian rapper, musician and actor established “Yéle Haiti” a charitable organisation known legally as the Wyclef Jean Foundation and incorporated in Illinois. The foundation became active in the aftermath of 2004’s Hurricane Jeanne, when it provided scholarships to 3,600 children in Gonaïves, Haiti with funding from Comcel. On August 5, 2010, he announced his bid to run for President but on August 20, 2010, his bid for candidacy was rejected by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council. He was turned down because he did not meet the residency requirement of having lived in Haiti for five years before the November 28 election.

  1. Making the leap to politics takes a lot of planning no matter how strong a personal brand is.

Voters need to buy into the ideas and promises of celebrities. Volunteers must be organised and political apparatuses set up.

  1. Celebrities must have a clear and working knowledge of the issues and challenges faced by their would-be constituents.

To succeed in politics, Nigerian celebrities will need to address all three of the foregoing considerations and add a big dose of tenacity to garner the political equity required to successfully run for or perform well in office.

Sometimes, celebrities are called upon to play the role of technocrat and not politician like Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD), in the role of Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Delta State or Weird MC, vigorous campaigner for Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State and a Special Assistant for Culture and Tourism.

In conclusion, a strong personal brand is potent political equity and is an incredible asset if parlayed alongside other political structures.


#AlderSMR Press Release: Morin Oluwole of Facebook, 2go, Ushahidi, Mo Abudu and Japheth Omojuwa contribute to the Alder Social Media Report

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Lagos, Nigeria
Morin Oluwole of Facebook, 2go, Ushahidi, Mo Abudu and Japheth Omojuwa contribute to the Alder Social Media Report

The Alder Social Media Report (#AlderSMR) is a presentation of Nigeria’s most impactful and innovative social media brands (corporate, government, institutional and personal). The comprehensive report featuring contributions from experts across the world will analyse the impact of social media and its invaluable contributions to business, politics, governance, charity and culture.

The report provides a broad view of the influence of social media in Nigeria. It analyses how social media has evolved new industries, generated wealth, provided networking opportunities, created a new breed of citizen reporters, helped crowd source disaster relief funds, aided political activism and enhanced corporate accountability.

Articles in the report include Social Media in the Age of Mobile Internet Access (2go Mobile Social Network), Building Thriving Communities in Developing Markets through Social Media (Morin Oluwole, Facebook), Crowd Sourced Election Monitoring (Ushahidi), The Politics of Social Media – the Occupy Nigeria Case Study (Japheth Omojuwa) and #Trending: The Age of the Social Media Celebrity (Lanre “eLDee” Dabiri).

The report also provides a listing of Nigeria’s top social media brands in 2 sections – a popular ranking based on consumer relevance and expert ranking based on objective impact on society and culture. Members of the expert panel are Brand, Communication & Media Specialists, Social & Digital Media Specialists and Media Academics & Researchers, including Mo Abudu (Ebony Life TV), Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade (Google), Nnodim Blossom (AdoptATweep) and Dr Isah Momoh (School of Media and Communications, Pan-Atlantic University).

The finished report will be distributed free of charge to government institutions, corporations, educational institutions and diplomatic missions. It will also be available online for download.

For more information and to view the profiles of contributors and panelists, kindly visit You can also nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria at Nominations end November 8, 2013.


Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Tomi Oladepo

Tomi OladepoTomi Oladepo is a digital media researcher, experienced blogger and writer and is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick, UK. Her central interest is online media. Her doctoral research looks at ways of developing democracy through digital media, specifically developing a culture of democratic thinking, behaviour and communication.

She has experience in radio broadcasting, film and documentary production. She has also lectured on the Masters in Global Media and Communication at the Centre for Cultural Policy Studies. Tomi Oladepo is currently Managing Editor of the PhD Life Blog at the University of Warwick.

For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria:

Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Dr. Isah Emmanuel Momoh

Dr. MomohDr. Isah E. Momoh is a Media and Communication Economist whose areas of expertise include communication theory, media research, cultural diplomacy, diasporic communication, and media business management.

He is currently Head of Department of Communication and Media Enterprise as well as Director of the PhD programme of the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University where he is lead faculty in the areas of Theory and Research as well as Media Financial Analysis, Business Journalism and Writing for Corporate Communications. With over 30 years experience in media and communication with specialties in Public Relations, Advertising, TV & Newspaper Journalism and Management, he is lauded for his pioneering role in the take off and successful management and growth of Minaj Broadcast International in the 90s among other laudable achievements.

Dr. Isah Momoh is author of several papers and book chapters in communication, business management and marketing.

For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria:

Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Chioma Chuka Agwuegbo

Chioma ChukaChioma Chuka Agwuegbo is a social media strategist. She has a background in radio where she worked as a duty continuity announcer and presenter before working as a researcher, scriptwriter and producer of popular radio drama – Story Story for the BBC Media Action in Nigeria.

Due to her love for all things social media, she obtained a Masters in social media. She has worked with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (creative writer), YNaija2015 (Founding Editor), MTV Staying Alive Foundation, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (Social and Digital Media Consultant), BBC Media Action (Trainer), amongst others. As a social media advisor, she channels her intrigue for communication, citizen engagement and how it influences governance into embarked projects. Chioma enjoys digital storytelling, and the interaction within.

An aspiring poet and contributor to various local & international media outlets, Chioma blogs at

For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria:

Introducing #AlderSMR Panel: Blossom Nnodim

Blossom NnodimBlossom Nnodim is a sought after public speaker whose message is Social Media for Social Good. She is involved in electoral governance using social media and was selected to monitor the U.S Elections in November, 2012. Blossom was selected among young African leaders to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) of the U.S Department of State.


For more about the Alder Social Media Report: | Nominate brands for effective use of social media in Nigeria: