As the 2011 general elections draw nearer, the decision of some Nollywood stars to collect N300, 000 each before campaigning for President Goodluck Ebelo Jonathan ambition has torn the Nigerian movie industry apart.
Some of the movie stars have formed a group christened Nollywood Stars for Jonathan, and their aim is to shoot a commercial geared towards campaigning for the President to remain in office for the next four years with the fee of N300, 000 for each of the stars involved in it. But the move seems to have torn the Nollywood stars apart as other popular actors have declined to be part of it.
Those that are currently in the campaign group which is headed by Francis Duru include Uche Jombo, Ini Edo, Paul Adams, Zack Orji, Pete Edochie, Emeka Ike and about 30 others. Most of the actors declined to pick our calls this morning to confirm whether they are involved or not.
Speaking with P.M.NEWS on phone yesterday, the National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, Segun Arinze, said he is not part of the move.
â€œI heard of it but Iâ€™m not involved. It is not that Iâ€™m against President Jonathanâ€™s ambition, but doing it for a price is what Iâ€™m not comfortable with. I wish those involved good luck.â€
Also, the Governor, Lagos State Chapter of AGN, Ernest Obi, denied his involvement in the project.
He is also of the opinion that if President Jonathan deserves the support of Nollywood practitioners, they should do so without putting a price tag on it.
A spokesperson of Square Image, the outfit in charge of Stella Damasus-Nzeribeâ€™s image, said the sultry actress is also not part of the project.
â€œStella is more of a role model and will not do that, though that doesnâ€™t mean she is not in support of President Jonathanâ€™s ambition. When the time for election comes, she will vote for the candidate of her choice without making any noise about it,â€ Square Image said.
The decision by some Nollywood stars to campaign for the President with a fee has attracted criticisms from Nigerians, who claimed that as role models, the movie stars should not be directly involved in politics, and if they must do so, not because a candidate is ready to part with some money.
â€œIn America, Hollywood and other showbiz stars drummed their support for President Barack Obama during his campaign, and none of them received a dime for doing that. So I donâ€™t know why our own stars here cannot emulate good things. Does that mean they canâ€™t support other good candidates that donâ€™t have money?â€ Femi Adebodun, a movie buff asked.