The announcement of actresses — Funke Akindele and Tonto Dikeh — as running mates might very well go down as one of the biggest surprises of the year.

Their emergence has since elicited mixed reactions on social media. Many wondered how these Nollywood stars with many years of acting career will survive through turbulent political atmosphere as new entrants.

Some others lauded their emergence noting that it would brighten the chances of more women participation in governance.

Rivers gubernatorial candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Tonte Ibraye had picked Tonto as his running mate for the 2023 governorship elections in the State.

While Lagos Governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Dr. Olajide Adediran, popularly called Jandor, picked also picked Funke, as running mate.


Tonto, who is also musician and songwriter, has been entangled in many controversies, from her divorce from her ex-husband, Churchill Olakunle, in 2017 to a messy breakup with her ex-lover, Prince Kpokpogiri, in 2021.

The outspoken actress is also known for constant social media fights with her ex-bestie, Bobrisky and other colleagues in Nollywood.

Tonto is from Ikwerre, Abio-Okpa, Rivers State, Nigeria. She is the founder of the Tonto Dikeh Foundation established on August 27, 2000 with the goal of lending a helping hand to the less privileged.

She attended both primary and secondary schools in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. She gained admission into the Rivers State University of Science and Technology and bagged a degree in Petrochemical.

Funke, who is also a lawyer, is one of the most successful Nollywood actresses in contemporary times. She was born on August 24, 1977 in Ikorodu, Lagos State. She attended Grace Children School, Gbagada, Lagos State. Funke obtained a National Diploma (ND) in Mass Communication from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta. She also earned a Law degree from the University of Lagos.

She starred in the sitcom ‘I Need to Know’ from 1998 to 2002. She, however, rose to fame for her role in the movie titled Jenifa, which earned her the nickname Jenifa.

Funke has hit series like Jenifa’s Diary, My Siblings and I, Aiyetoro Town and hit movies like the record-breaking Omo Ghetto: The Saga, all coming from her production company, Scene-One Production.

For Ibraye, he stated that he did not make a mistake when he decided to choose Tonto as his running mate. The ADC governorship candidate emphasised that they are both coming on a rescue mission for Rivers State.

Ibraye said he had worked closely with the actress, noting that Tonto has been a member of ADC for a long time.

He said: “I have worked closely with Tonto Dikeh for more than a year now, and she has been part of the party for a very long time. She has been following up with the primary process, an advocate of transparency, and I believe I did not make any mistake in choosing her as my running mate. She has so many things, such as creating employment opportunities.”

Emphasising the actress’s credibility, Ibraye said that the Nollywood star has a farm in Abuja and Rivers State.

“She has a farm here in Abuja and Rivers state; not just that; she has supported many young people in growing businesses. Every Year, she sends about 3,500 young people back to school.”

For Adediran popularly called Jandor, he noted that Funke will add more value to his candidacy in the 2023 general elections.

He said, “I appeal to the entire populace to work with me and my running mate, who will add more value to my candidacy.

“My choice running mate is from the clear understanding of the task ahead and the need to work with a co-visionary with shared passion for the emancipation of the good people of Lagos

“This journey demands focus, resilience and tenacity. My running mate is someone who is large-hearted with a well-known history of service and advocacy.

“An Ikorodu-born success story who has, through several of her projects, positively transformed our society.”

In all of these, political observers are keenly watching how these Nollywood stars will go in complementing the efforts of their principals who will be working round the clock tirelessly.

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