Nigerian musician, Olubankole Wellington, otherwise known as Banky W, has explained his switch from entertainment to politics.
Mr Wellington, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives candidate for Eti-Osa Federal Constituency, joined the party in April.
Eti-Osa is a constituency in Lagos State, South-west Nigeria.
Before winning the PDP ticket in May, he had contested for the position in 2019 under the default Modern Democratic Party platform, but lost in the general elections.
The musician, who spoke when he appeared as a guest on Arise TV’s The Morning Show on Wednesday, explained that the decision to join politics was driven by his desire for good governance in the country.
“As long as I have been relevant in the art world, music, film and as a small entrepreneur, I have always been very vocal about the need for good governance and the need for young people to participate in politics,” he said.
Mr Wellington said that in his quest for good governance, he has participated in several peaceful protests and activism for change.
He said he realised in 2018 that the system would not change if he failed to join politics and cooperate with like-minded people to make the system in the country work.
“For me, the message started to change from raising awareness via activism and advocacy to saying that we have to start moving from protests to power. We have to start taking this energy and channelling it towards getting like-minds into government and using that consensus of like-minds to get a change,” Mr Wellington said.
He added that “we need to start focusing on the National Assembly, the Senate and House of Representatives, and the States House of Assembly.”
He said the Nigerian problem comes from “top-down” and that the solution can only come “from the bottom-top,” stressing that the country can only be changed for good with the involvement of young people in governance.
The 41-year-old musician said he joined politics despite a warning from his wife who held the view that politics is “dirty and dangerous.”
“The truth of the matter is that politics will always be dirty and dangerous until good people start to be intentional about putting the like-minds in the system,” he said.
He said his choice of PDP was informed by the fact that the party’s ideology on democracy aligns with what he stands for.
Mr Wellington said he was not coming to defend “everything bad” that the PDP-led governments may have done in the past but “I am here to reform it. I am here to build the bridge into mainstream politics, starting from Lagos and Eti-Osa.”
Wrestling power from APC
Eti-Osa, like other constituencies in Lagos State, is a stronghold of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Mr Wellington expressed confidence that he would displace the APC in the constituency in 2023.
He said the APC had been winning elections in the constituency because of political apathy on the part of many voters, saying the recent interest of Nigerians in the forthcoming elections will reverse the trend.
He lauded the enactment of the 2022 Electoral Act, which he said legalised the use of technology and ushered electronic voting in the country.
He said the law would frustrate possible attempts to rig the 2023 poll.
“The fact that the Electoral Act was passed has done amazing things for our democracy because now this election will be won or lost at each individual polling unit. No one can go into a room somewhere in a collation centre and thumbprint hundreds of ballots for their candidates. Now, you actually have to win the votes.
“By the law, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System has to accredit that you are who you are and that this (PVC) card belongs to you. And that you are legally allowed to vote at this polling unit. Also, the result from that polling unit cannot be different from what the system accredited. Because no more manual accreditation and the results are transmitted electronically to INEC server,” the PDP candidate said.