Veteran Nigerian movie star, Desmond Elliot has spoken about how he combines acting with politics.
When Nollywood star, Desmond Elliot, contested and won a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2015, not a few wondered what would become of his acting career?
Four years down the line, the 45-year-old actor turned politician appears to have found a way around it.
“I don’t actually act as much, but I’m actually behind the scene and behind the camera,” he told PREMIUM TIMES recently. “The reason why I do this is that I don’t want to give the impression that ‘I don dey where money dey and I don forget them’ (I am now in riches and I have forgotten Nollywood)’’. “At the end of the day, you must fall back to something. So, I’m still making sure that Nollywood grows. I’m not necessarily acting but my company still produces movies, I ensure it happens,” he told PREMIUM TIMES in Lagos.
The actor revealed how he has been combining both roles during an interview with this newspaper at a recent meet-and-greet with Nollywood superfans in Nigeria event organised by a Nigerian film company, ROK Studios.
Politics was an entirely new terrain for Desmond who studied Economics at the Lagos State University.
When he declared his intention to venture into politics in 2014, he said he was prepared for the task ahead. Over time, he has acquired some new skills and undergo some training to succeed in the job.
“To be quite honest, even the political world is demanding so, I do less of entertainment things now. This is because even politically I have to grow, now this is my second term. I’m not hoping in my third term I want to remain like this, ‘me sef go wan go up’ (I want to move higher). “That means for that to happen, I’ll have to learn the ropes better. For instance, I’m currently running two masters programmes, one in Business Administration and the other in Social Studies. I must ‘sharpen’ my brain, and then politically, I have to be very involved.”
Desmond, who is a father to two sets of twins, was influenced by a friend to become an actor. He began his career by playing roles in now rested soap operas like ‘Everyday People’, ‘One Too Much’ and ‘Saints and Sinners’ in the late 90s.
He has gone on to become one of Nollywood’s leading actors, having appeared in over two hundred films.
During this interview, the actor described his acting prowess as innate.
“Some people like me are born actors while others have to learn and perfect their craft. But it doesn’t mean that people who learn will not achieve results.”
There cannot be a more important office or more challenging role than being a lawmaker. Desmond is aware of these responsibilities, especially to his constituents.
“For me, I know it’s not going to be easy. Unfortunately, I am the person the people at the grassroots can see; they can’t see Ambode, they can’t see President Buhari, so they ask you for things that you can’t even do. And where are the resources coming from? Because of that I can’t say I am running away, because I will need them four years later, so I also have to try to be there for them.”
Having recently won a re-election into the Lagos House of Assembly, he gave this newspaper a peek into what is expected of him.
“I’ll give you an instance, I finished the election a month ago, by next week, I’m supposed to go round the constituency to say thank you. I need nothing less than N4 million, so where am I going to steal it from, do you understand? Because I can’t just come and say thank you, you have to drop, those are the challenges,” he revealed.
Asked if he can influence the government’s involvement in Nollywood as a public office holder, the actor said, “One person can’t do it, that’s why we are begging you people to join. At the state level, we can’t really push policies but, if the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the position of Speaker in the Ninth National Assembly, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, wins, then we might be able to influence the policies that will affect Nollywood positively.”