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Stalking the diva, Kate Henshaw

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Kate Henshaw

She had ruled out running for political office after she lost the 2014 primaries to represent Calabar South Federal Constituency of Cross Rivers State in the House of Representatives.

But when the delectable screen diva, Kate Henshaw, was listed alongside two titans of Nigerian politics- Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Alhaji Sule Lamido, to speak at this year’s Daily Trust Dialogue, which has the theme, ‘Nigeria and the Challenges of 2019 general elections,’ many felt that perhaps the actress, event compere, philanthropist and fitness instructor has had a change of mind.

“Na lie oo. I no do politics again,” she asserted in Pidgin English as celebrity stalked her to a movie location in Ikoyi.

Kate spoke on why it is over for her and politics.

Was it a rebound you made with your participation at the Daily Trust Dialogue on Nigeria and the challenges of 2019 elections?

No, it wasn’t a rebound. I am completely done with politics. I was only invited to speak on youths and politics and I felt privileged to have been included in the company of those who have steered the affairs of this country at some point or the other, such as former governor of Jigiwa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido and the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

I considered my invitation and honour and privilege and I thank Daily Trust for the invitation and opportunity to share my perspectives.

What was your position at the dialogue?

Well, I made it clear that the best time for youths to be involved in politics and governance was yesterday.

However, I noted that the next best time is today and the next is tomorrow. I mean, there are young leaders all over the world. There is great admiration for positively-minded young politicians around the world, from the President of France Emmanuel Macron, who is just 39, to the Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, who took over in 2014 age 38, becoming the country’s youngest leader since 1845, just to mention a few.

But this is not the case here at home. Nigeria in particular seems to be the opposite and Africa in general, with the ages of our leaders in the continent ranging from 70 to 90 years.

Little wonder we are where we are.

It is pertinent to mention here that the generation of the 1960s, albeit, the generation of youthful leaders then, who fought so hard for Nigeria to be independent are largely the same crop of leaders that still run the affairs of the country, nearly 60 years down the line.

We have ambassadors who are 80 years old, ministers who have been ministers spread over several decades, recycling leaders has thrown up two former heads of state to become Presidents in Nigeria.

But the future is now. There is definitely a need for new faces, new thinking and new ideas.

The political class has to find a way of wooing people of sound minds and skills who have “done things” and held their own, into their fold and not continue to parade “yes” men who rank very high on the leader boards of corruption, inexperience, mediocrity, ineptitude and parochial sentiments.

But you had an opportunity to bring a new thinking to the turf?

Yes, I did aspire for political office and worked hard to get the nomination, but I discovered that it was not my ability to govern that mattered to those who controlled the party.

Any youth wanting to partake in politics must have money, huge amounts of it, a war chest, as it is called. Since I don’t have that kind of war chest and was not interested in throwing my hard earned monies away, I quit.

My last foray into politics was expensive, just as it was quite an experience. I don’t think I want to seek elective office in Nigeria again, although I encourage people to go and register and get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and if they can, join a party and have their say in the party. It is difficult to have a say from the outside.

You must be an insider to be able to have a say as to who can emerge or not. You also have to be on ground.

So, it is bye to politics?

I am done oo. I don’t have money to give anybody. The money I used to run my campaign was mine and a few friends came together to support me my ambition, but the bulk of the money I spent for consultation here and there was mine. They were funds I got from my work as an entertainer.

So, anyone who says it is not about money is telling you a fat lie. It is either money or you have a godfather who they respect and who tells them that this is the person you all will vote for. True, that is how it works!

So, it is money, money, and money! If you want women to get involved, money will do the magic and if you want the youths to make headway, it is money as well.

So, you are fully back to the turf?

Yes oo, where I don’t need money to prove myself. Where your talent will speak and make a way for you. And so far, it has been awesome.

Like play, like play, we are clocking down to over 20 years in this business. I recently saw the jacket of one of the movies I shot in 1996 and I was like, wow! But it has been the grace of God. He has kept us going in spite of the odds.

The industry keeps growing and getting better and I am thankful to God that I have been part of the sweet, bitter and sweeter times of the industry and it will only be getting better.

Right now, I am on set of a big movie project. Will be done with that in a bit and hop on another. I have my fitness work going on by the sides. So, I have my hands full.


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Kate Henshaw
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