Nollywood actor Deyemi Okanlawon apologized to Thaddeus Attah, who was elected to the Lagos House of Representatives, after receiving negative feedback for an open letter he wrote to the lawmaker on Friday. Attah, a candidate for the Labour Party, defeated actor-turned-politician Olubankole Wellington for the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency seat. Wellington had run under the banner of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Okanlawon requested an audience with Attah to ask him about his intentions for the seat and expressed sadness that Wellington had lost the election in his open letter. He questioned Attah’s popularity and demanded his campaign platform, claiming that Attah had little to no internet presence. Several criticized Okanlawon for treating the newly elected legislator with disrespect.
OPEN LETTER TO HOR-ELECT THADDEUS ATTAH
I’ll like to use this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. Thaddeus Attah @jt.atta of the Labour Party(LP), as the winner of the Eti-Osa Federal Constituency seat in the House of Representatives. I do have immense faith in our discernment as a people to elect the right candidate, that being said, I am a firm believer in democracy and I would want nothing more than for the people’s wish to prevail so once again I congratulate you Sir.
Mr Attah, due to no fault of yours, I only first heard of you when you were announced the winner a few days ago. Since that time I have tried to find out as much as possible about our newly elected federal HOR candidate but was not really able to get much information. It would therefore be a great pleasure if you Sir will consider holding a town hall meeting or even come online for a live Instagram conversation at a time of your choosing to address your constituents.
Finally, I urge all well-meaning, progressive Lagosians ahead of the March 11 elections to ensure that our votes are a reflection of our collective want for great leadership and our desire for excellent governance. I look forward to a lively discourse. Thank you.
Okanlawon has now apologized for the letter, admitting that he might have used better language and that his frustration at recent events had a negative impact on the point he was trying to make. He has also reaffirmed his demand for a meeting with Attah to review his district goals and see how constituents can support him.
This event emphasizes how crucial it is to treat elected leaders with respect and humility. While having reservations and inquiries regarding their intentions is normal, it is important to do so in a considerate and helpful way. It is doubtful that criticizing or disparaging a politician would result in a win-win situation or fruitful discussion.
Understanding that having a strong campaign presence or being popular online does not guarantee election victory is also critical. While these elements might be helpful, winning an election can also be greatly influenced by other elements, including grassroots support, close relationships, and community participation.
As citizens, we are responsible for keeping elected officials responsible and ensuring they are acting in their voters’ best interests. Yet we must also treat them with respect and humility, appreciating the challenging job they have taken on and their commitment to public service.