Award winning Nollywood actress, Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele-Bello, professionally known as Funke Akindele or Jenifa due to the character she plays in her popular TV series, Jenifa’s Diary is not a ‘baby’ in the Nigerian movie industry.
They say bad news drives out good news, and this seems to be the case of the screen diva, Funke Akindele who on Wednesday, June 29 2022 began to trend because she is reportedly nominated as one of the potential running mates for deputy governor of Lagos state under the umbrella of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Olajide Adediran aka Jandor as the party’s governorship candidate.
This report brought mixed reactions from Nigerians with some congratulating her, and others knocking her for being undeserving of the nomination.
The reason might not be unconnected to the fact that in 2020 Funke Akindele and JJC Skillz were prosecuted for violating Lagos state’s 2020 lockdown and social distancing order to check the spread of Covid-19. Although the case was recently thrown out of court, it doesn’t dispute the fact that they held a ‘crowded house party’ against the rules.
Many believe a public figure who couldn’t adhere to the law is unfit to rule, especially in the same state.
Funke Akindele has paid her dues, and paid well for it, while building her career from scratch. The Nollywood actress who is also a film producer was born on August 24th, 1977, in Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria.
The thespian obtained an ordinary national diploma (OND) in mass communication from the former Ogun State Polytechnic, now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic.
Funke who has been in the industry since the 90s first starred in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) sponsored sitcom I Need to Know from 1998 to 2002. However her big break didn’t come until 2008 when she appeared in the movie Jenifa’s Diary. She plays the lead character in the ongoing hit TV show Jenifa’s Diary, which is a spin-off from the movie Jenifa’s Diary.
In July 2019, Funke Akindele started a new web series, Aiyetoro Town, a spinoff from her popular TV series, ‘Jenifa’s Diary.
The mother-of-two has won many awards some of which are the Africa movie academy award (AMAA) for Best actress in a leading role(2009); Best actress in a comedy at the 2016 Africa magic viewer’s choice awards (AMVCA). Best actress in a comedy at the 2020 Africa magic viewers choice award etc.Funke is the CEO of Scene One Film Production which produces entertainment content like TV series, Nollywood movies, TV shows and music for TV stations which has a mobile phone application.
She has another app named Jenifa Spells which is an educational app that has family word games. The app was designed by Abdulrasheed Bello aka JJC Skillz, her husband.
Akindele also owns a non-governmental organization known as the Jenifa Foundation, which aims at providing young people with vocational skills; she owns an acting school named Scene One School of Drama.
Simply put, Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele is a ‘big fish’ and unarguably the richest actress in the Yoruba subset of Nigeria’s movie industry.
Controversies: Family Drama — Separation, Court Case, Political Ambition
Maritally, Funke Akindele didn’t have a smooth ride. She first got married in 2012 to Alhaji Kehinde Oloyede Almaroof populary called Kenny Doo. Funke and Kehinde walked down the aisle on May 26, 2012, but got divorced in July 2013, citing irreconcilable differences.
3 years after in May 2016, while giving love another chance, Funke walked down the aisle with Nigerian rapper JJC Skillz in London. The union produced twin boys in December 2018.There is no relationship without its issues, but Funke and JJC Skillz did a good job of keeping theirs’ off the internet. It was all joyful and glamours for ‘online in-laws’
Fast-forward to April 2022, rumours began flying that their union was in crisis by a popular blogger. It was said that Funke asked JJC Skills to leave her house out of annoyance because “o n kowo mi je” (Eng translation: “He is embezzling my money”)
After that scenario, Mella, baby mama of JJC Skillz threatened to expose the crisis going on in Funke Akindele’s marriage and she went on to leak the photo of the faces of the twins (their faces have never been revealed on social media, prior that incident).Benito Bello, Mella and JJC Skillz son also didn’t take things lightly, as he made different live videos, dropped comments, exposing Funke Akindele as a bully who pretends to be a sweetheart online. He also confirmed there is fire on the mountain in their marriage.
In Benito’s words:
“They are not really together. They both cheat on each other, they both had a fight. My dad is practically living somewhere else. I don’t even have any care for them no more. I can’t talk for them as a couple anymore. I can only say what I have seen. They are in open relationship.”
In all of this, Funke Akindele and JJC Skills, still tried their best not to fuel the online speculations of their marriage being in shambles. They attended AMVCA, and although they arrived in separate cars, they hung out together at the event but the usual romantic bliss was evidently lacking.
On Father’s Day, June 19th, Funke celebrated JJC Skillz and many ‘online in-laws’ were a little pacified that things were fine.
On Thursday, June 30 2022 at precisely 8:20 am, JJC Skillz took to the photo and video sharing platform, Instagram to announce his separation from Funke Akindele, due to ‘irreconcilable differences’. He confirmed the rumours that his estranged wife insisted he moves out of the house as at 3 months ago. In his words:
“Dear Friends and family I need to let you know that Funke and I have separated. While it lasted we shared a lot of things together and have created 2 beautiful children. The last two years have been extremely difficult for us. I know I have tried my best to fix things but I believe it is beyond repair now. 3 months ago and at Funke’s insistence I moved out of the house and apart from AMVCA have not been able to get Funke to sit down in an amicable manner to discuss the future of our relationship. I’m making this announcement so that the public is clear that we both are pursuing separate lives. We still have issues that need to be addressed such as the custody and wellbeing of our children which is paramount as well as business interests which need to be disentangled but I have no doubt that these will be resolved one way or the other.”
On April 6, 2020, Funke Akindele, her husband, Abdul Rasheed Bello – JJC Skillz and 236 others were convicted by the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Ogba, days after they held a crowded house birthday party in violation of Lagos State’s Covid-19 social distancing order.
In June 2022, Justice Akintayo Aluko who presided over the case brought to the court by Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, held that the suit was incompetent and disclosed no reasonable cause of action.
Delivering judgement on the case, Justice Aluko said:
“In total, I hold that this suit has disclosed no reasonable cause of action against the Respondents.
“The instant suit is incompetent and the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate over same.
“Accordingly, this suit is hereby struck out for those reasons.”
On Wednesday, June 29, 2022 a campaign poster that surfaced online suggests that Funke Akindele might be a possible governorship running mate to the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate Abdul-Azeez Olajide.The campaign post generated mixed reactions from Nigerians. While some expressed excitement, others referred to it as a joke.
The reason some refer to it as a joke is not far fetched. As mentioned earlier that Akindele and her now estranged husband were convicted and sentenced for not adhering to the rules made by the state and Federal government on Covid-19. This singular act has served as a yardstick for many to judge that Akindele is not a good example for others to look up to when it comes to abiding by rules.