A Tale of Two State Governors


There is no better time than now to inform you that this isn’t a salacious write up about some real life Nigerian state governors. Not that if there were any such juicy gossip, you’d find it here.

Who I’m here to talk about are the make-believe governors of Savannah State and Coastal State. These two excellencies have TV dramas ‘Casino’ and ‘The Governor’ as their playgrounds where they can reign supreme as the most powerful citizens in their states. Perhaps not so supreme because there are kingmakers and godfathers bent on showing these two excellencies where the real power lies. Casino is on Africa Magic Showcase, weekdays ,9 pm (dstv 151) and The Governor is on Ebony Life TV, Thursdays, 8 pm (dstv 165).

These two drama series have politics in common although there are a few differences. Some good, others not so good. The real challenge for me is in balancing these differences but I just couldn’t resist pairing them together. First, I must bring you up to speed about each storyline.

Casino from the Coastal State
Casino described by its producers as an ‘action drama series’ is the story of political power play and quest for survival. There’s the governor of Coastal State (Funsho Adeolu), fighting to come to his own, to free himself from the grip of his powerful godfather Professor (Zack Orji). There’s the love triangle between Patrick (Mofe Duncan), his wife Adanma (Omowunmi Dada) and his wife’s best friend Monisola (Lola Savage). Patrick manages to live on the edge juggling two women and managing his father’s casino. The professor is his father. Gambling is one of their many family businesses. Every other thing is built around these people and places.

On the supporting side you have Funke (Ayo Adesanya), governor’s aide/front who doesn’t look like such a good ‘deals’ person as of this moment. There’s also the not so creatively named journalist Benjamin Aluta whose supposed smartness/power is at once awe-inspiring and baffling considering his not so smart dalliance with Funke, front for the very people he’s planning to expose. And there’s Osaze (Kunle Remy), casino staff who wants to get rich and might yet die trying.

The Governor from Savannah State
This is a much more straightforward story. After the death of Governor Peter Akale (Ayo Lijadu), deputy-governor Angela Ochello (Caroline Chikezie) is sworn in as the new governor of Savannah State. Along with Savannah State’s many problems, she has to deal with all kinds of people in the background with vested interests. Dr Jalo (Paul Christian Chukwudi), Senator Briggs (Kunle Coker) and Chief Sobifa Thompson (Jude Chukwuka) are party chiefs bent on installing finance commissioner Friday Bello (Edmond Enaibe) as deputy governor. What would the governor do? Give in and become a mere puppet? Call the bluff of the godfathers, damn the consequences even if that means the death of her political career?

Supporting Governor Ochello is husband David (Bimbo Manuel), her father, Chief Momoh-Alli (Taiwo Obileye), able chief of staff Henry Duke (Lord Frank) who’s helping her play the game without getting her hands (too) dirty. Paul Asemota (Kelechi Udegbe) is the governor’s ex and proclaimed first love. And there is her mother Diane (Tosan Ugbeye). Mother and daughter don’t see eye to eye so I wonder if we can put Mrs Momoh-Alli in the governor’s supporting corner.
Now you get the drift? You can follow to catch up. For both series, these are early days yet. One of the things Casino and the Governor have in common is that they’re a few episodes old even though The Governor’s six or seven episodes are in as many weeks.

The Governor looks understated yet tasteful. Its seeming understated-ness isn’t as easy as it looks. It’s far easier to do loud and flashy. The Governor instead comes across as elegant, shunning gaudiness. This is only made more —- when placed along side Casino. Casino grabs the viewer’s attention visually. When you begin to pay attention, actually you don’t have to pay that much attention to notice the excesses. One excess is the make up especially of the female characters. Don’t want to get started on the false eyelashes of spiderman proportions. In episode 7, characters are sleeping and waking up in full (body???) make up.

So as not to drag this, I like the acting and organic dialogue in The Governor. I like what Caroline Chikezie brings to her role. The clarity of her delivery is refreshing. Hopefully, some people will realise that it isn’t just about the foreign sounding accent. I do have some questions about ‘one or two’ actors in The Governor. But I’m willing to wait and see.

As for Casino, I’m happy with actors like Mofe Duncan, in fact the love trio of himself, Omowunmi Dada and Lola Savage have something good going. And I very much prefer Kunle Remy in his role as Osaze in Casino to him as Zane in the MNET Tinsel.