Toyin Elebe, a professional business executive, filmmaker, and the Producer of the “Vote True” short film, is not just a man of many talents; he is also a passionate advocate for change in Nigeria. The founder of Telefectiv Productions, —a production company that specializes in documentaries, TV content, and feature films, Elebe recently won the Cannes Award for the Voice-over category alongside David Symmons, the Director.
In January 2023, Toyin Elebe produced the series “Vote True” under the direction of David Symmons. Vote True was released to encourage Nigerians to vote in the 2023 general elections and to choose leaders who would put the country on a path to progress.
Elebe’s Vote True was borne out of his deep love for Nigeria and his belief that the country has the potential to be great. However, he also believes that Nigeria is not living up to its full potential due to several factors, including corruption, poverty, and insecurity.
…and then, it became like this:
At the beginning of the less than 3-minute film, Elebe illustrated the Nigerian Independence Day in 1960 and how Miss Nigeria was decorated. The movie speaks of how Nigerians were promised a good nation by the leaders when they gained independence and the aftermath of the independence.
In the movie, Elebe reiterated how Nigeria has great resources and great people—but is not living up to the standard. Elebe and Symmons used the movie as a means of provoking Nigerians to make the change that matters.
“For so many years now, our true stories have yet to be told to the rest of the world. Our stories are stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things against great odds.” Elebe sternly believes that Nigeria’s true story of creativity, good resources, great men, and women—is yet to be told—and until the country rises to focus on long-term gains rather than short-term gains, it can never reach its full potential.
“It is not hyperbole that Nigeria should be on par with most EU countries in GDP terms and quality of living. Unfortunately, as with most African countries, people focus on short-term gains rather than long-term benefits,” said Elebe in an interview.
For Elebe, lasting change comes from the bottom up, not the top down. This means that real and lasting change in Nigeria can only happen when it is driven by the people, not by the government.
Nigerians have been demanding change for many years, and they are now more determined than ever to see it happen. They are tired of corruption, poverty, and insecurity. They want a government that will listen to them and work for their best interests. “…these issues are now being appropriately addressed under the newly elected president, in my opinion. Perhaps he had seen the film,” Elebe affirmed.
At the end of the video, Elebe opined that those are between “between the ages of twenty-five to fifty-five years old in Nigeria are estimated to be between seventy to hundred million”—which means that up to seventy million Nigerians are eligible to make decisions to reform the country positively.
The 2023 Nigerian elections were a watershed moment in the country’s history. For the first time in decades, Nigerians had a real choice at the polls. The three main candidates, Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi, all offered different visions for the country’s future.
The campaign was fiercely contested, with the candidates focusing on issues such as the economy, security, and corruption. Tinubu promised to continue the policies of the APC government, while Abubakar and Obi promised to bring change and reforms.
Nigerian elections have been dominated by two major parties: the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However, the 2023 elections saw the emergence of a third force, the Labour Party (LP), led by Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State.
Obi’s campaign was fuelled by social media, where he amassed a large following among young Nigerians. He also held rallies across the country, where he drew large crowds.
On election day, Nigerian youths turned out in record numbers to vote for Obi. He won the states of Lagos, Anambra, Imo, Abia, and Ebonyi, and the FCT overwhelmingly. He also made significant inroads in other states, such as Enugu, Delta, and Rivers.
It may be safe to say that Toyin Elebe’s “Vote True” inspired young Nigerians to turn out in record numbers and vote for change in the 2023 elections.
In the end, Obi came third in the election, behind Tinubu and Abubakar. However, his performance was seen as a major victory for the third force and Nigerian youths. It showed that Nigerian voters were willing to look beyond the two major parties and vote for candidates who offered a different vision for the country’s future.
The Cannes Film Festival is an annual international film festival that takes place every year in Cannes, France. It is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, and it is known for its independent and arthouse films. The festival was founded in 1946, and it is held every year in May.
Elebe’s goal is to produce movies that help shape the culture’s narrative and bring untold stories to global audiences. “Movies that will equip us for the next frontier, a world of unlimited possibilities,” he said.