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How Elections Work In Nigeria – Aisha Osori

How Elections Work In Nigeria – Aisha Osori

Aisha Osori always wears different hats at the same time. But if you call her a good governance and development activist, you won’t be far from the mark.

Aisha, whose book, Love Does Not Win Elections, which was released last year, is a sort of tell-all about her political adventure, shares it all in this interview…

Are Nigerian women are ready for 2019?

Ready for what?

To vote and be voted for…

To vote, I will say yes. My reason being that from following the news (mainstream), a couple of weeks ago, there is something very interesting about Bauchi State residents camped outside INEC office trying to get their PVCs and the story actually said there were more women than men. So, that’s heartening. And if you follow the trend on social media in terms of whether it is the RED CARD movement which is being led by women or whether it is just people asking questions about PVCs or asking about registering for parties, I have come across quite a number of that on Facebook and Twitter. In fact I met with women this weekend in Lagos, elderly women, well-respected people in private sectors who were all saying, “We want to join parties, what can we do?" So, I would say yes in terms of awareness that women should participate more, women should use their numbers. There is a lot more awareness. Many women are organizing around groups and around issues. 

In terms of women to be voted for, that I cannot speak about that.  I am not privy to as much information about that. I do know a few women, in private, who are definitely intending to run, who are consulting, including women who have never run before. So, if I will use that as an example, I would say yes, we would see more female entrants, first time participants. I don’t know whether we will get people like me who ran and didn’t win. But I think we would get more new people who have never run before and are interested in running.

Are you one of those people who would run again?

No, I am not. 

You are not coming back?

I am not going to contest in 2019, let’s put it that way.  

Why?

Because of two things; my experience and the book that I have written. I feel I should pay attention to my book. I wrote the book for several reasons. I think it is more important to be part of the process as a mobiliser and organiser, somebody who is raising the issues and not be distracted by the fact that I want to run myself. I think running is a very worthy cause, but I am not prepared to run in this particular cycle. 

Are there things you think can be done to help more women get involved in politics and governance?

I think we are asking the wrong question. The question is; do Nigerians want women to be involved? Maybe we are asking the wrong questions when we are always asking what to do to get more women involved. Have we asked Nigerians if they want more women? At the end of the day they are the ones who are voting. And what we are seeing from all of our struggles, whether it’s to get the gender equal opportunity bill passed, whether it is the constitutional reforms that we put forward to help married women to be able to choose, we are not seeing a sense that we are wanted. So, maybe the questions we are asking is preemptive, we have not even asked Nigerians if they want us.  Is there a sign that Nigerians want more women in government? 

Why then do people always say that ‘we don’t have enough women’, if truly they don’t want women?

The people who are saying that are women. But at the end of the day we are not coming out in numbers. We are not voting for ourselves in enough numbers. So we should be asking such legitimate questions. I will say because we are a patriarchal society where men and women are not socialized to see women in leadership positions. I think that’s a problem. That’s a barrier in many people’s minds. But that’s changing. More and more young girls in universities are contesting for student union government positions. So I think we are raising a more accepting youngsters. But for our own generation, it’s still a struggle. But, I will say, to answer your question directly: We need women. The reason why we need women is because women have different life experiences which are needed when you are drafting policy, implementing policy, when you are budgeting, when you are planning and women make up half the population, and it seems disingenuous and it is not very smart to leave them out. Many societies thriving are societies where women are in mainstream, in the work place and in the formal sector. 

When you hear people talking about IDPs across Nigeria, whether it’s in the North East as a result of Boko Haram attacks or flooding or all sorts of things that displace people, you will find that when you talk to men the story is that, their brains are wired to say that we need building materials, we need axes, shovels. But when you talk to women, women are the ones who would say ‘we need food for old people who have no teeth, we need food for young children who can’t digest food well, and that’s the Ying and the Yang; it is the balance of the universe.  We cannot have only one side of the population thinking and planning for all of us. Maybe that’s part of our problem. 

So, back to your question on what can we do to get more women involved? What we can do to get more women involved is to have parties that are actually democratic in terms of their processes. To have parties whose ideology is to serve and not to steal. If our parties were fundamentally undemocratic, if our parties were designed for coming in to share resources, not to serve, then it will always be very hard for women and other people to get in. Now it is space for people who think it’s “do or die”. But if you want to serve it cannot be do or die. If you are there to serve and not to loot, your ideology will not be do or die because it is not the end of the world. Most decent people who really want to do something for their people really feel that, ‘why should I go down this road which has been corrupted and full of all sorts of obstacles if I want to do good?’ So we should be asking ourselves those questions again. Is the political space open and inclusive for women and decent people? Or is our political process designed for the worst of us, for the people with the worst character traits of us? We all complain about our leadership but we don’t ask these fundamental questions. What is it about the process that keeps bringing out this certain type of people? Why is a certain type of person, a certain type of Nigerian eligible to win primaries and eligible to win elections?  So if we make parties more democratic, I think we will have more women.

What do you think of Affirmative Action?

I think several things. I think the concept of affirmative action all over the world, not just Nigeria, is the idea that if the system has been disadvantageous to a group of people, whether it is blacks in some places, whether it is outcast in some places, whether it is women, so if you have historical disadvantage towards a particular part of a society, affirmative action is to address that in balance. It’s important to know that the historical imbalances are so deep and without some sorts of positive action, it is unlikely that you can bridge the gap. In terms of at least basic policy governance, we have at least a minimum threshold if you have at least a minimum of 35 per cent we think you have enough representation. The voices of women will be strong enough to contribute to policy making. So, it is not something that Nigerians just sat down to design by themselves. This is a global view.

Affirmative Action is followed in about 60 countries around the world. So, again we are not the first, we are not reinventing the wheel.  Then, what is the difference between federal character and affirmative action, in other words? Federal character is simply saying, we have a country and we want it to be representative.

Yes, the spirit of Federal Character is usually considered… 

That’s what I am saying that, in a way, we have embraced a certain aspect of affirmative action. We have agreed that our society should be representative. So we should be asking ourselves why is it so difficult to accept that representation or Federal Character also includes young people who are the majority. So, if we are saying ‘Federal Character’, why should Federal Character only stick to religion and ethnicity? Why isn’t it expanded to accommodate people with disabilities, women, and other parts of our society that make up a huge chunk? I know there is a lot of push back. There is a lot of framing around that says affirmative action is discriminatory. But I think those are people who intentionally want to misread and to misguide and whip up all sorts of sentiments. There is no way you are going to read affirmative action to mean being discrimination against men. I don’t see that explanation. It's only people who want to be mischievous and want to deliberately twist the idea who will say so. And these are usually people who are well educated, who have taken advantage of affirmative action in other countries in terms of their education. But, then they come back home and they want something different. Again it comes back to my original question: what is politics about?  If politics is really about serving, why do you want to leave people out? It is because politics is about sharing resources, splitting money in the middle of the night, sharing our common wealth amongst a few people. That’s why they don’t want young people; that’s why they don’t want women.

Let’s talk about your book; Love Does Not Win Elections, what inspired the book? 

What inspired the book? Well, I contested the primaries in 2014, so the book is about what the experience was like. It’s a first person narrative. 

Can you share some of your experiences?

I considered myself fairly educated, fairly enlightened about the way my society works, but my experience running for primaries, made me realise that I knew too little about the political process. I am very naïve about how sausage is made in the factory – how we get the leadership we have. So, writing that book was my attempt to share that experience with as many people as possible, who maybe, like me, are curious about why we can’t seem to get the right leadership that we need in the country. The book tries to answer some of these questions.

For instance, the first one is that politics is an industry. Yeah, politics is an industry with stakeholders who go into generations. They are grooming their successors to take over from them. You will find generations: first and second in it. They are the ones who serve as ward chairmen in parties, they are the ones who will be selected as delegates during the primaries and so if you are not part of the industry and you come out as an outsider, it is very hard for you to navigate. It’s beyond money. People think it is all about money, though, of course, our elections are very monetised. That was the second thing I learnt that, yes our elections are monetised.

But there are legitimate costs for running for an office everywhere in the world. We have our own as well. However, money can’t buy everything. You can have all the money in the world and you can still not win an election in Nigeria.

I also learnt that information is key. As I said earlier most of us who didn’t grow up in the industry; we didn’t have people in our families who were politicians and who may be hosted political party meetings, that way you sort of know and have an idea on how things work. 

Even if you don’t know the basics, your parties are not designed to share information. Information is deliberately withheld kept as a barrier to entry. So all the time that I was working with the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, I didn’t even know about those practical steps to running for an office. I was supposedly the CEO of an organization that is focused on trying to get more women into office either through elections or appointment but when it came to elections we were very green and didn’t know how a lot of things about how the process work.  They keep talking about free nomination forms for women but when you get your form what is in the form? What are you required to do?

So, for example, one thing I experienced in my process, people kept saying, “don’t get your form till the last day. Don’t waste your money’. At least, be going round consulting. You know consulting is a big thing in Nigeria, you want to run, you know what you want to do but you must pretend that you are consulting, going round and talking to everybody.  ‘So, while you are consulting, don’t buy your forms,’ they told me. Thank God I didn’t listen to the advice, I bought my form and I realised that if the last day for submission of form was October 23 and I had gone to pick my form on 22 as people had been advising me, I would have been unable to meet that deadline because of all I needed to know to fill out the form. For instance, I was running for House of Representatives. I think I needed 30 people from my party to nominate me. So you have to get their signatures on the form. The form also gives you space for voter registration number. So, you are not just looking for anybody, you are looking for party members who are registered voters. So, I would not be able to do that in one day. So, information is key. And you wonder why parties designed this information not to be open. Even joining a party was a process. Where are your party offices? For people that live in FCT for example, whether you want to join PDP or APC or you want to join ANPP in those days, can you go online and get this information like most other things? At least, most government departments and agencies, if you go online you can find their addresses. But you cannot go online and say where is PDP’s ward office for Wuse 2 or ward office Garki?. That information is privileged for the cartel. It is for those in the industry. So that reinforced that it is an industry that does not want outsider, an industry that wants to continue to the way it always has, under very opaque rules and does not want any transparency in what they do. So, my book talked about that.

My book also covered my experience that people are looking for people that reflect their values. And that it is by design that they have politics that is not reflective of values and ideology. You cannot say that I like this party because this is what they stand for. Instead, we use personalities. And when you ask why they like a particular person, very few people can actually articulate why they like the person in a way that is logical and verifiable and not just filled with emotions and myth about the person.  So, I found it fascinating that people are desirous of people that reflect their values.  And I think that was what made it easy for me to raise money. I didn’t have money to run but I raised a fair amount, decent amount of money, in the six or almost eight weeks that I decided to run.

What that told me was that a lot of Nigerians are willing to donate to people’s elections if they feel you reflect their values. In my case, maybe because I had been writing for a while, people read what I write and feel that they know me. So they can donate to that cause. So those were some of the things I covered in the book as a story. From deciding to run and going through the process. I also found the delegate system very tainted. I understand why parties want to use delegate system. The Electoral Act provides that you conduct primaries either directly; which means everybody will vote and most parties do not know how many members they have. So, they use the delegate system which is very open to abuse and not transparent. But for now, that’s what we use. 

When you say it is very open to abuse and not transparent, what do you mean?

Ok, for the PDP primary in 2014 in preparation for 2015 elections, there were two sets of delegates – the automatic delegates and elected delegates. Anybody who was a member of the National Assembly was an automatic delegate. Any party official was an automatic delegate on the state level. But they changed their rules; before everybody, including executives at the ward level used to be delegates. But they changed that because they said that it was too expensive. But then, they now had ad-hoc delegates, three from each ward. I had 22 wards in total, so 22 X 3, is 66 delegates. Each ward will have three people each. If I use my ward for an example, we did not have any election for the delegates. They just called us in a meeting; they asked us who want to be a delegate? 18 of us raised our hands, including me who was a candidate. I told myself that ‘at least, let me vote for my own self, on that day I will have my one vote for sure’. They now said they would get back to us. We were supposed to have a conference on a particular day, nobody knew where the conference was supposed to be, no information. A few days later, they said these are the delegates. That’s one way.

Then you will hear all sorts of stories. You will hear stories of how people sponsor delegates. I had 66 delegates. If I wanted to influence it, if I was a rich person, I would process the application of 66 people. That means I would buy each form and each was N10000, so N10,000 times 66. I would also process the forms and that means getting their passport photographs. So you can maybe add another cost of N5,000 each to process everybody’s nomination form to be delegates. Then I would now still have to influence people that will pick the delegate within the party. So, you can see that it is a very expensive thing. Only people with deep pockets can do that. So, people don’t bother with all that process, they just send names of people  they want, if they are that powerful enough, to the national officer and say make sure that make them the delegate list or make some of them the delegates, depending on how powerful you are. So, these are the different options for delegate election. And you can see that none of them is fair and just. So, that’s one example of what I saw about the delegate process. 

That’s one. Then two, you will know that you have these 66 delegates but finding out who they are is near impossible. Each ward has done their congresses, selected their own. During the primaries in which I contested in 2014, the official list of the delegate did not come out until the Friday. The primaries were on Saturday and the official list came out around mosque time the day before. If I had been waiting for that list, when would I have engaged these delegates to sell my side of the story? Because before the list came out, I had been warned to be careful because people were expecting that names would change. And low and behold, yes, two names changed. But in some cases, in other states, as many as half of the names were changed. Meanwhile, you had spent your whole time, engaging with people and you now would have last minute people that you would be scrambling to find in the last 24 hours. So, again, you ask yourself, how transparent and open is the process. 

Why did you even want to run for office at that time?

I contested because it is my country too and I was tired of complaining. I see no reason I should sit aside and watch people that I think are not as well-meaning as me, not as enlightened as me, and not as decent as me, and I can say that because they showed themselves all the time on the social media and in the National Assembly. They are fighting, they are looting and there are allegations of padding, so nothing is secret about how these people behave. So, I believe this is my country too. I have no other passport. I am only a Nigerian and I want to leave a better country for my children. Why should I sit aside and do nothing and watch these charlatans keep running for office and keep winning. Is that not a good reason? I am a Nigerian too and this is my country. 

Have you given up entirely?

If I have given up, I won’t be seating here and I won’t have written a book. I think People that will give up would not write a book, they would not be bothered about the process. They will just turn their backs and say, ‘I tried, let me move on with my life.’ I’ve written a book about it. I’m still going around states, talking about it. Does that sound as somebody who has given up on the process? 

So you will still run for office in the future?

I will say this; I am fully committed to reforming the political process in Nigeria. I can do that without running. 

But will you still run for office in the future?

I will never say never but I am fully committed to reforming the political process in Nigeria. I am not interested in a political process that is flawed. So, I think that also answers the question. If they can reform the electoral process so that it is fair, people win because they genuinely are what the party and the people of the community want, that’s fine. Do I want to win by being favoured by a godfather or a godmother? No. 

What informed your decision to join the PDP to run for an office then?

I chose the PDP because it is the easiest party to join. Joining parties is not easy. Like I said, it is an industry where they don’t want outsiders. Joining the PDP was a lot more transparent and easy and transactional than APC. It was more transactional. At least they were open about what they wanted.  

Do you think your experience is the same as other people like you who were not part of the industry?

I would say yes and no.

Perhaps that is what is keeping away many elites and young people?

Of course and as I said, yes or no. People read my book and there are different reactions to it and that’s why I love talking about the book. I love going round talking to people about the book. Because every time I talk about the book with different audience, they all see different things in the story that I did not see. One lady has come out and said, why do you expect that you will just come out six weeks to the primaries and the people would love you and embrace you? And that’s a very valid question. Another person said, ‘would I do things differently, I said yes. If I knew I was going to run, I would have started long ago. But that said, what is the experience of outsiders who engaged? Is it different from my own? No. Because they still meet obstacles from how this delegate election system works – how the primaries work. That actually gave me the courage to say it is neither here nor there. It is not by how early you start the race, it is not about how much love you have instilled in the people, it is about whether the structure of the party wants you or not. So, you could have been somebody in the grassroots mobilizing from day one, if the party structure refuses to give you the ticket, you still don’t have the ticket. You might now decide to move to another party that is not well known, that doesn’t have structures and sometimes we have heard a few encouraging stories of how people won, but there are very few of those stories. We all know that. Even though my experience does not go all the way to the general election, our general elections process is still with some of its issues in terms of transparency and legitimacy. 

And I like to use Babatunde Fashola as an example, people love Fashola. Before the 2015 elections his name was on most lips whenever they were asked who they want to be president or vice president. And I was laughing then. Can Fashola even select a governor? He did eight years in Lagos as governor but could he select the next governor of Lagos State? 

He couldn’t…

Exactly, does love does win election? People love him but can he win an election by himself based on the love that people have for him? Can he make one person in Lagos state House of Representatives member? Or even Lagos State House of Assembly; let’s not even go to national.  

If love doesn’t win election, what wins election then?

I have no idea. People write for different reasons, one of the reasons I wrote the book is to understand better what I don’t know. So, I have shared the problem. They say a problem shared is a problem half-solved. Anybody that reads the book might have ideas. That’s why I’m talking about the book to hear their ideas. I still have no answers. I don’t know what wins elections, but it is not love. 

President Muhammadu Buhari's administration is bad but right now there is no option on ground so I will still vote President Buhari is the most self-defeatist statement I have ever heard”, you recently tweeted. Who do you think is a better alternative that can defeat Buhari in the coming election? 

I think we can do better than Buhari. I think Nigeria has a lot of talented people, but they are not in the political space. They are in somewhere else. They are in the private sector, development, not in the political landscape.

 

If for instance I asked you to pick people who will do better than the crop of people we have now, can you gives us names?

No, I can’t. And I think that is exactly what is wrong with Nigeria. Instead of picking people randomly, let’s try an experiment. Not just for the president. We focus a lot on our president, but for our governors, our legislators who will come and represent us at the state and federal level, what are the three qualities that we think that Nigeria need today, 2018? Based on all our issues, not a Nigeria of 1960, or 1984, what are three qualities that we think a president should have? When many of us agree that these are what we need, but when we just randomly pick people, on what basis am I picking those names? 

I think we are saying the same thing…

No. if we say these are the qualities we want then the people that I don’t know might say, I have these qualities and I am encouraged to come out. But if I start with names, on what basis? These are just people that I know or people who declare their interest and put themselves forward. 

No. If I say give me three people, you will definitely give me three people you know, do you understand? But you are also picking those people based on their qualities. Good. I don’t want you to give names of those you don’t know. 

But is that not what everybody does? I’m just saying. Is that not what everybody does? We normal pick from our own… and that’s why, for me, the reason why I’m scared to pick names is that no matter, what we all seems to pick names of people who are out there. And I’m like surely we are 180 million people…

Not necessarily out there and that’s why I said apart from the present crop of people we have, I’m looking at people in the development sector that we might not know that you know. That’s what I mean. 

Ok, what qualities will do it for you?

The president I want in 2019 should be a talent identifier. What does that mean? It means you have an eye for the people you need to get your vision done. It’s something that I learnt from the private sector which is where my working life has been, anyway. I was in internal communication manager for British American Tobacco, maybe I have done that for three years and eyeing a promotion, I want to move up. It is part of my responsibility as a manager to pick who succeed me and not just succeed me, but do well in the role because the mark of a good leader is not that when you leave the place, the place falls down. You need to groom people. So, if I want a president today, he must not be a president who knows everything. Yes, he or she must be enough of a generalist. The person will have a vision. But key thing is to know people, having a network; being a talent identifier. You cannot be a talent identifier if you don’t have a wide network, know people, you do not like people or you are not comfortable with people. For me, talents identify all of those things.  

Secondly, somebody who is not afraid to challenge the status quo because I think we have been doing things the same way in Nigeria since 1960. For me it’s important you have a track record of scattering things, rocking the boat, not just somebody who doesn’t what to upset people.

Then it has to be somebody who has a track record outside of the government. I am actually tired of government people. If the only thing you have done with your life is that you have worked for the government, then I don’t want you. Don’t point me that this governor did this; before he was a governor, what was his life? After he became governor, what did he do with his life? Don’t show me what you have done as a governor. You are supposed to do things, anyway. I want a person who has a track record outside of the government, whether he is employing people, whether he is farming. It was one of the things I said by the time Buhari came in 2015. I said, my problem with this man, not that I didn’t vote for him - with regret - but I said to myself and to some people around me that I was worried about a man that between every election cycle, it is as if he didn’t exist. Between 2003 and 2007, he would go and sleep. Then he would come back after four years. He doesn’t speak on national issues, he doesn’t have a foundation. He does not write a book. He is not teaching, not speaking, he is not doing anything. Between 2017 -2011, the same thing, 2011-2015, the same thing. Why? And that lack of interest in anything just exhibited itself perfectly, including taking six months to appoint his ministers. The man had no plan, except to be the president. That’s all. 

But many people believed that President Buhari had the courage to challenge the status quo…

What in his track record made us believe that? People that know him better than me should tell me. What in Buhari’s life experiences portrayed him as such even in his first coming as a military head…

What status quo did he break?

At least he came up with the War Against Indiscipline…

So? I’m challenging it. There are myths around people in Nigeria. You need to challenge those myths.  I’m just asking simple question. If he was considered status quo rattler, what are the examples of the status quo that he rattled? It is not an emotional conversation, it’s just factual. We don’t deal with facts in Nigeria rather we deal with myths and emotion. Let’s deal with number and facts. 

So you are saying that if Buhari comes out in 2019, you will not vote for him?

Sure! On what basis will I be voting for him? 

But how would you rate his administration?

On what basis…

Are you saying that he has been a total failure?

Most people would say let’s rank him on the things he said he would do: anti-corruption, security and economy.

Ok. Let’s use Security and anti-corruption, is he doing well? People in the North East will say for sure that their lives have improved; safer. But would people in other parts of the country say the same thing? The fact that my life is not touched by conflict, pain, sorrow and grief doesn’t meant that there no hundreds of thousands of Nigerians who are facing that right now  and who in their own mind are already in a war. How do the people who are caught up in the herder/farmer conflict feel? Do they not feel as if they are at war? There is insecurity. Tackling insecurity as a symptom of something that is wrong, but what has this administration done to tackle the root of insecurity which is tied to different things, including, inequalities, and inability to get justice? Some people are living in the Wild Wild West right now in Nigeria. Today’s paper said something about how 5000 women were raped. How can 5000 women be raped? Check either Daily Trust or ThisDay of  February 14. One of those headlines said 500 women raped in Zamfara. People are entering towns, killing people, sending notes to people telling them to leave town before they come.  So, tell me those people are not living in a war situation. 

And we have law enforcement agencies…

We have the Police Force. It is the same Police Force that are telling us that they have strength of 400,000 at this point. At least 150,000 of them are not securing the lives of Nigerians rather they are securing the lives of big men. So, we have the remaining 250,000 to serve the rest of us 180 million. So, ask me, how am I supposed to rate him? 

Now let’s talk about Anti-corruption and I will only use one thing, the NNPC. They said a lot of bad things happen in NNPC. We are hearing the stories of what happened during Good Jonathan administration and I ask one simple question and nobody has answered me. What in the processes of NNPC has changed between that time and now? The biggest cash cow, the biggest revenue generator, is oil. We still haven’t changed anything. We still haven’t passed the PIB, we have not learnt how to meter better and we are still discussing whether we are subsiding or not subsiding. So, what am I supposed to be rating g him on?

So, if you are to score him what would his scorecard look like?

2 over 20.  I am giving one for effort on a scale of one over ten in two places. When it comes to corruption, padding in our National Assembly has not changed. The same story we used to hear from Obasanjo’s time, Yar’dua’s time to Jonathan’s time is the same story we are hearing now. If you want to talk about Party politics, the same disunity within his own party, the ruling party and in house fighting is rife. The same way the old party used to do is the same way the ruling party is doing. So, what has changed? INEC is weaker. The perception of INEC as an institution that is strong enough to deliver is dwindling by the day.  So on what basis should I score him more?

Why would you say that?

People are saying as much in the papers. PDP was in the paper two days talking about it but, of course, PDP will cry foul because when they were in power they know how they used INEC. Against, I ask, what in the processes within INEC has changed? What has improved since 2015? President Buhari, more than anybody, knows how much pain he has gone through the electoral process. He came in since 2015 and what electoral reform was initiated by the executive? The only electoral reform we are talking about now was initiated by the National Assembly.  The executive has had no bill in terms of electoral reforms.  You have an attorney-general, you have a man who was a three-time presidential loser, who has felt the pain more than most of a system that you say is not transparent. What have you done to make that process more transparent? See the scandal of NIA. It started with Jonathan but it is still lingering and still inside this government. You have an EFCC chairman that the Senate does not want. I mean common, do you want me to go on and on, on what rational basis that is not emotional do you want to rate this administration  You said you were going to bring change, ok. But where is the change? 

How would you define yourself?

People like to say ‘she is a woman’, ‘she is a Muslim’, ‘she is this’, ‘she is that’. Is she Ebira, is she Nupe? I am human first.   Why can’t we just see ourselves as humans first?  My feelings are not female. My feelings are not black. My feelings are human. I have human thoughts, human aspirations, human faults and human fears.  Human!. Human also means imperfect. Human also mean striving to be better. I see myself as somebody who is really bothered about injustice. I don’t like things to be unfair. I don’t like things to be skewed in favour of any person. I don’t like bullies. I like things to be clear. I like processes. I like people. I like things to make sense that when you do good, good follows you and when you do bad, bad follows you. These are not the things that make Nigeria tick.  And it bothers me.

What motivates you?

All the things I just said; Lack of justice.

What do you do when you are not pursuing justice?

I read and I’m trying to earn a living that is honest. I’m consulting. I’m writing. I am being a good friend, a good sibling, a good daughter and a good mother. I’m just trying to be better. 

Interview Confidential

It’s Easier To Be Trapped By Traffickers Than Most People Think - Bukola Oriola

It’s Easier To Be Trapped By Traffickers Than Most People Think - Bukola Oriola