Maybe I need my head checked. On one hand, a part of me thinks, “What could be more noble than trying to serve my country in whatever capacity I can?” After all, we have to do more than just complain. It is my country too – the only one I have and the only one I want. People talk free and loose with ‘God does not make mistakes’ – I think we like to heap our irresponsibility on God- but in this case, I am where I was born to be – a Nigerian. My name is Fatima Adaora Balogun (just call me FAB for short). This is my blog cataloging my experience in the political arena.
I always knew I would be involved in politics. From an early age I was the kind of person who was always ‘in charge’. I would always be asked to make decisions and I always had lots of people around me. It must have been because I was the last child of successful parents who were involved in business. Business is like politics. You have to have a wide network, people must like and trust you (to keep coming back). You must know how to sweet talk people, make them do things they sometimes don’t want to do.
Once I decided I would run – after being cajoled by a few friends and mentors that I had what it takes and they would support me. Over the last few years as I continued to make larger strides with my charity focused on getting more young people to read widely (donating books to libraries, book clubs with young girls and boys, going to read to the blind or taking books to orphanages and homes), there has been increased attention on my work in my community. And to be honest, the interventions have been small but slowly, more and more people started coming to me with all sorts of issues and because I like to get things done, I have taken up almost every request, finding creative ways of spending other people’s money for my community.
Anyway, thankfully, I was smart enough to have registered with the X party a few years ago and while not active at the ward level, I have been visible enough that no one can question my bona fides. But I must say, when I wanted to register it was not easy. Eventually I did.
I decided to consult a few friends already involved in politics. Some had even run in 2011 and were already actively working towards 2015. I admit feeling that I was coming into the game late.
I spoke with a female mentor first. I thought she would be excited. She wasn’t but she gave me a lot of good advice. She outline why the constituency I wanted to run for was difficult and what being in my party meant in that context. I asked if it would help if I changed my party. She was not convinced it would do much good.
The next person I spoke with was more encouraging and introduced me to a political strategist who has worked on many campaigns and knows his way round both major political parties.
At our first meeting he outlined all the things I needed to do and prepare with. It was an eye opener. If I had not been involved in all the community projects I had involved in, I would have run in the opposite direction. Now I know why people are so wary of entering into elective politics