My Experience as a Political Aspirant in last elections-House of rep candidate Ejikeme Alozie-Nwagboso
In the first of exclusive series of Socio-Political experiment we are conducting, as regards the experience of Political aspirants representing the youth demographic in the last elections,we bring you the first article of several that will be published daily in chronological order.Ejikeme Alozie-Nwagboso is a returnee diasporean who delved into the caustic and uncertain terrain of Nigerian Politics, as a Political aspirant contesting a seat in the Federal House of Representatives here he answers a series of questions narrating his experiences both Positive and Negative in last elections including advice for aspiring Youths..
Question:As one of the few Political aspirants representing the Nigerian youth Demographic in the last elections, what would you say was your most enduring positive and the most daunting challenge you faced? Narrate the experience from your own perspective
EjikemeAN: As a Financial Accountant, I focus more on specific stuffs in relation to the Financial world. It is completely different when it comes to politics. However, my financial background helped me during the campaign process. During the electioneering campaign, i gained a vast knowledge on the facts of virtually every situation facing my constituents. From agriculture, to housing, to education, to finance, to unemployment. I now understand firsthand the needs of my people from my interactions with them. Also, with the campaign being so public and high profile, it has pushed me to another level of working under pressure. I truly gained a good wealth of knowledge that will remain embellished in my life. Similarly, I was faced with daunting situations. Most of the people saw my electioneering campaign as a means to having their financial issues solved in the meantime. You’re called upon to solve various private, public and family financial needs. I was left to balance these expectations with educating them on the needs to understand my contesting for an elective position isn’t about money but proper representation at the National legislative body.
Pls Read: Meet: Ejikeme Alozie-Nwagboso
Question:Tapping from the benefit of hindsight what would you do differently from this election to future campaigns?
EjikemeAN: Hustling wins elections. And candidates who work hard and launch their campaigns before their opponents seem to get elected. In future campaigns, I will definitely launch my campaign early. I need to have my campaign plan, strategies fleshed out and the team headed out to campaign much earlier than I did last time. The “Gossip” factor comes into play successfully here as well. People will talk to people about a candidate. The earlier people start talking about you, the wider the outreach.
Question:How did you relate with the much older contestants and was there any incident that stood out i.e. threats, violence etc
EjikemeAN: I actually did not meet with them. However, I campaigned against them respectfully. The campaign to me was not about my relationship with my opponents. It was about the delivery of service to my constituents. So, I paid more attention to meeting with the electorates. It is worthy to note that I received information on how they campaigned against me also. The notion that the youth aren’t qualified to vie for such positions was funny to me. My opponents and the people alike were surprised that such a young folk my age was contesting against the so called “elites”, “rich men” of the land. My opponents felt I should have come out to contest for a councillorship position at best as opposed to a House of Representative seat.
Question:What did you learn from the whole experience and what advice would you give Nigerian youths looking to throw their hats in the ring in next elections.
EjikemeAN: The experience is unquantifiable. I have learned to be a better strategist and leader. Exercise more patience, understanding and quite tolerant. My advice to the youth is: They should know they can compete with the elites and still win them in an election. They should eschew fear and exhibit confidence the more in challenging the status quo.
Question:What would you say are the challenges being faced by aspirants in the demographic you represent
Ejikeme AN: The most evident issue is Finance. The young people have no funds to prosecute the rigorous processes of elections. They are mostly unemployed. The few working are not earning enough to delve into politics. They are more restricted to be watchers of the game. This shouldn’t be so. The political parties and the government would probably have to look into this issue. In addition to finance, the youth do not see themselves as qualified to contest elections or challenge the status quo. So, I am happy I broke that barrier and I am looking forward to having more youth throw their hats in the ring next time around.
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