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My Trials, Triumphs and Lessons as a political candidate.

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Sunday, February 7th, 2016
7 comments

Life as I know it is full of ups and downs, but when you go through traumatic incidents, it is very hard to find the strength to get back up and keep on pushing.

 

The year 2014 was a revelation to me. I decided to go into politics, unaware of the intrigues, expense and betrayals it entailed. Knowing in theory is one thing. Experience is another thing altogether. The need to serve my State, country, and be more than a face on the screen yearned to be fulfilled. I joined a young group of aspirants called Campaign.ng  in which everyone was running for office, either as a State House of Assembly member, Federal House of Representatives  member, or as a Governor. Membership of the group was both male and female. We pooled our resources together and organized training for young aspirants on what to expect when you run for a public position. We had ideals, yearning to do things differently, to show that politics is not a dirty game…little did we know that we were about to wade into shark infested waters!

 

For us the female aspirants, we had a waiver in that our forms (depending on the position you were running for) were free but we had to purchase the ‘Intent’ form amongst a whole lot of other monetary charges. I live in Lagos and pay taxes there, but I also had to pay taxes in Cross River State, my home state where I was seeking to be elected. Each time I met with a group to talk about why I needed their support, it cost me money. At the end of the day, it dawned on me that the people I met with at different times, did not care if I had anything to offer or not, they did not care for my heart or for service, they just did not care – all they wanted was to be paid. The man whom I was running against had been in that position for 16 years and so had the wherewithal but I gave it my all and was proud of myself for going the full hog. After my Primaries election, which held on the 6th of December, 2014, I was physically ill. Politics in Nigeria is definitely not for the faint hearted. A few friends supported me financially, others spiritually with prayers. It took an emotional toll on me, most nights I would cry my heart out. No day went by without me spending thousands of naira from my hard earned savings. It was hard for me to understand that even at the height of my recognition as a respected and reputable Actress, social activist, Ambassador to some charities that beam the spotlight on social issues such as Violence against Women and Children, charities that encourage personal health such as Cervical Cancer Prevention to mention a few, it was just not enough.

I was told I did not come home often enough, they did not know me. It did not matter that the  world knows me. That was hard for me to understand. After the experience, Aljazeera profiled my foray into the political terrain and I had people come up to me after the international broadcast saying that I was brave to even try.

 

This is my summation, the people go through this cycle of promises every 4 years and come election time due to deprivation and neglect, money is thrown around and for them, it is their time to get what they can from their different representatives. This does not take away from the fact that there are a few who are truly serving and representing the people who voted them in.  I have no regrets. It is said that you never know what you are capable of till you try or in the words of my dear friend, who also happens to be my namesake, Kate, “The person who does not go does not know. The person who goes is the person who knows’.

 

No person or individual is born a politician. We all need to be involved. Politics shapes what we do, and political  decisions, laws and policies affect our everyday lives. We need to get the right people in, people who truly know how to “minister” to the needs of the electorate. They deserve nothing less.
I know that my story and others like mine might discourage others from seeking to represent their communities but that should not be the case. Let us stay close to our people by going home more often and sponsoring projects. We need to show them that they have alternatives and can make better choices.

 

Kate Henshaw is a famous Nigerian actress, social activist, producer and philanthropist.

 

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Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.abovewhispers.com as the source.

7 Responses

  1. Love this and soonest u shall blow like a wide wind just the way u are famous in nollywood …. Political career still in your blood. Others shine so shall u shine .

  2. Nice right up Kate. Your effort will be rewarded beyond your imaginations as long as you don’t give up politically. God bless.

  3. Its jus a mata of tym my dear. Wat wil be wil be. Don’t giv up cos God is stil workiing out somtin in ur favor. Tnx 4 inspiring me again

  4. This is a really deep and insightful surmission of Kate’s experience kudos to you for even trying and I really hope you will use your maiden foray as a platform to attempt it again remember PMB tried several times

  5. Well done dear Kate. With this great piece one could see the ‘boldness’ embedded in the heart, stringed in words,coming through the pen…

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