Natasha Akpoti dropping stew from her Senatorial recipe.

Natasha Hadiza Akpoti, the Social Democratic Party, SDP’s Senatorial candidate for Kogi Central is desirous of making her senatorial district the hub of the New Nigeria.

Akpoti, an entrepreneur, a lawyer, and social activist was live on Political Stew, a Politics-based programme, anchored by the ace broadcaster, Sulaiman Aledeh on Television Continental, TVC.

An advocate of the revival of the Ajaokuta Steel Company, Akpoti said Kogi Central is the base of Nigeria’s natural resources. She said her venture into politics is to raise her people higher and give her Senatorial district an international recognition.

Natasha Okpoti, having a taste of her stew. Credit: Political Stew

A Peek Into Natasha Akpoti’s Aspiration

Akpoti revealed her delight about the focus placed on women in politics, as she said that will also be an important tool in seeing more women in politics.

”Before I say anything about myself, I’ll like to start with a preamble. According to the recent World Bank report, Nigeria is 41st in terms of development and economic potentials, and I’m forced to ask, what went wrong?

African Development Bank(AfDB) says in its Economic Outlook that Africa’s future lies in entrepreneurship and industrialization. Taking a step back from my civil advocacy, I discovered there was much more to be done in terms of entrepreneurship, and industrialization.”

From Civil Advocacy To Politics, What Changed?

”In the course of my advocacy for the Ajaokuta and Itakpe Steel Industry revival, I discovered the Civil space is weak, and if anything will be done, more often than not, one has to be a politician.  I didn’t just want to be a Nigerian who gives opinions, and that’s why I stepped in, tied my belt, ‘cooked some stew’, and got more involved in active politics.

”I’m in politics because we need to begin to make legislative reforms in the d steel sector.”

On Why She Left APC For SDP

Akpoti revealed her reasons for quitting the All Progressives Congress(APC) for the SDP. She said her inability to bury her mandate for the anointed candidate of her state’s governor informed her decision to leave the party, in order for her to give her people the representation they deserve.

”I joined the ruling party at the beginning of my active participation in politics. I had high hopes, but the governor told me to step aside for his anointed candidate. I felt that was undemocratic, and I wanted to be a true voice for my people. I felt it was weak to step down.”

Relationship With Governor Yahaya Bello

She revealed she still maintains her friendship with Governor Bello, adding that she finds no significance in playing politics with bitterness.

”We are good friends. I make it a point of duty to communicate with him once a week. I don’t see any point in playing politics with bitterness. He told me he had his preferred candidate and told every other person contesting in APC to step down.  Some did, some went into primaries, and got disappointed, to an extent.

I resonate with the SDP, I’m a social democrat at heart. My father was one of the founding members of the SDP and worked to bring M.K.O. Abiola. I learned the ropes of working with the grassroots and, ensuring the true power lies with the people. I feel at home with the SDP.”

The delectable Akpoti described her move to the SDP as God’s doing, adding that ”sometimes when one door closes, the other opens, and you see the brighter light at the end of the tunnel.

Her Position On Gender Inequality

Akpoti rolled out figures to defend her claim that Nigerian women are not getting enough opportunities in politics, a situation that has made growth hard to come by for the nation, because a huge chunk of the populace has been denied participation.

”Nigeria has the least representation of women in politics in West Africa. Of four hundred, and sixty-nine(469), thirty(30) are women which represent just 6%. In Ghana, it is 12.7% and Senegal has the highest participation of women in active politics with 41.6%.

Kogi Central SDP Senatorial candidate, Natasha Akpoti(right) and Oyo State NIPM Governorship candidate, Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu(left). Photo Credit: Political Stew

There is a high level of masculinity in our politics. The men are like 100 times more than the women and consider it a hindrance, some husbands are unwilling to allow their wives to participate in politics.  Some people consider it a dirty terrain but that’s why women should be involved to mop up the dirt.

”Half of the nation’s capacity is not being used. 49.5% of the population are women and that’s about 90million people. That means we have one(1) person for 6million people. The distance is too much.

On Her Ambition In The Parliament

I’m going to do more on the steel sector, and our social justice, which our constitution is very quiet about. I’m going into the Parliament to ensure there’s a better Healthcare system, education, and I’ll also make a case for gender equity.

Many go into politics without knowing what they want to do.

I wrote every word in my manifesto, and it was gotten through my days of social advocacy. I notice problems and I put them down, and read more on countries that are doing well like Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana to see where Nigeria is lagging behind.

I‘m going to get in there, I cooked my stew real well, and I have my people’s backing. I’m representing 1million people, and that’s huge.

Political Stew Anchor, Sulaiman Aledeh taking a peep into Natasha Akpoti’s Senatorial stew. Photo Credit: Political Stew

Politics doesn’t have to be dirty but even if it’s dirty, we clean it and that’s what women do. We mop up the dirt in the home.

On Her Biracial Roots

I’m used to people calling me ‘oyinbo’. I had a lot of it growing up and I didn’t like it. I felt it was kind of racial because I was free, and I wanted to feel like a part of my people.

I lived in Kogi all my life before I moved to Abuja.

Her Joker For Victory In Kogi Central

Akpoti said running an issue-based government is important to her, as she works to seek solutions to the myriads of problems facing her people.

She said; Kogi is in the heart of Nigeria, and Kogi Central is the nucleus of Kogi. People are poor, yet very entrepreneurial because what should have been the bedrock of industrialization is lying dead- the Ajaokuta Steel Company.

The Steel Sector is not revived yet. I’m not mincing my words. It needs people who are committed to doing their jobs and who will put Nigeria first.

I’ll focus on issues and problems that concern my people.

I’m waiting in the near months to see the APC and PDP candidates to come and support me- collaboration because Kogi Steel is the brightest way to make the people better. I want them to come, and say let’s give this lady a chance and give her our support.

How She Hopes To Keep In Touch With Her People

My formative years were spent in Okene and Ihima.  Ebiraland and Kogi Central lies in my heart. Though I have settled in Abuja, I still go home often, and I have adopted 600 children from my community, and I pay their tuition because I believe in the power of education as a tool in eradicating poverty.

I will run an open government, keep my Facebook open because I see many people from Kogi Central are on Facebook.

I’m going to spend most weekends at home because the idea is to open Kigi Central to the world.

I want to make Kogi the industrialization hub so that finest schools, cinemas can move in there.

On A Possible APC Return

Akpoti used the football transfer window style in her description of a possible return to the ruling party, saying if the APC needs her attention, and service, she may get a loan move there after it must have reached a negotiation with her party, the SDP.

”I admire President Muhammadu Buhari and his vision and integrity. If the APC needs me, I’ll tell them to speak to my party. I’m open to collaboration.

2019 is going to be more about individuals. It is individuals that build a nation, not the party.

I believe in my people. I believe they have high awareness, and I believe the power they have in their thumb will give them the future they deserve.

We  Republican in nature. Ebira people get what they want when they desire it. They stand through that, through thick and thin, without fear.

We know what we want, and we will build a new Nigeria from Kogi Central.  Nigerians should watch out for something greater and amazing from Ebira land,” she concluded.

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