Blurb “In 2014 Ayisha answers a call from within to contest the primaries for a seat in the National Assembly on the platform of Nigeria’s ruling party – the Peoples Democratic Party. She is dissatisfied with the quality of representation – both from the men and women in office and after years advising on and working to get more women into leadership positions, she is curious about what it would take to contest and win.
Can and does she do all that is required of her as an aspirant or does she pick and choose and what impact did her choices have on the results? Was there ever a chance that she could have won? Go through the journey of midnight meetings, envelopes full of money, prayers for sale, tracking the First Lady and trying to get President Jonathan to realise the damage that was being done to the party with the automatic ticket policy and find out what it takes to win (or lose) the primaries of a major political party in Nigeria.
Told in a witty style that belies the heft of its subject matter, Ayisha takes her readers on a spell binding journey into the political underbelly of Nigeria.”
Editing Well edited.
It is the season of elections in Nigeria and permutations are being made. We see how politicians campaign; we watch primaries on live TV, we even watch as political parties ask aspirants to step down for the anointed, chosen ones. It is good for politicians to record their own version of events, so posterity can judge them.
Love Does Not Win Elections details Ayisha’s journey on her quest to win the primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to become its flag bearer for the general elections into the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the two legislative houses in Nigeria. Having lived in Abuja for 18 years, Ayisha chose to walk the talk by running for office herself. A rookie politician armed with lofty ideas and dreams, she chose the then ruling party’s platform to run. Ayisha was also a critic of the government, so you can imagine her dilemma. Several things are against her from the get go; she is a non-indigene of Abuja where she resides and wants to represent, a female aspirant in a country with few women in elective office and she is not the typical politician.
This book is divided into thirteen easily digestible chapters and an epilogue, with titles to each chapter acting as a road-map to what the chapter contains. It is written in simple and clear English which makes it easy to follow the narration. Ayisha uses metaphors to bring humour to the narrative, clearly documenting her experiences in each chapter. Ayisha does not waste time in unnecessary descriptions, the narration is concise and goes straight to the point. This makes it possible for her to communicate not only what is happening on her journey but also, her thoughts about it and analyses on socio-economic and socio-political issues in Nigeria.
For those interested in venturing into partisan politics in Nigeria, certain hurdles highlighted in this book will be helpful; indicating interest and registering with a political party, getting to know the power brokers and courting delegates. It also talks about the problems women face in politics; from seeking spousal support to being dismissed by men in the political space. One major thing which this book highlights is the patronage system which holds everything together in Nigerian politics and the damage this causes to the practice of democracy in Nigeria.
Lady B What I appreciated about this book was Ayisha’s honesty in her narration. She states what happens even when it casts her in a bad light, for instance, when she writes about getting round the requirement of being a member of PDP for at least two years before contesting for an elective position. Sometimes though, I cringed when she was brutally honest about others, I wondered how many doors she would have shut by revealing her experience in a book.
Mo This is an insightful and enlightening book. It is an entertaining quick read. It is intriguing and engaging. Lessons were learnt. I will recommend this book to any woman vying for a position, not because it has any quick fixes but because one can pick up on all the subtle and obvious lessons. I love Ayisha’s tenacity and determination and I hope she doesn’t stop. I think she should grow her base and run again and I wish her luck.
What didn’t work?
Lady B “You did not start early enough…” – Onyeka Onwenu. This quote kind of summed up my thoughts as I read Ayisha’s account. I don’t know that the outcome would have been different if she had started early (and how early is early?) as there are many reasons why people do not succeed in elections in Nigeria whether primary elections or general elections. The requirement that you should be a party member for two years before being eligible to contest is a pointer to how much time at the minimum one needs, I think. Ayisha, by her own admission, had to get round this requirement via the back door. I enjoyed reading in detail about her experience but even with her noble intentions, it felt like it wasn’t a well thought through plan based on the time factor.
Mo Ayisha wanted to run for election but doesn’t know her constituents. I think for such a position, preparation should be done at least a year before the primaries.
Page numbers 290.
Publisher Narrative Landscape.
Damage N1,500 on Okadabooks.
Have you read Love Does Not Win Elections? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
If you are interested in Nigerian politics, watch this documentary by Kate Henshaw, another female aspirant. It details her journey to contest to be a House of Representatives member for Calabar South/Akpabio and Bakassi federal constituency in Cross River State.