Tari Taylaur is a civil servant and politician who recently contested for the position of councilor representing Eti-Osa 1 LGA in Lagos. Although his bid failed, he remains active in environmental governance and youth empowerment through education and entrepreneurship. Ahead of the 2023 election, he is vying for the Lagos House of Assembly to represent Eti-Osa Ward 1 on the platform of the Youth Party. In this interview with TheCable’s MARYAM ABDULLAHI, she talks about the challenges of being a female politician and the need to involve more women.olitic.
TheCable: Tell us about yourself.
Taylor: I am a Nigerian, a child of God and a civil servant. I am running for the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Eti-Osa 1 under the Youth Party. My success speaks for me. I am very active in the Lekki Estate Residents Association (LERA) and I am the whole body environment secretary. I work a lot with government agencies from the Ministry of Environment, Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to local governments to ensure a clean environment in Lekki. Based on my understanding of all the work we do, the challenges and opportunities we face, I am running because I want to expand the good work. We are creating jobs for the youth, recycling our waste and turning it into a good solution for the community. This is my long-term vision for Eti-Osa 1 and by the grace of God, in March 2023, we will get the vote that will put us in the Lagos House of Assembly.
TheCable: Can you shed more light on your political career?
Taylor: It has been a journey of learning, discovery and a lot of patience. It has been a journey of resilience and determination. I have spent some time in the civil service, always volunteering for projects and working in the community, but I entered politics in 2021 when I contested for councilorship in my Lekki constituency in the local government elections.
This was an interesting part for me, we didn’t win the election, but then we went to court because there were so many violations and we wanted to show the public that we can’t have this impunity and fraud anymore. just all kinds of blatant irregularities in local elections.
If one wants to have a local government that is closest to the people, it must carefully monitor the local elections and involve the citizens. To get the best for our community, we need to involve and engage the community. So that was my start.
TheCable: What was your experience with the process?
Taylor: It was quite a journey for me, as I said, we went to court, and then we appealed, so I was able to see the whole process until the end. I am truly amazed by the incredible support we have received. So, this year again, I am coming out to run for the Lagos State House of Assembly because every challenge and problem that I faced when I ran for the council is still there and nothing has changed in the locality. level.
The people lack sufficient and effective representation to protect their interests and legislate for their welfare. So for me there is still a void and I thought to myself that because of the way our system works where local government is stifled by the state and autonomy and everything, I want to implement it at the local level. Of this – it can also happen at the state level, especially in state assemblies that make laws.
So I thought to myself that I can be part of that assembly and make a big impact by representing the interests of Eti-Osa 1 and legislating at a higher level to make Lagos a mega city for everyone. That was my goal before the election again.
The journey thus far has been an uphill battle, not for the faint of heart and is completely new territory. When you think you’re sitting pretty in politics, anything can happen – a lot of uncertainty, a lot of impunity, a lot of lawlessness, but you just have to stick to who you are and what you believe in and always push that goal forward. For me, I have to constantly remind myself why I’m doing this. what do you want What do you want to achieve? I have to always remind myself of that goal, that higher purpose, and you know that’s what keeps me going. This is my experience in a nutshell.
TheCable: How do you feel about the journey so far?
Taylor: I’m motivated, it’s just God’s grace and so many things that have happened in my journey have strengthened my faith. So you may be faced with a difficult situation or an impossible situation, and out of nowhere, a help will appear, a door will open and give you the confidence that God is with you in this. This is my experience.
So, a lot of times I’m tired and I’m like, oh my god, what have you gotten yourself into? Yes, I feel very frustrated with the system, corruption and impunity. But what do we do? Do we just roll over and die and do nothing?
TheCable: What do you think about the low participation and underrepresentation of women in Nigerian politics?
Taylor: I think the first thing is; Are there enough women participating at the party level? What role do women play? Is it just a female lead, caring, that kind of role? Are women really moving into leadership positions in the party structure? Therefore, if you are not involved and involved at the party level, your chances of entering or even leaving high positions are very limited.
Then the next question would be now; if there are enough women why don’t they come out? There are a number of reasons for this, starting with the many things people hear about myths and politics. I don’t want to involve myself in all these misconceptions and prejudices and all of that… some people are distant because of it or sometimes the barriers are too high for them. The cost of participation, the cost of buying nomination forms, all these are sometimes too high, but this should not be a deterrent, because there is a party that encourages women to participate, and nomination forms, as a woman, you will do that. half price and I know other parties do it – but if half of N100 million is N50 million, how many people can afford it?
Therefore, we must lower the barriers a little so that capable women of real value to society can step forward and put themselves forward for governance.
TheCable: Would you say mAre ore voters illiteracy among women than men in Nigeria?
Taylor: When I was on the campaign trail, when I went out to the public, a lot of women were very specific about what they wanted, and women were very specific about what they were looking for in a candidate.
So, in that sense, I think women are politically committed. They know what they want and when to see it. Now there are people who, due to poverty and other factors, allow themselves to be stimulated in some way. In general, I think women are more confident. They just look at you, they know right away, whether they’re with you or not, you’ll see it right away in their body language.
TheCable: What can be done to improve women’s participation in politics and elections?
Taylor: It’s a journey and we’re not there yet. Where we are now is not where we were 10 years ago or 15 years ago. It’s a progressive journey, with more direction, more women coming out, more women like me who are already on the stage, and more people seeing women like me succeeding, and it’s going to encourage them to come out.
My dream is that by 2027, I see a situation where there will be a lot of women competing for many strategic positions, even at the local level. This 2023 election will go a long way in determining the number of women in 2027. If more women succeed in 2023, it will empower and inspire more people. It’s a progressive thing, it doesn’t happen in one event, one year. This is a long-term goal and vision.
TheCable: Apart from community development and youth empowerment, what else inspired you to become a politician?
Taylor: I believe in the impact I can have in public service. I know what I am doing as a private citizen, so I know what I can do in public service. So I want to be elected, I want to be accountable to my constituents, I want them to vote for me, and I want to be accountable to them, and I want to come out every day and work for them and do my job. , relocating them to better places, quality of life, primary health care, primary education and many things that affect their daily life. So that’s my motivation. That’s what I want to do, and I believe I’m well equipped and motivated to do it.
TheCable: What advice would you give to other female political candidates?
Taylor: Get into the terrain, just do it, don’t overthink it, analyze it, start somewhere, just do it. There is always a way to add value to where you are. Just create a culture that adds value to everything you do. Seek to add value and you will be amazed at the opportunities that will come and the doors that will open, the sky is only the beginning.