Why I want to be Spainâ€™s president â€“ Umukoro
Nigerian-born Helen Mukoro is a presidential aspirant in the forthcoming elections in Spain. She speaks about her ambition
Why do you want to be president of Spain?
There are so very many reasons for my presidential ambition. I intend to lead the Spanish economy to the right direction, reset its priorities and create a sensible framework, which will guarantee stability and economic growth. In order to achieve this, I will lead Spain to begin to think ahead about economic and financial issues. We will work in specialised teams to solve specific problems and change paradigms.
Do you think you have the ability to win?
I am optimistic. For months, I have been meeting with social movements and we have all agreed on the need to address unemployment, poverty and neo-liberal policies in Spain. My political ideology is to address inequality. One of our basic objectives is to promote social and economic policies that will eradicate poverty in all its facets.
But you contested for the position of the Mayor of Denia in Spain and lostâ€¦
Yes, I contested for the Mayor of Denia on May 24. The party I belong to was less than three months old when I contested. Whenever you fall, do your best to stand on your feet again, especially if the need to be on your feet again is to advance inequality. I have a responsibility to those who voted for me because there is nothing as rewarding as playing a role which brings positive changes to mankind. President Muhammadu Buhari adopted the saying, â€˜If you try the first time and you do not succeed, try, try and try again.â€
Tell us more about the party you founded and its ideology?
We are a national political party founded on respect for human dignity, work, solidarity and where public interest prevails. When I become president, I will drive economic growth. My party and I are here to give a definite and a distinctive meaning to growth as a policy objective in Spain.
Why havenâ€™t you contested for any public office in Nigeria?
I am not involved in the political scene in Nigeria because I have been away for over two decades. President Buhari is a very good leader and his true leadership qualities are motivated by the love and interest he has shown to Nigerians rather than a desire for personal glory. He is also willing to render selfless service.
Why did you migrate to Spain in 1992 when you were 23.
I am here today because of the freedom, good system of democracy, the due process and the rule of law I enjoy.
What are your thoughts on the participation of Nigerian women in politics?
The level of political participation of women in Nigeria is very low. Women are under-represented not only as voters but also in managerial positions. Structural barriers created by discriminatory laws and institutions continue to limit the options for women to contest for election. The gaps in these capabilities mean that women are less likely than men to have access to education, contacts and resources necessary to become effective leaders. Some women in Nigeria have overcome these obstacles and have a positive influence on the society. However, in general terms, we must continue to work to achieve equal opportunities for everyone.
How supportive are Spaniards of your political ambition?
Spainâ€™s constitution states that foreigners enjoy freedom and rights guaranteed by it in the terms established by the treaties and the law. Spain supports the efforts of all nationalities to self-organisation in all areas â€” political organisations, unions, womenâ€™s movement, community and the society in general. She also supports the struggle for affirmative action within integrated institutions, and the struggle for economic and political freedom, including the right of self-determination.
You are currently been hailed as the first African to contest for the exalted seat of the president of Spain. How does this make you feel?
It feels so good to be a trailblazer in this regard. I have a sincere political ambition. The key relationship that my presidential candidacy will have is with the immigrants in Spain and Europe and it will help advance social inequality.
Can you talk about your strides as a writer, legal consultant and forensic expert?
I really enjoy my job as a writer because it affords me the opportunity to express myself. My job as a consultant and forensic expert is also very dynamic and somewhat monotonous. I have always been fortunate to do what I like and I hope it remains that way.
Do you have the support of Nigerians living in Spain, especially the Igbo?
I have the support of Nigerians living in Spain. Sadly, 99.5 per cent of them are not Spanish nationals and as a result, they cannot vote. I have nothing against the Igbo. I wrote and published a book on the corruption that takes place at the Nigerian embassy in Madrid. Because the Head of Mission and the Consul were Igbos, they hit back at me by pitching the Igbo in Spain and in the Diaspora against me. They took to the Internet to write damaging articles about me. The embassy has also ordered all Igbos and Nigerian associations in Spain to boycott my presidential campaign.
Have the allegations and scandals affected your political ambition?
The embassy wrote to Deniaâ€™s electoral court, asking them to drop my candidacy for writing about their activities on my Facebook page. They also claimed that I am still a Nigerian, irrespective of the fact I am also a Spanish citizen. They were aware that I officially surrendered my Nigerian passport and announced my renunciation of citizenship. So, while other political parties were campaigning, I was busy defending myself at the court. Thankfully, the judge ruled that I continue with my candidacy as mayor a day to the polls. I now understand why I lost the local elections that I worked so hard for and which I solely financed.
You are a writer, legal consultant and forensic expert. Which of these roles are you most passionate about?
Iâ€™m most passionate about writing and I have authored over 21 books.
How supportive is your husband of your political ambition?
My husband is Spanish and we have been married for 17 years. He understands my passion for politics and is in full support. If a husband has too many reservations about his wifeâ€™s political ambition and does support her, she will be less motivated.
How easy has it been balancing the home, marriage and career over the years?
It is not easy to strike a healthy work-life balance. That is one of the reasons why I strive to spend quality time with my family. My family and I play, talk, sing and prepare dinner together, amongst many other things.
How do you unwind?
I unwind by visiting the museums, parks, theatres or beaches with my family and friends.
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