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A Political Path: Alero Ayida-Otobo

We interview a politician or someone working to help values-based politicians do their job for each edition of our weekly briefing. Alero is CEO of the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG), which is working to develop a new generation of disruptive value-based leaders for the continent of Africa. She is also an author, transformation strategist and Founder of Incubator Africa.

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How would you describe your political path?

My political path is fairly unconventional. I am what you could call an accidental public servant. I started my work life in the Nigerian Civil Service, wanting to follow in my father's footsteps. Then I spent close to two decades in the financial services industry before I returned as a "reform entrepreneur" working to raise social and political reformers. I would therefore describe my political path as that of an “equipper”.

I have never really had plans to take center stage politically, i.e., run for office. But what I do is critical. I love what I do. I love being a political capacity builder.

What are the most useful lessons you've learned on the way?

  1. The importance of taking responsibility. As an educated and enlightened citizen, you cannot sit on the sidelines and hope others will do the hard work of nation building. Rolling up your sleeves and playing your own part leads to change at the community and national levels.

  2. The key role consistency plays in charting new paths and establishing new initiatives. Oscar winner Denzel Washington captured it beautifully when he said: "Without commitment you will never start. But more importantly, without consistency you'll never finish". If African politicians prioritized consistency, Africa would be a better continent.

  3. Building collaboratively through partnership. I am a huge believer in working with strong teams. The SPPG would not have recorded the strong impact it has without being part of the FixPolitics Community.

“As an educated and enlightened citizen, you cannot sit on the sidelines and hope others will do the hard work of nation building.”

What are the top three things that could be done to get courageous, ethical, and trusted politicians in your area?

  1. Raising values-based leaders through programs like ours at the SPPG. Our Certificate of Public Leadership and Policy (CPLP) becomes a marker that symbolizes the three important characteristics that ethical and trusted politicians should exhibit, the 3Cs: character, competence and capacity.

  2. Building an ecosystem that gives three levels of support: access to a strong volunteer network, access to a funding platform and access to a committed change community.

  3. Educating citizens about their rights and the electioneering process. That way they will be better informed to vote for ethical and trustworthy candidates who have a track record of getting things done.

What ideas and/or people are currently inspiring you?

The success of our students and the team at the SPPG inspires me to do more. I watch, in amazement, the transformative journey of our students. From two classes — the Pioneer Class and the Class of 2022 — we had 55 students running for office. This filled me with hope and an assurance that we are doing significant work.

What story do you want communities to tell about politicians?

That the setting up of the SPPG has led to a new type of politician emerging: politicians who are determined to improve the current political culture that subverts and subordinates the common good of our countries in Africa to private and narrow interests. We want people to say "my community has changed because I voted for a candidate that went to the School of Politics Policy and Governance".


Do you know of an inspiring person we should interview in the future? Send us your suggestions via email or on by following us on social media.

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