My only involvement in politics before being elected Glasgow’s first black councillor was representing the student voice as a Research Student Leader in the School of Health and Life Sciences!
I joined the Conservative Party after the general election in 2015, but only became active in the past year. I campaigned for the Victoria Park ward in the council elections, held in May, but, to be honest, I don’t think the party expected me to win as Labour had held the seat for four decades. It was just taking a chance.
So much is going on politically in Scotland that I believe a range of circumstances led to my winning. My background helped, I think, as I’m not perhaps the stereotypical Conservative candidate and was able to connect and communicate with a broad range of people. My studies at GCU have been a big part of that as I have met people from such a variety of backgrounds here.
I didn’t set out to become Glasgow’s first black councillor and I actually have mixed feelings about it as I was surprised that people hadn’t got more involved locally before. Now, with Graham Campbell, the SNP councillor for Springburn, we hope more people will join us.
I’m from a scientific background, I’m studying a PhD in Molecular Pharmacology, so I’m used to examining the evidence, but becoming a councillor has taught me that sometimes, regardless of the evidence, life is about how people feel.
I love Glasgow and I’m passionate about the UK. I’m originally from Nigeria and came to the UK initially to study a foundation programme in Hull. I came to the city in 2008 to study an undergraduate degree, at Glasgow University, before beginning my PhD studies in early 2014 at GCU.
It’s challenging and can be frightening arriving in a new country. I’d heard of Glasgow before coming obviously – football makes sure of that – but I didn’t know anyone who’d been.
Studying in Glasgow is great and I have had excellent support at GCU. I’ve never had a negative experience in Glasgow. It’s friendly and attractive – well, maybe not the weather!