Mercy Banku Abang is a Freelance Journalist, an Election Observer, and a Mum. Throwing more light on what she does, she explains, “I have found a way to turn myself into a magazine and a master of all within the 3 main sectors where I operate. My primary career is Journalism. I started off as a television news reporter in Abuja, worked for three years reporting politics, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the various political parties and sometimes the National Assembly. Everything that had to do with Politics was my beats.” She also had the opportunity of being redeployed to work at almost all the departments in the TV station away from the newsroom.
She further expatiates: “I am a journalist. But as you know journalists are broke people in Nigeria so I had to find a balance. Right now I am a freelance journalist and an International/Local Media Fixer depending on where you want me to get things fixed, but importantly, I take pride in reporting communities and villages as well as people that never get to make it to our everyday front pages. I enjoy reporting under-reported/never reported communities in Nigeria and syndicate across board for free – also have in mind that I fund these stories myself but I have had opportunities to consult with International Civil Groups so that’s where the pay comes from, which I then use to fund the kinds of stories that I tell. Some fellowships here and there have also been helpful to fund some of the stories too.”
The second part of what she does is working as an Election Observer. “Now this is another area where I find fulfilment because I believe in democracy, its shortcomings and it successes. Being able to work with sub-regional and international groups to understand democracy in such a way that no book can teach me is amazing and fulfilling. Travelling from country to country is an awesome part of this job.”
Finally, Abang Mercy works as a mum, “and this is my major work and the best of them all,” she stated. “I am grooming a WORLD LEADER, and trust me it takes a lot to get that done. I pretty much travel a lot but I do not miss a day without having that mother and child chat with my daughter. She’s my priority and the only reason I work as hard as I do. I see her, she motivates me to want to do more. I want to be her role model,” she reiterated.
Explaining how @abangmercy got started on her career path, she said she had wanted to be a lawyer. Even her dad still thinks she can go back there someday. Then she got admission to study accounting. However, her mum kicked against it. “For some reasons she knew I wanted to just go to school irrespective of what course I was given, but God used her to kick and she resisted, which forced me back to Journalism, a path that has always been my second choice from Law.”
Speaking on the challenges she has faced she while building her career, she wrote, “Hmmm, if I start to talk… I think the most challenging experience I have had to face is dealing with life generally; people telling me I can’t do certain things. I cry and hit my chest, and get those things done. I have turned every PAIN to GAIN. I don’t even know how to break this down but I am the strongest person I know. Life has knocked me on different fronts but still I RISE…”
The freelance journalist is inspired by people, and everything but most importantly, her belief in God and His promises. She expatiates further to say when she runs into obstacles of life, her faith in God’s word keeps her going and she holds onto it strongly. “I have learnt from people I don’t even know, ordinary people who refuse to give up amidst all they’ve been through.” Samira Sanusi is one woman who has changed the reporter’s views about life. Samira is a Ugandan lady who was serially raped on her wedding day. “I can go on and on and on. But life only comes at great people, your ability to stand firm makes you an overcomer.”
The International/Local Media Fixer, while speaking on the project that really sparked her belief in herself, says it’s the development stories she started filling for about a year now. “I didn’t believe I will be able to do it. Now I feel like nothing can stop me because I have seen that life is about your ability to carry on; and your confidence that YOU CAN amidst the challenges that you see. But you first have to believe in YOU because no one will but YOU!!!”
Mercy would like to take advantage of anything that allows her to have an impact at the Global stage. She does not have a picture yet but she would like to be able to be in a place where she can help or contribute to make the world a better place for women and girls in Nigeria, and in Africa as a whole.
“The only way to empower young Nigerians is to get them skilled; and educated, for those who want formal training. A lot of our young people aren’t skilled, they are not employable. That is our first problem as a nation and as a people. Go to the houses of most Abuja politicians, almost all their cooks and aides aren’t Nigerians. We now get plumbers from Benin Republic because our local plumbers are a mess. We need a generation and a youth population that is employable,” Abang Mercy concludes.
The Freelance journalist is just a tweet away – @abangmercy. You can also connect with her via DM.