During the just concluded November 2020 United States general elections, about 10 Nigerian-Americans contested for various governmental seats. Three out of the lot – Esther Agbaje, Oye Owolewa and Nnamdi Chukwuocha – won their electoral bids on the Democratic Party platform.
Esther Agbaje, a 35-year-old Harvard law graduate, recently contested at the state legislative level against Republican, Alan Shilepsky and Green Party’s candidate, Lisa Neal-Delgado. She will be representing District 59B in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
She contested via the platform of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFLP), an affiliate of the Democratic Party and won with 17,396 votes. As she looks forward to her tenure in the state House, she becomes the first Nigerian-American to be elected to the Minnesota legislature. She is interested in prison reforms, fighting racial discrepancies, housing and others.
Also winning a seat in one of the state houses of representatives is 30-year-old Oye Owolewa. Owolewa has been elected as a shadow member of the House of Representatives from the District of Columbia. He registered164,026 votes to defeat incumbent Joyce Robinson-Paul, who scored 18,600 votes and Sohaer Syed. With this latest win, he becomes the first Nigerian-American to occupy that seat.
In 2018, he was elected commissioner of his neighbourhood in South-East DC, during which he advocated for the District’s statehood with the launch of TaxFreeDC- a movement that aims to combat DC’s taxation without representation.
According to his website, TaxFreeDC declares that until DC statehood is achieved, DC’s tax revenue shall no longer go to the federal government. Owolewa holds a PhD in Pharmacy from the Northeastern University, Boston.
Nnamdi Chukwuocha is the third Nigerian to win his electoral bid at the last elections. Chuckwuocha won his re-election as a member of Delaware House of Representatives from District 1. He contested unopposed and won 100 percent with 7,640 votes. The statesman was earlier elected to represent District 1 in the Delaware House of Representatives in 2018. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in social work from Delaware State University, he has several years of experience in local politics in the state.
Other Nigerians who contested but didn’t pull through include Adewunmi Kuforiji, Yomi Faparusi, Yinka Faleti, Paul Akinjo, April Ademiluyi, Ngozi Akubuike and Benjamin Osemenam.