Adeoye Omolewa has been elected into the US House of Representative. The Democratic candidate defeated its Republican rival on Tuesday to gain a ‘shadow’ (non-voting) seat in the House to represent the District of Columbia (also known as DC or Washington) which is the capital city of the United States of America.
Owolewa garnered a whopping 164,026 votes, representing 82.84 percent of the total votes cast.
With his election, the 31-year-old Omolewa, who holds a PhD in Pharmacy, becomes the first Nigerian-born member of the US Congress.
Sharing the news on his Facebook page on Wednesday, he wrote, “Good morning. Looks like we did it! I want to thank everyone, from family and close friends to DC residents. Because of your contributions and sacrifices, I stand before you as America’s first Nigerian-American congressman.
“In this role, I’m going to fight for DC statehood and bring our values to the lawmaking process. While today is a day for some celebration, the hard work also follows. Again, thanks so much for everything. I wouldn’t be here without you all.”
During the campaign, Omolewa vowed to continue to push for statehood for DC, that is for it to be admitted as the 51st state in the union. The District is not a part of any US state. Its status is similar to that of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.
Like other US territories, such as Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands,Washington DC is represented in the Senate and House of Representatives by two shadow senators and a shadow congressperson. These non-voting delegates can vote in committees, speak on the floor of the chamber and sponsor legislation, but cannot vote at plenary. Their principal role is to seek for their subnational polity to gain voting rights in Congress.
“If you look at the mandate that created our office, we’re supposed to lobby Congress and keep them informed that we’re ready for statehood,” Michael Brown, one of DC’s current shadow senators, once said.
Another Nigerian-born candidate, Esther Agbaje, also won her election on Tuesday to represent District 59B in the Minnesota House of Representatives on the platform of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labour Party, an affiliate of the Democratic Party.
Still another Nigerian-American Nnamdi Chukwuocha won re-election to the Delaware House of Representatives to represent District 1. The politician is a US Army veteran and has over 30 years of experience as a social worker.
The 35-year-old daughter of an Episcopal priest and a librarian, both Nigerian immigrants, has a law degree from Harvard University, a Master’s from the University of Pennsylvania, and has served in the US Department of State, among others.
Meanwhile, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) has congratulated the victorious Nigerian-Americans.
“It is expected that more Nigerians will win their polls in the ongoing national elections in US,” the Chairman/CEO of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in a press statement. “This goes to show that with dedication, hard work, resilience and prayer one can achieve just about anything.” she added.
No fewer than nine Nigerian Americans were on the ballot in Tuesday’s general elections in the United States, according to the News Agency of Nigeria. Most of them ran on the platform of the Democratic Party for different offices at the federal, state and local levels.