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Meet Nigerians Contesting for UK Parliamentary Seats


Meet Nigerians Contesting for UK Parliamentary Seats

The Nation Newspaper

The die is cast in the United Kingdom. Ninety eight political parties and their candidates are ready to test their popularity after five weeks of actual campaigns. Will this be the end of the Conservative Party’s 14-year rule? Or will the Labour Party be disappointed in the various pollsters and analysts who have consistently predicted a landslide majority for them? By 7 am on Friday, we should have answers to these questions.

Considered the first election with the most candidates ever with 4,379 candidates on the ballot, the 98 political parties have 650 constituencies to battle from. All seats have at least five candidates and nearly half have eight or more.

From the long list of candidates, 30 British Nigerians are in the race and will be seeking their constituencies’ votes to represent them at the next parliament. They are flagbearers of the mainstream parties, including the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Reform UK, while the rest are from smaller parties or contesting as independents.

Some of the candidates are seeking reelection to the parliament; others are appearing on the ballot paper for the first time, hoping to get the votes of their constituencies. The UK Labour Party has the highest number of Nigerians with the party’s parliamentary election tickets. Eight British Nigerians are representing the party at the election.

Closely following with most tickets to Nigerians ahead of the poll is the Liberal Democrats which has six Members of Parliament as candidates flying its mandate.

However, the Conservatives Party has four candidates of Nigerian origin, out of which three are seeking re-election.

The Christian Alliance Party has four Nigerians while Nigel Farage’s-led Reform UK has one with its logo.

Four Nigerians will be running as Independent candidates, two will also be flying the Workers Party flag, one for the Social Democratic Party and one, Olusola Oni, will be standing as the candidate of the Yoruba Party of the UK in Peckham.

Kemi Badenoch (Conservative):
Kemi Badenoch (North West Essex) was born in Wimbledon but lived in the US and Nigeria as a child before returning to the UK at 16.

After graduating from the University of Sussex with a master’s degree in computer systems engineering, she worked for companies including the Royal Bank of Scotland, private bank Coutts, and the Spectator magazine.

She joined the Tories in 2005, aged 25. She stood for election five years later but came third. In 2017, she was elected to Parliament and has had a rising profile within the Conservative Party.

In 2022, she put herself forward to replace former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and many of her colleagues backed her bid. However, she ultimately lost to Liz Truss in the leadership campaign.

The 44-year-old full name is Olukemi Olufunto. Her father, Femi Adegoke, was a GP and her mother, Feyi Adegoke, was a professor of physiology.

Kemi served as Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities. She is a former Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party.

Badenoch has been tipped consistently for big things, including the prime minister seat. But firstly, she needs to swim the tide to get votes that will return her to the parliament. 

Helen Grant (Conservative):
The Maidstone constituency politician has been a member of the parliament since 2010. She was the first black woman of mixed heritage to be elected as a Conservative MP.

Born in north London in 1961 to an English mother (Dr Gladys Spedding) and an orthopaedic surgeon Nigerian father (Dr Julius Okuboye), she had her LLB at the University of Hull and her solicitor qualification at the College of Law in Guildford.

As someone proud of her African heritage, she led the delegation of His Majesty, King Charles III, to the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu as the President of Nigeria.  She was also the UK Trade Envoy to Nigeria.

Although Labour and the Liberal Democrats retain a base of support in her constituency, the split in the opposition has given a near guarantee that Maidstone remains a safe Conservative territory. She was awarded an OBE in the 2023 New Year Honours List. She is married with two sons.  She employs her husband, Simon Grant, as a Senior Parliamentary Assistant.

Bim Afolabi (Conservative):
Thirty-eight-year-old Abimbola Afolabi, popularly known as Bim Afolabi, was the youngest person ever appointed as Economic Secretary to the Treasury in 2023. He was the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, having first been elected to Parliament in 2017. He is seeking to be reelected in the same constituency on July 4.

Born in 1986, Afolabi was educated at Eton and Oxford University. He worked as a corporate lawyer at Freshfields, and then as an executive at HSBC, before being elected to the Parliament. His father was a doctor who came to the UK from Nigeria, his mother was a pharmacist.

Oyebola Ajala (Conservative):
She is standing as the Conservative candidate in the new Motherwell, Wishaw and Carluke constituency and she is up against seven other candidates.

The University of Westminster graduate is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and has been a community mobiliser in her constituency.

Florence Dauta Eshalomi (Labour):
Born in 1980, Florence Eshalomi was educated at the Middlesex University.  She worked as a public affairs account manager for the race equality pressure group, the Runnymede Trust, before being elected to Parliament.

Having served as a local Councillor on Lambeth borough council, Eshalomi was elected to the London Assembly in 2016.

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Regarded as being on the left of the Labour Party, and a member of the grassroots organisation, Momentum, she nominated Keir Starmer for the Labour leadership in 2020.

Born Florence Nosegbe to Anthony Nosegbe, the Nigerian descent is the first member of her family to go to university, graduating with a BA Hons in Political & International Studies with Law from Middlesex University.

 Kate Osamor (Labour):
Her constituency of Edmonton and Winchmore Hill is an ethnically diverse seat in which black and mixed-race voters are said to account for over a third of the electorate. It is considered a very safe seat for the Labour Party.

Born in London in 1968, Kate Osamor studied Third World Studies at the University of East London. She was one of four children; her father died when she was a child and her mother, Martha Osamor (née Oburotha), had to work “three, sometimes four jobs”

It is believed that her return to the Commons will ensure the survival of a significant voice of the London Left in what is expected to be a largely centrist Labour government under Sir Keir Starmer.

Chi Onwurah (Labour):
Chi Onwurah has been the MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central since 2010. She served as the shadow minister for science, research and innovation.

Her constituency, Newcastle Central, is the most ethnically diverse of the Newcastle seats and also contains a large student population. It has long been a safe territory for the Labour Party.

Born to Nigerian parents in Wallsend Newcastle in 1965, she studied Electrical Engineering at Imperial, College London and also holds an MBA from Manchester Business School.

Her family relocated to Awka, the capital of Anambra State when she was a baby. But, following the breakout of the Biafran civil war, her mother returned Chi to Newcastle, while her father enlisted in the Biafran army.

Taiwo Owatemi (Labour):
Born in 1992, Taiwo Owatemi will be defending her seat in the election. She will be challenged by Tom Mercer of the Conservatives, Green candidate Esther Reeves, Tom Holder of the Liberal Democrats, Holly-Mae Nelson from Reform UK and independent candidate Elizabeth Mary Richards.

Coventry North West is an ethnically diverse seat which contains notable Muslim and Sikh communities. She grew up in Plumstead, with close links to an extended family via her aunt and cousins in Coventry. Her father died when she was six. She was brought up with her twin and her elder brother by her mother, a nurse.

Owatemi has a master’s degree from the University of Kent and is qualified as a pharmacist. She served as Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities between September 2021 and September 2022.

Seyi Agboola (Labour):

He is the face of the Labour Party in Stratford-on-Avon.  He is currently a local councillor in Coventry and the deputy cabinet member for Housing and Communities.

He is a community leader who brings first-hand experience of the challenges faced by struggling families in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

Dedicated to public service throughout his career, Seyi believes that Stratford deserves a committed full-time MP who can bring improvement. He has over a decade of experience as a Financial Crime Analyst in the financial services industry. He has also completed an MBA from Coventry University.

Jennifer Ariowa Obaseki (Workers’ Party):
Born in London, United Kingdom to Nigerian parents from Edo State, Jennifer is the candidate of the Workers’ Party of Britain for Tottenham constituency.

She studied Law and Economics at Middlesex University and attended the University of Law in 1998 to study Legal Practice Course.

 Kayode Shedowo (Christian People’s Alliance):
Shedowo is the Christian People’s Alliance candidate for West Ham and Beckton. He and his family promised to tackle the root causes of poverty and address the structural problems in the society. Kayode Shedowo is married with children.

Damola Animashaun (Labour Party):
Animashaun is standing as the Labour candidate in the new Tewkesbury constituency. She may be young but has vast experience and network as a community leader.

She received her first degree at the University of Liverpool in Economics and a Master in Oil and Gas Management at the University of Aberdeen.

Ade Adeyemo (Liberal Democrats):
Ade Adeyemo is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Solihull West and Shirley. He has earned a reputation across the constituency as a local activist who stands up for their interest.

With 27 years of living and working in the community, he understands their local priorities. He is rooted in the community as a councillor and will be a true voice for the Westminster areas.

Some other Nigerians in the race on Thursday include Olusola Oni, who will be standing as the candidate of the Yoruba Party of the UK in Peckham; Manny Lawal for Poplar and Limehouse constituency (Social Democratic Party);  Michael Bukola, Thurrock (Liberal Democrats) and Augustine Obodo, Bicester and Woodstock (Reform UK).


Other British-Nigerian descents on the ballot are Ese Erheriene (Labour Party); Gloria Adebo, Rutherglen (Liberal Democrats); Adedotun Adesola Ogundemuren, Chatham and Aylesford; Chika Akinwale, Norwich North (Liberal Democrats), among others.

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