8 Nov 2016

Ejike, Rasheed, Chidi & More: Meet Nigerian Candidates in Today's U.S. General Elections (Photos)

Americans in Franklin, New Jersey, will vote for Charles Ejike Onyejiaka, a fellow citizen and a transplant from Imo State, Nigeria, as the U.S. general election unfolds today.
The Nigerian from the eastern part of the country who is a democrat, is the incumbent in a two-way race for Ward 3 Councilman seat in Franklin. He was one of three men presented to Franklin Town Council as fill-in candidates for the unexpired term of Phil Kramer, former Ward 3 Councilman, who became Mayor of Franklin last January.

Onyejiaka beat Alex Kharazi and Azim Uddin, also democrats and immigrants, to succeed Kramer. Today, he is contesting against Beverly Briggs-Lawson, a Republican, in the general election.

He is one of four Americans of Nigerian descent whose names are on ballots in grassroots elections at township and county levels this year. The others are George Chidi, Rasheed ‘BJ’ Dawodu and April Ademiluyi. All four are product of currents of civic engagement by hundreds of immigrants and first generation Americans who maintain their ties to Nigeria even as they live relatively comfortable lives in the United States.
George Chidi

George Chidi is also a veteran and, the son of George Njoku Chidi, a native of Umuoye in Imo State. The younger George is running for a seat on the Board of Commissioners in DeKalb County, Georgia. His story reads almost like that of Barack Obama. His dad arrived Massachusetts in 1970 on a student visa, met his mum who is a Caucasian of Polish descent.

They got married and, unlike Obama’s dad, the older George stayed in the United States. George junior was an active duty soldier in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army for five years and, he has been a journalist and civic leader for twenty years.

Of the four Nigerian-Americans running for office, he seems to have the deepest connection to his constituents and the widest name recognition among Americans and Nigerian-Americans alike. He defeated eight other aspirants to become the Democratic nominee for this general election which he is strongly favored to win. He is very supportive of the Nigerian immigrant community, he is a known face at their social events and an active promoter of worthy causes, including the candidacy of Rasheed Bolaji (or ‘BJ’) Dawodu.
Rasheed ‘BJ’ Dawodu

Mr. Dawodu, a Democrat, is running against Republican Kristie King for the position of Tax Commissioner in Fayette County, Georgia. A small business owner and seasoned financial management professional, Dawodu relocated to the United States from his native Lagos (Isale Eko) more than 20 years ago. He worked extensively in the public sector before going into private practice, his bid for office of the Tax Commissioner is actively supported by Fayette Chamber of Commerce and his immigrant constituency.

April Ademiluyi is the only female American of Nigerian descent contesting in the general election and she is contesting for a judicial not administrative position. She is a candidate for the Seventh Circuit Court in Prince George’s County, Maryland. April is a first generation American with roots in the Ademiluyi royal family in Ife.

Election into Circuit Courts is non-partisan, candidates participate in as many party primaries as they choose but they have to win at least one primary to get on the ballot. Ms. Ademiluyi won the Libertarian Party primary.

Prince George’s county is reputed to be home to some of the richest Nigerians in the United States, there have been some local fund raising gatherings to support April’s candidacy. She also got a boost from NAPAC president, Mr. Segun Adeyina who came from Georgia to campaign for her.
April Ademiluyi

Township and county level elections usually do not attract polling agencies so it is not easy to track the progress of these candidates. One thing that can be said for all of them is, if elected, their constituencies will get top-tier professionals and more in each of them.

Charles Onyejiaka has a degree in Electronics Engineering from Thomas Edison State University, he is also something of a veteran public servant with experience dating back to Nigeria’s Second Republic.

George Chidi has a bachelor degree in Journalism, MBA from Georgia Tech and was chief executive officer of a firm that markets competitive intelligence for corporate clients.

Rasheed Dawodu has degrees in accounting, law, public finance and is a certified fraud examiner. He has worked for Fortune 500 firms including General Electric and Georgia Pacific.

April Ademiluyi has a first degree was in Chemical Engineering, law degree from an Ivy League university and has been recognized by Congressional leaders for working with families facing foreclosure.

Credits: Premium Times



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