Two Nigerian-Americans, Esther Agbaje, and Oye Owolewa, emerged victorious in the 2020 US election, breaking two records.
While Agbaje won a legislative seat in Minnesota House of Representatives, Owolewa was elected into the US House of Representatives.
Agbaje set the record for being the first Nigerian-American in the Minnesota legislature.
On his part, Owolewa broke the record of not having a Nigerian-American in the US congress. His emergence on Tuesday made him the first Nigerian-American elected into the US congress.
Agbaje defeated her closest rival, Alan Shilepsky, by a landslide.
She scored a total of 17,396 votes, which represents 74.6 per cent of the total votes cast.
Shilepsky, a nominee for the Republican Party, scored 4,128 votes, representing 17.7 per cent of the total votes cast.
The 35-year-old daughter of an Episcopal priest and a librarian, both Nigerian immigrants, defeated longtime state Representative Raymond Dehn in the party’s primary in August.
She is one of four progressive greenhorns who defeated established Democratic legislators in the primary.
Agbaje has a law degree from Harvard University, a Master’s from the University of Pennsylvania, and has served in the U.S. Department of State, among others.
Thirty-five-year-old Agbaje confirmed that she would be representing District 59B in the Minnesota House of Representatives on the platform of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFLP), an affiliate of the U.S. Democratic Party, on her website.
Owolewa was elected as a shadow member of the United States House of Representatives from the District of Columbia.
According to election results on the website of the District of Columbia Board of Elections on Wednesday morning, Owolewa polled 81.59 per cent of the votes, which represents 164,026 votes against Joyce Robinson-Paul, who scored 18,600 votes, and Sohaer Syed with 15,372 votes.
Owolewa’s father is from Kwara State and mother from Oyo State. He is a Ph.D holder in Pharmacy from Northeastern University, Boston.
“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,” he said after his winning the election.
Meanwhile, the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission have congratulated the Nigerian-Americans who emerged victorious in the election.
In a statement, the Chairman of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, “rejoiced with Agbaje for being the first Nigerian-American in the Minnesota legislature”.
The statement titled ‘US polls: Dabiri-Erewa hails the victory of another Nigerian-American, Esther Agbaje for winning Minnesota Reps ticket’, was signed by Head, Media, Public Relations and Protocols Unit (NIDCOM), Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
It read, “The election of Ms Esther Agbaje in the Minnesota House of Representatives is a testimony that Nigerians are capable of being trusted with the position of authority.
“Agbaje’s victory makes her the first Nigerian-American in the Minnesota legislature.
“It is expected that more Nigerians will win their polls in the ongoing national elections in US.”
Earlier, Dabiri congratulated Owolewa, the first Nigerian to be elected into the US House of Representatives.
In the letter of congratulations, Dabiri-Erewa was pleased with “the wonderful feat of Owolewa”, describing it as “well deserved”.
“This goes to show that with dedication, hard work, resilience and prayer one can achieve just about anything,” Dabiri-Erewa added.