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Two Nigerian-Americans clinch legislative seats in US elections

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OYE Owolewa became the first Nigerian elected as a shadow United States Representative out of the District of Columbia, following the announcement of election results on Wednesday.

This was disclosed on the Twitter handle of ABC 7 News, a US-based news agency after counting of votes in the district of Columbia was concluded.

“Democrat Oye Owolewa will be elected as a shadow US Representative out of the District of Columbia,” the tweet read.

Oye polled 82.65 percent of the votes, which accounts for 135,234 votes against Joyce Robinson-Paul, who had 15,541 votes, and Sohaer Syed with 12,846 votes.

The voters of the District of Columbia elect one shadow representative who is recognized as equivalent to US representatives by the District of Columbia, but the US government does not recognise the individual as an actual member of the house of representatives.

A Ph.D. holder from the Northeastern University, Boston, Owolewa is the first Nigerian-American to be elected to the US congress.

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Another Nigerian-American Esther Agbaje won a house of Representatives seat in Minnesota, representing District 59B in the 134 member house on the democratic farmer Labor Party, an affiliate of the Democratic Party.

Esther Agbaje, first Nigerian elected into the Minnesota House of Representatives.                        Credit: estheragbaje.com

She becomes Minnesota’s first Nigerian-American legislator after winning the seat formerly held by long-time state Representative Raymond Dehn.

Agbaje won by a landslide, scoring a total of 17,396 votes, which represents 74.7 percent of the total ballots cast.

Her closest rival, Alan Shilepsky, a nominee for the Republican Party, scored 4,126 votes, which represents 17.7 percent of the total votes cast.

She will represent district 59B in the 134 member house on the platform of the Democratic farmer-labor Party, an affiliate of the Democratic Party.

Agbaje was born in St. Paul, the state capital of Minnesota, to Nigerian immigrant parents and attended George Washington University, DC, with a first degree in political science.

She also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and a law degree from Harvard University.

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Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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