US election: Nigerian elected member of Congress

Nigerian, Oye Owolewa, has been elected as a member of the US Congress.

He will be representing Washington D.C. in the House of Representatives.

Owolewa a Member of the Democratic Party, hails from Kwara State.

Oye Owolewa, a first-generation Nigerian-American is, as reported by Thisday, the grandson of Chief Mrs. PC Ajayi-Obe, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, recently buried at Omofe Cathedral, Ilesha, Osun State. Oye hasn’t forgotten Nigeria but had reason to visit just once: “I was in Nigeria as recently as 2017. I visited, but never lived for more than a month. I visited my grandmother (recently passed) SAN Phoebe Ajayi-Obe.”

The report has it further: “An accomplished and astute lawyer, Phoebe C. Ajayi-Obe, was the first female SAN from the Old Eastern Nigeria and second female SAN in Nigeria.

Oye obliged further on his family background, giving his status as well. ‘My dad is from Omu-Aran and my mother is from Ibadan. They met in the States and had a family. I’m the 4th of five children. I grew up in Boston and moved to Washington DC after becoming a pharmacist. I’m 30, single and earned my Doctorate of Pharmacy from Northeastern University, Boston.’

His parents, born and raised in Nigeria, raised him with two guiding principles, a value in community service and an early exposure to science. This exposure became a love for science, culminating in him achieving a Doctorate of Pharmacy.

Upon completing his degree in pharmacy, Oye moved to Washington, DC to begin practicing pharmacy and impacting the community. Oye has dedicated his energy to educating and advocating for DC statehood and equality. He participated in the historic March 2019 lobby day, resulting in a majority of the House of Representatives supporting DC’s Statehood for the first time in American history. Soon after, Oye took his efforts to Annapolis where he joined the effort to end big money’s impact on US lawmaking. In 2018, Oye was elected commissioner of his neighborhood in Southeast DC. In this position, he served as the medium between the community and the local government.

Oye worked to bring resources to the underserved by advising DC lawmakers based on continued community feedback. He has served as a commissioner since 2018, his first elected office. As commissioner, Oye learned the value of being an advocate and community resource. Some of Oye’s most notable achievements were increasing science enrichment programmes in Southeast elementary schools, adding traffic safety measures and helping to bring a Senior Day Center to the neighborhood.

According to a US online news outlet, Dr. Adeoye ‘Oye’ Owolewa who represents Advisory Neighborhood Commission single-member district 8E01 wants to take his passion for D.C. statehood to the next level.

Owolewa had said he wants to replace Franklin Garcia as the shadow representative this year to help the statehood movement go forward. ‘believe it is a critical time for the statehood movement,’ Oye said. ‘I think D.C. is very close to being a state.’ District voters elect one shadow representative and two shadow senators to lobby Congress on D.C. becoming the 51st state.

Owolewa says the congressional momentum favours the District becoming a state and a ‘perfect storm’ of a Democratic Senate and White House. The party retaining control of the House in the 2020 elections could make the District a state within a couple of years. He said if the ‘perfect storm’ happens, he would push Democrats to put statehood at the top of their agenda: ‘The Democrats have to be accountable to us” he said. “In 2008, we had a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress but we were not prepared and therefore put on the back burner. We have come a long way since then and we need to seize the opportunity when it presents itself.’”

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.