By Ismail Auwal
Three Nigerian-Americans, Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Esther Agbaje, and Oye Owolewa have won seats in the recently concluded United States (US) election held on Tuesday. These are their profiles:
1. Nnamdi Chukwuocha
Nnamdi Chukwuocha received a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in social work from Delaware State University.
Chukwuocha is a US Army veteran, and has over 30 years of experience as a social worker. He is part of the spoken word duo “Twin Poets” which was appointed as the State of Delaware 17th Poets Laureate. He previously served on the Wilmington City Council as President Pro Tempore and Chair of the Education, Youth and Families Committee.
Chukwuocha was elected to represent District 1 in the Delaware House of Representatives in 2018. In the 2019 session he was a member of the Corrections Committee, the Education Committee, the Health & Human Development Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Transportation/Land Use and Infrastructure Committee.
2. Esther Agbaje
Ms Agbaje, who contested to represent District 59B in the Minnesota House of Representatives on the platform of the Democratic Party, won with 17,396 votes.
Agbaje was born in St. Paul, lived in Brainerd, and went to high school in Faribault. After law school, she moved to downtown Minneapolis in 2017. Her parents went to Minnesota from Nigeria to further their education.
The 35-year-old Harvard law graduate is interested in prison reform, fighting racial discrepancies, and housing among others.
Born to Nigerian parents – an Episcopal priest and a librarian – Ms Agbaje became the first Nigerian-American to be elected to the Minnesota legislature.
With a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, she had a stint in the U.S. State Department, experience working with city government, and accolades at a prestigious law firm, her profile reads.
3. Oye Owolewa
Oye Owolewa is a graduate of pharmacy, who moved to DC to practice pharmacy.
Oye has been a member of RESET a coalition of STEM professionals who volunteer in public schools, engaging students through hands-on science experiments since 2014. His goal is to inspire young people to pursue STEM careers and become tomorrow’s scientists.
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.
He worked to bring resources to the underserved by advising DC lawmakers based on continued community feedback.
Some of Oye’s most notable achievements were increasing science enrichment programs in Southeast elementary schools, adding traffic safety measures, and helping bring a Senior Day Center to the neighborhood.