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UK Poll: 30 Nigerians on the ballot in UK poll

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No fewer than 30 men and women of Nigerian origin will be on the ballot in the United Kingdom’s elections scheduled for Thursday, July 4. The outcome of the poll should be known by Friday.

An analysis of the finalised list of candidates by a UK election data supplier, Democracy Club, showed that 20 British-Nigerians will be representing mainstream parties, including the Labour Party, Conservatives Party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Reform UK, while the rest are from smaller parties or contesting as independents.

With days before the make-or-mar election, the new Parliament is expected to be the most diverse in Britain’s history as more ethnic minorities, including Nigerians, in mainstream and fringe parties, are making strong overtures to the electorate with persuasive manifestos.

To stand as a candidate in a UK Parliamentary General Election, a candidate must be at least 18 years old and a citizen of a commonwealth country who does not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or has indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Some of the candidates are seeking re-elections to the parliament, others are appearing on the ballot paper for the first time, hoping to get the votes of their constituencies.

The UK Labour Party has the highest number of Nigerians with the party’s parliamentary election tickets. Eight British Nigerians are representing the party at the election. The current political climate in the country suggests there are high chances for some of the candidates to win in the safe Labour strongholds.

Closely following with most tickets to Nigerians ahead of the poll is the Liberal Democrats which has six member of parliament candidates flying its mandate.

However, the Conservatives Party has four candidates of Nigerian origin, out of which three are seeking re-election.

The Christian Alliance Party has four Nigerians while Nigel Farage’s-led Reform UK has one with its logo.

Four Nigerians will be running as Independent candidates, two will also be flying the Workers Party flag, one for the Social Democratic Party and one, Olusola Oni, will be standing as the candidate of the Yoruba Party of the UK in Peckham.

In the fray for a comeback to the parliament are the Conservative trio of Kemi Badenoch ( North West Essex), Helen Grant (Maidstone) and Abimbola Afolabi ( Hitchin and Harpenden).

Ms Badenoch lived in the US and Nigeria as a child before returning to the UK at 16. She joined the Tories in 2005, aged 25. She stood for election five years later but came third.

In 2017, she was elected to Parliament and has had a rising profile rising within the Conservative Party and has been tipped consistently for big things, including the prime minister seat.

The 44-year-old full name is Olukemi Olufunto. Her father, Femi Adegoke, was a GP and her mother, Feyi Adegoke, was a professor of physiology.

Grant, the Tories parliamentary candidate, led the delegation of His Majesty, King Charles III, to the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu as the President of Nigeria.  She was also the UK Trade Envoy to Nigeria.

Bim Afolabi was Economic Secretary to the Treasury and the 38-year-old is seeking to return to the parliament on the platform Conservative. His father, a consultant doctor in the NHS, moved to the UK from Nigeria in his early twenties.

Also pushing for returns to the parliament on the platform of the Labour Party are the quartet of Florence Dauta Eshalomi (Vauxhall and Camberwell Green ), Kate Osamor (Edmonton and Winchmore Hill), Chi Onwurah ( Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central and West), and 32-year-old Taiwo Owatemi (Coventry North East).

Others in the run for election on Labour Party ticket are: Seyi Agboola (Stratford-on-Avon), former UK Parachute Regiment soldier, Bayo Alaba (Southend East & Rochford); Damola Animashaun (Tewkesbury),  and Councillor Ese Erheriene (Woking).

The Liberal Democratic Party has six British Nigerians on the ballot to represent it at the election. The list includes Ukonu Obasi (Gravesend), a public health lecturer at Arden University, London;  Ms Chika Akinwale (Norwich North), a district councilor in Ely who said improving access to health services was a key issue for her in the constituency, and Joy Temitayo Salaja ( Nuneaton).

Others are experienced and longstanding Liberal Democrat activist, Michael Bukola (Thurrock); Ade Adeyemo (Solihull West and Shirley), a former Leader of the Liberal

Democrat Group on Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, and Gloria Adebo, who works as a data analyst and will run for the party in Rutherglen.

Meanwhile, Augustine Obodo (Bicester and Woodstock constituency), will be flying the Reform UK Party flag at the election.

Overall, 4,379 candidates are standing for the July 4, 2024 General Election. The number is 981 more than in 2019, when 3,398 stood. It’s the most candidates ever, the previous record being 2010 where 4,093 were fielded.

There are 650 constituencies for the election and the increase in candidate numbers is spread across almost all. All seats have at least five candidates, and nearly half have eight or more.

Expectedly, the seats of Rishi Sunak (Conservative) and Keir Starmer (Labour), the two men who may be Prime Minister after the election are those with the most candidates.

Sunak’s re-election push in his Richmond and Northallerton constituency sees him face 12 other challengers, including a British Nigerian, Niko Omilana, who was also listed as an Independent candidate for the constituency.

The UK Boundary Commission did boundaries review to reflect population changes and the 2024 election will be fought for the first time on new constituency boundaries with new names.

Credit: thenationonlineng.net

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