News December 16, 2019 at 11:00 am

Meet the four Ghanaians and two Nigerians elected to the British Parliament

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

Michael Eli Dokosi December 16, 2019 at 11:00 am

December 16, 2019 at 11:00 am | News

Abena Oppong-Asare and Ribeiro-Addy via Wikimedia Commons

When it concluded, about 32 million votes were cast giving a definite mandate to Premier Boris Johnson to lead the United Kingdom out of the European Union (EU).

The Conservatives won the most seats – 365 – and also the biggest share of votes, 45%, or about 13.9 million with Labour securing 203 seats and a 32.2% share, or about 10.3 million votes.

But while the election took place in the UK on Thursday, December 12, there was also keen interest from the West African states of Ghana and Nigeria because some of their nationals were also running for office.

While Abena Oppong-Asare won the Erith and Thamesmead Constituency with 48 percent of the votes and a majority of 3,758 votes, Bell Ribeiro-Addy secured her seat with 30,976 votes, representing 54.8 percent to represent the Streatham constituency.

The two elected MPs with Ghanaian heritage on the Labour party’s ticket have proven records.

Academically, Oppong-Asare holds a degree from Kent University as well as a Master’s degree in International Law with International Relations from the same university.

Image result for uk abena oppong asare elections"
Abena Oppong-Asare via Twitter

She is a local councilor, who has held Deputy Labour Leader and Shadow Cabinet Spokesperson for Education at Bexley Council. Oppong-Asare is the first black woman to be elected onto the Fabian Women’s Network Executive Committee.

As a researcher for the London Assembly Labour Group, Oppong-Asare focuses on equalities. That research mind landed her in Parliament where she worked for high profile politicians gaining the much needed insight and experience to run her campaign to become Member of Parliament (MP).

The other Ghanaian lady of interest is Ribeiro-Addy. She came in the race thanks to Chuka Umunna’s defection to the Liberal Democrats. She had proven to be a solid lady leading to her candidacy for the Labour party for for Streatham.

She has been through the mill and acquired political experience as former Shadow Home Secretary to Diane Abbott’s Chief of Staff. Abbort stands as the longest-serving black MP in the House of Commons representing Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987.

According to Ms Ribeiro-Addy: “One of the things I’m proudest of about Streatham is its diverse and rich community and I will not stand for anyone being attacked by bigotry.”

There was also Ghanaian presence in the victories of the Conservative Party, as two Ghanaian men Adam Afriyie and Kwasi Kwarteng won their seats.

Afriyie retained the Windsor seat by polling 31,501 votes. He has been the MP since his first election in 2005. He was born to a Ghanaian father and an English mother from Wimbledon.

Conservative MP Kwarteng also retained his Spelthorne seat for a fourth term by 18,393 votes.

The former Brexit minister gained 29,141 votes compared to 10,748 of his nearest rival, Labour’s Pavitar Kaur Mann.

Mr. Kwarteng has been Spelthorne’s representative in Parliament since 2010, noting he was “hugely honoured” and “proud” to have won by his biggest majority so far in the borough.

Nigerian interest was in Kemi Badenoch and Chinyelu Onwurah. Badenoch of Nigerian extraction stood on the Conservative Party’s ticket. She secured the Saffron Walden seat polling 39,714 votes as against the Liberal Democrat Hibbs’ 12,120 votes while Labour’s Tom van de Bilt and the Green Party’s Coby Wing secured 8,305 and 2,947 votes respectively.

A delighted Badenoch in the company of her husband, Hamish and 12-week-old daughter, Ara submitted: “I would like to thank each of the candidates, my family – my husband and daughter, who are here, and my two cheeky and cheerful children who have helped me get through a very cold and wintry election. I couldn’t have done it without you. “

Onwurah secured the Newcastle Central seat for Labour in the just concluded UK general election polling 21,568 votes defeating her Conservative rival who scored 9,290 votes.

Onwurah has a Nigerian father and an English mother, who hails from Newcastle. The 54-year-old’s father operated as a dentist while studying at the Newcastle University Medical School.

Although the family settled in Nigeria, the break out of the Biafra Civil War compelled “my mother, my brother and sister and I returned as refugees to Newcastle, whilst my father stayed on in the Biafran army,” a message on Onwurah’s website reads.

Conversations

Must Read