The growing West African community is set to gain political grip at the borough as two Nigerians and two other African-born immigrants, including a female are vying to represent the Bronx on the City Council.
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the two Nigerian candidates are Mr. Abiodun Bello, a Nigerian immigrant and tax auditor for the city Finance Department and Bola Omotosho, Chairman of Community Board 5 and a doctor.
Other candidates are Guinean, Ahmadou Diallo, an accountant and the founder of the Futa Islamic Centre, and Naaimat Muhammed, an aide in Foster’s office who has a Ghanaian and Togolese heritage.
District 16 in the Bronx, otherwise referred to as “black seat’’ because of the large black population (there are an estimated 7,500 West Africans residents) is currently held by Council woman Helen Foster, who has been prevented by term limits from running again. District 16 includes Morrisania, Highbridge and Melrose,
The elections are scheduled to hold between September and November.
“The Africans from the continent have been taken for granted for far too long. This will give us a chance to be at the table,’’ Bello said at a forum organised by the new United African Coalition.
Jennifer Gray-Brumskine, a community activist for Liberians on Staten Island and a member of the coalition, said the competition symbolised a political coming-of-age for the immigrant community, adding that “It shows that we’re moving up.’’
Andrew Beveridge also said “to win, you really have to cross groups. You have to form a coalition with people who are part of the power structure. There aren’t enough Africans up there.’’