A great event was marked on 16th Feb 2016 in Nigeria’s statehouse at Aso Rock, when President Buhari received UK Members of Parliament – Rt. Hon. Ms. Chi Onwurah and Rt. Hon. Ms. Kate Osamor.
Why was it a big deal with historical significance? After all, this is not the first time members of UK Parliaments are visiting Nigeria. But in this case both members of the visiting UK Parliamentarians are of Nigerian descent of Igbo heritage.
When the overwhelming British Empire carved out Nigeria for their own economic aggrandizement and lorded over Nigeria until 1960, the then subjects of the colony never knew that one day of their posterity will occupy an important seat in the government of the former master and colonial mother.
The Nigerian media and pundits with limited sense of history and dwarfed global awareness of geo-politics did not even reckoned or acknowledged such an important event taking place in their presence. Instead the news was reported as a everyday event without acknowledging the historical significance.
Chi Onwurah and Kate Osamor were accompanied to the Nigeria’s statehouse by their colleague Laurence Robertson and British ambassador to Nigeria. The political breakthrough whereby sons and daughters of former subjects of the British Empire are having a say in the affairs of United Kingdom buttressed that an era of change in global affairs has finally dawned on us.
Chi Onwurah the leader of the British delegation to Nigeria is a shadow minister who was elected into British parliament on the platform of the Labour Party in Newcastle Central seat in the year 2010. Just like Chuka Umunna another parliamentarian, she is biracial with an Igbo- Nigerian father and English mother. Onwurah was born 12 April 1965 in Wallsend, Newcastle.
“After Chi was born in Wallsend, Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1965, her family moved to Awka,Nigeria when she was still a baby. Just two years later the Biafran Civil War broke out bringing famine with it, forcing her mother to bring the children back to Newcastle, whilst her father stayed on in the Biafran army.” Onwurah obtained her first degree in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College London and subsequently her MBA at Manchester Business School.
Kate Osamor is also of Labour Party representative of Edmonton constituency in London.She has worked for the NHS and currently working as a GP Practice Manager at an Enfield GP Surgery.. She won against Kate Anolue, a Nigerian born Councillor and Mayor of the London Borough of Enfield. Kate Osamor, an Anioma- delta descent “has worked for the NHS for 15 years, is a trade union activist, a women’s charity trustee and a member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. She made funding the NHS, opposing its fragmentation and standing up to government cuts the centerpiece of her campaign.”
The coming home of these great daughters of Igbo, Nigeria and Africa displayed that despite the lagging behind of Nigeria in all the indices of human progress, there is still hope – Yes, a steady and lingering light at the end of the tunnel. Therefore Africa cannot be right-off easily, to paraphrase The Great Chinua Achebe; it is still a morning time in creation.
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