New York county swears in first Nigerian as legislator
The first Nigerian elected to Albany County Legislature, New York, Beroro Efekoro will bring a unique resume with him when he’s inaugurated as legislator tomorrow.
Efekoro is one of the 10 new people joining the 39-member house and will be the first Nigerian-American to hold office in the county.
He defeated the incumbent Albany Democrat, Doug Bullock, in November’s general election and will represent the 7th legislative district, which covers the Beverwyck and Pine Hills neighbourhoods.
Born in Nigeria but moved to New York City with his father and siblings in 2008, the 29-year-old moved to the city in 2012 to pursue a degree in political science at the University at Albany. He quickly became immersed in the community and political arena.
According to timesunion.com, it appears he might be just the third Nigerian to hold elective office in the entire United States.
“I’ve been involved in community service almost all my life. I got elected as my senior class president just one year after I arrived the U.S. I got involved in the Democratic process even before I became a citizen. I was making calls to Congress and people to support the Affordable Care Act, to go out and vote for President (Barack) Obama,” Efekoro said.
The New Yorker became a U.S. citizen in 2014 while at the university and started a non-profit ‘International Organisation for Education’ to help students succeed in school.
“I saw the need to get involved in the Albany community because a lot of the kids were failing in high school and were dropping out of school,” he said.
After graduating in 2015, Efekoro was selected as a committee person by Carolyn McLaughlin, who was then chairwoman of the Albany County Democratic Committee.
Albany legislator, Frank Commisso Sr., said Efekoro had been volunteering for quite some time.
In 2017, he ran unsuccessfully for the Common Council’s 11th ward seat against incumbent, Judd Krasher, and Democratic challengers, Alfredo Balarin and Clifton Dixon. Balarin won the election leaving Efekoro as deputy ward leader.
Efekoro promised to focus on addressing vacant buildings, securing housing for veterans, and establishing more programmes and resources for youth, family and seniors.
His effort to improve education will include the establishment of a scholarship fund for high school graduates living in the Pine Hills and Beverwyck neighbourhoods, The Guardian gathered.