The Nigerian community in New York City, United States, on Sunday, organised a debate for the mayoral candidates to learn about their views on critical issues impacting the community.
The debate was convened by the Nigerian Forum, a coalition of the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians, and the Nigerian-Americans Public Affairs Committee, a political action committee.
The New York City mayoral election is competitive and strategic due to the city’s diverse nature and an annual budget of about $100 billion, the largest municipal budget in the U.S.
No fewer than 13 Democratic and two Republican candidates have qualified for the city’s 2021 mayoral election following the Democratic and Republican primaries on June 22, 2021, and a general election on November 2, 2021.
At least three Nigerians are contesting in the city council’s elections, including Ranti Ogunleye, contesting Staten Island City 49; George Onuorah, contesting Queens district 21; and Chris Durosinmi, contesting Brooklyn District 37.
The Nigerian community is positioning itself as a voting bloc to pull support for a candidate whose agenda resonates with the community.
Chairman of NAPAC New York, Gbenga Omotayo, said the debate aimed to discover each candidate’s plan to help make an informed choice about whose agenda would best support the Nigerian community.
Omotayo, in a report by the News Agency of Nigeria, said, “We have the vision to make sure that our children get to wherever and whatever level they deserve and desire.
“We are going to use some criteria to determine who we should work with, and whoever we go with it, by the grace of God, is going to be the next New York Mayor.”
Similarly, Nelson Aluya, President of NAPAC, canvassed support for Nigerians contesting elective positions.
“New York has a role to play, not only for us as Africans or for us as Nigerians but also for us black people. We must begin to put our differences aside and come together to achieve the result,” stated Mr Aluya.
Also speaking, Bola Omotosho, who moderated the forum, said the goal was for Nigerians to hear first-hand from the candidates as a voting bloc in New York.