Canadians elect Nigerian as first black Councillor

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By Chijioke Kingsley

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – A Nigerian, Mrs. Funke Bankoko, has been elected for the very first time into the regional municipality of Wood Bufallo government, McMurray, Alberta Canada.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo includes Fort McMurray and 10 smaller communities.

In the election, according CBS News, Wood Buffalo voters elected what is believed to be the most diverse council in the region’s history.

Banjoko, (nee Ogunsuyi) who has lived in Fort McMurray for 10 years, is the first Black elected occupy that position in the history of the municipal election.

She campaigned hard for the position, and it showed as she received the highest number of votes for council with 4,788 among the six elected from 24 contestants in the ward.

Ekiti born Banjoko and a princess from Ipoti/Igogo, who graduated in History from the University of Jos in 1989 and study in supply chain management at the Institute of Purchasing and Supply, Stamford University, United Kingdom, qualifying for MCIPS IN 1997, says, “I represent a group of people that maybe they didn’t feel they were represented before,” Banjoko said.

“When we bring our different strengths, experiences, skills … if we work together then we will achieve so much.”

Banjoko grew up with many influences in her life, as her father was a mayor in Nigeria, her mother was a councillor and her brother was a commissioner and has most of her 30 years work experience in the Oil and Gas industry both in Nigeria and currently in Canada.

“It’s only natural for me, she added.”

In the election, Four of the 11 council members elected last week Monday were Métis, including Loretta Waquan, Kendrick Cardinal, Allan Grandison and mayor-elect Sandy Bowman.

Apart from Banjoko, Councillor-elect Dogar Shafiq emigrated from Pakistan and has lived in Fort McMurray since 2006. Three of the councillors are women.

Banjoko expressed appreciation her UNIJOS class mates and families all around the globe whom she described as her global cheerleaders.

Some of her classmates in UNIJOS, who spoke our correspondent, described her as well deserved.

Mrs. Lois Iyortom, Prof.Adewale Banjo, Mrs. Fatima Obadaki, Rev. Shade Omole Dr. Julia Ogbaji, Dr. Christopher Ashiekaa, Oliver Okeke, Yima Iwaga, MacDons Chollom, Emenike Ukwunna, Goddy Anene, all attested her dexterity and determination to succeed.

According Banjo, “While we were in school, she exhibited that leadership quality and I knew that she would excel in whatever she would do.”