Saturday evening, African professionals in the diaspora gathered on Long Island to support Dr. Bola Omotosho, a
Ghanaian Nigerian American running for NY City Council in the West Bronx. A group of Nigerian doctors, bankers and other professionals held what one participant described as “a high class gathering” to introduce Dr. Omotosho (whom everyone simply calls “Dr. Bola”), chairman of Bronx Community Board 5 and, now, candidate for City Council.
Sheikh Moussa Drammeh, UAC chairman, emailed me writing, “My God, talk about African pride, give us just five more years in New York City [and see what we accomplish].” Sheikh Drammeh said that the immigrant professional hailed from Liberia, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea and Nigeria.
Of course, what’s a fundraiser without campaign checks. The total donations — many generously given — taken are presently being tallied. The CFB financial disclosure deadline is July 15.
Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson is considered the frontrunner in this contest. She has experienced robust fundraising of her own. Gibson has a lion’s share of institutional and labor union support.
For the first time since 1973, there won’t be a Foster on the primary ballot in this West Bronx council district. In 2001, term limits forced Wendell Foster out whereupon his daughter, Helen Diane Foster ran and won (defeating this writer). After voting to give herself a third term, Foster is now prohibited from running for a fourth term.
Both Foster and Gibson, to their credit, have forged good relations with the emerging West African immigrant community. But in a city where ethnic politics can fuel political ambitions, blacks in the West Bronx didn’t prove immune.
When I was in office, it had been my desire to forge a pan-African political alliance in the Bronx in order to integrate African immigrants into the political process. Ideally, I’d have suggested that Assemblywoman Gibson to remain in Albany and support a West African candidate for city council.
[Corrections made due to updated information given me Tuesday morning]
There were once as many as
five four African candidates vying for the council seat held by Foster. As of Independence Day, rumors circulated that, at least three two African candidates were dropping out. Two reportedly would throw their support to Dr. Bola and a third, Naaimat Muhammed, an aide to CM Foster, reportedly will endorse Assemblywoman Gibson. Abiodun Bello has already dropped out and thrown his support to Gibson. A fifth candidate, Ahmadu Diallo is still in the race but is said to be talking with Dr. Bola.
Democratic nominating petitions will be filed beginning this Monday through Thursday. Petition challenges begin shortly thereafter. Many first-time candidates have seen their candidacies thwarted due to serious petition defects that disqualify them from making the primary election ballot.
The Democratic Primary Election will be held on September 10, 2013.