On May 7, 2015, a Nigerian, Chuka Umunna, could make history by becoming the first black Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Born in London in 1978, Chuka was bred in the UK. His late father, Bennett, hailed from Anambra State while his Irish mother, Patricia, is a solicitor.
His father, Bennett, was a Nigerian labourer, who arrived in Britain in the sixties with one suitcase and no money. Having borrowed the fare from Liverpool to London, he worked in a carwash, became a successful businessman. At a point Bennett was also the owner of the Rangers International Football Club of Enugu, the darling of the Igbo people.
Bennett died in a car crash when his son was 13. Chuka believed his father was killed because he refused to indulge in corrupt practices when he was running for the governorship of Anambra State during the administration of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd.).
Bennett died after his car ran into a lorry carrying logs along the Onitsha-Owerri highway in Anambra. Bennett had been splitting his time between London and Nigeria – where he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Anambra State and had taken a stand against bribery.
Co-incidentally, Chuka shares startling similarities with the United States President, Barack Obama, who is the first black President of the world’s most powerful nation.
For instance, Chuka is of mixed race, being the child of a Nigerian father and an Irish mother while Obama is also of mixed race, being the offspring of a white American woman and a Kenyan father. Also Chuka’s father, Bennett, was killed in a mysterious car accident in Nigeria in 1992 while Obama’s father was killed in a car accident in Kenya in 1982.
If history repeats itself as it is being predicted by British political observers, Chuka, who is also a six-foot tall lawyer like Obama, could become the first black Prime Minister in the UK.
When quizzed about his father on Sky News, the 35-year-old Labour Party Member of Parliament, had this to say:
“There was a lot of speculation in Nigeria at the time around his death. He was a national political figure standing on an anti-corruption ticket and refused to bribe anybody.
We don’t really talk about it because it is not going to bring him back but I think he would be bowled over that his son is now a politician just like him.”
Chuka, an English and French Law graduate from the University of Manchester, who also holds a Master’s degree from Nottingham Law School, says his interest in politics was shaped by seeing extreme poverty while visiting his father’s relatives in Nigeria and the social divide in his own Streatham constituency in the UK. He says that he is “not super-religious” but that his soft-left values are “rooted in my Christianity.”