From Lagos to London: Nigeria’s Cultural Footprint in the African Diaspora

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There is a common saying among Nigerians that ‘wherever you go on the face of the earth, you will meet a Nigeria’. As much as the Nigerian people are known for their adventurous spirit, it also goes further to prove the level of their survival strategies, wherein they keep pushing harder till they accomplish their goals.


As a result of this, over the years, one of Nigeria’s greatest exports to the world has been its people. With the potential and intellect to succeed in life, Nigerians have excelled in different countries of the world where the strong desire to make meaning of their lives has taken them.


From entertainment to sport, technology, medicine, law, media, financial services, academia, and even politics, Nigerians have distinguished themselves outside the shores of the country such that they hold prominent positions in their new respective countries of residence.


This piece will highlight a few of the successful Nigerians in the diaspora in some fields while focusing more on those who have ventured into politics in their new countries of abode and are doing well for themselves.


For a start, we delve into the medical profession, which is highly skilled and sensitive. In this field, we have quite a lot of Nigerians who have achieved some remarkable feats that have earned them respect among their contemporaries all over the world.


One of them is Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, a foetal and paediatric surgeon based in Texas and certified by the American Board of Surgery. Armed with a medical degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Nigeria, He left Nigeria for the US for better opportunities.


Olutoye leads one of the largest children’s hospital surgery departments in the world, following his appointment.

as the surgeon-in-chief at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the US in recognition of a major feat he achieved in 2016 when he successfully led a team of 21 other doctors to operate on a baby-in-utero to remove a tumour and place it back for the remaining gestation period.


There is also Dr. Njideka Udochi, a healthcare specialist based in the US and sister to the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.


With a licence to practice medicine, her specialties are family medicine, geriatrics, infectious diseases, and HIV/AIDS patient care.


In 2021, Dr. Udochi was named the family doctor of the year in Maryland, USA, making her the first black female winner of the decent award.


She was also recognised as the top doctor by Baltimore Magazine in 2019.


In the world of architectural creativity, Nigeria is blessed to have Kunle Adeyemi, who is an architect, designer, and development researcher whose works are internationally recognised due to their ingenuity and innovativeness.


Known for building floating structures, Adeyemi is the founder and principal of NLÉ, an architecture, design, and urbanism practice based in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.


That takes us to the core of this piece, which is the highlight of some Nigerians who have gone into politics in their residences or abodes outside of Nigeria.


Kemi Badenoch


Kemi Badenoch is a British politician of Nigerian descent who is serving as the Secretary of State for Business and Trade.


She is a member of the Conservative Party, which she joined at age 25. In her political sojourn, she served as a Member of the London Assembly between 2015 and 2017.


In 2022, Badenoch launched a bid to succeed former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was Conservative Party Leader but was eliminated in the fourth round of voting due to low vote turnovers.



Kaycee Madu


Kaycee is a Canadian lawyer and politician. He is a member of the United Conservative Party, under which he represented Edmonton-South West in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from April 2019 to May 2023.


Due to his political affiliations, the University of Lagos Law graduate has served in various roles, the last of which was the position of Deputy Premier of Alberta from October 2022 to May 2023, when the 30th Alberta legislature was dissolved.


He was also Alberta’s minister of municipal affairs from 2019 to 2020 and minister of justice and solicitor general of Alberta from 2020 to 2022, making him the first black person to serve as a provincial and federal minister of justice in Canada.



Samuel Ifeanyi “VopOsili Jr.


Samuel Ifeanyi “VopOsili, Jr., is a Democratic politician from Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the incumbent President of District 11 of the Indianapolis City-County Council in the US, a position he has held since February 2018.


Before his current position, he held various elective posts where he won the elections with huge percentages of votes.



Segun Adeyina


As well as being a politician, Segun Adeyina is an IT expert with professional skills in database management, IT strategy, and data centre management.


Adeyina is a Democratic member of the Georgia House of Representatives, representing District 110.


He was elected in 2022 and assumed office in January 2023.



Collins Nweke


Collins Nweke is a Nigerian-born politician in Belgium under the Green Party. He is currently serving his third term as the councillor for social affairs at the Ostend City Council in West Flanders province.


Nweke, who settled in Belgium in 1993, is the first non-Belgian to be elected to political office in West Flanders.



Josephine Oboh-Macleod


Oboh Macleod is a United Kingdom politician, a member of the Scottish Conservative Party, and a member of the Black Tories who advocates the inclusion of more qualified black people in public positions such as parliament across the UK, especially in Scotland.


She was the secretary of the Scottish Conservative Friends of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnics.


As a Scottish Conservative Party member, Oboh-Macleod vied for the Scottish Conservative councillor ticket in Milngavi and made history as the first woman of African descent to vie for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party’s councillorship ticket in Milngavie, Scotland.

Though she lost the seat, she has continued to be an active participant in her political career.

While this is not an exhaustive list of Nigerians in the diaspora who are actively engaged in politics and have succeeded in it, worthy of note is that the names listed herein have at some point in their lives lived in Nigeria before relocating for greener pastures.

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