By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, May 26, 2021
The Nigerian-American Public Affairs Committee (NAPAC) has urged New York Mayoral candidates to include members of the Nigerian community in the governance of the area when elected.
President of NAPAC, Dr Nelson Aluya, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York.
Aluya spoke on the sidelines of a debate convened by NAPAC in collaboration with the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN).
The Nigerian political leader said that the agenda the committee was putting forward for the candidates bothered on multiple spaces to include Nigerians and Africans in their government.
“The agenda is to truly have a representation in each government, for being a commissioner in the city of New York or being rectors of establishments or parastatals within New York as well.
“New York’s budget is huge, over 83 billion dollars but with COVID-19, it dropped a little but with what it is, where New York goes, America goes.
“So invariably, if we have a stake here so we will have a stake across the country.
“We are using New York as a pivotal point so other Nigerians will see what is obtainable in New York so that they can replicate it in other states as well,’’ he stressed.
The President said that NAPAC had put some measures in place to deliver bloc votes for whichever Mayoral candidate the committee would be adopting.
The committee had, in collaboration with other Nigerian associations, organised debates for the mayoral candidates to hear their views on critical issues impacting on the Nigerian community.
In addition, Aluya said Nigerian associations had come together under Nigerian Forum to rally round Nigerians in New York and to send a sound message as a platform that Nigerians can come together.
“First, we want to bring Nigerians together so we get to know one another, and to know the associations and individuals that are here working, actively and that impact on our community.
“The biggest problem we have had is that we have always worked solo, where nobody knows what anybody else is doing so that we can bring all our resources together,’’ he said.
He said that some of the challenges had been addressed and all the associations had come together under one umbrella to put their resources together.
“Resources like time, intellect and money. Each one has its own value and use, if we can bring that together so we can come up with one voice.
“We want to hear from the candidates what they can do for us and tell them what we will do for them as other communities have done.
“Like the Chinese, the Japanese, the Asia-Americans and the Hispanics and also lead all other Africans, before you lead other Africans, you need to set yourself up first.
“You need to set yourself up first, arrange and set your home up so that we can lead Africa as a whole.’’
The New York City mayoral election is very competitive and strategic due to the city’s diverse nature and an annual budget of about US$ 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 party primaries to be held on June 22, 2021. The general election holds on Nov. 2, 2021.
NAN reports that Nigeria Forum had organised debates for three Mayoral candidates, namely Eric Adams, Ray MacGuire, and Andrew Yang.