Only education, discipline, and good leaders can save Africa! Our correspondent Femi Akomolafe went to Warsaw to interview the first ever African member of the Polish Parliament, John Abraham Godson (pictured), a Nigerian emigre. He turned out to be a man of many parts.

Author:Akomolafe, Femi
Position::Nigeria/Poland - Interview

EVEN for PROFFSSED /ATHEISTS and agnostics, some things so defy logical explanation that only the word "miracle" can describe them. Take the case of John Abraham Godson, the Nigerian-born member of the Polish parliament, the first African ever to have that honour.

That a black man got elected into the parliament of a rigidly white, homogeneous society like Poland is a testament to the way the world is making amends for the bigotry of the days of yore. And not only that: Godson was re-elected in last month's Polish elections. For those who have not been there, it is quite possible to walk the streets of Warsaw, the Polish capital city, the whole day (as this writer did in the second week of August 2011) without seeing a single non-European face.

Well, if you branch off the major streets into some side corners, you might encounter some Asians running their own versions of Chinese restaurants. But in Warsaw, as in most of Poland, a black face is as scarce as the proverbial chicken's teeth.

According to the statistics I gathered, there are about 4,000 Africans in the country of over 38 million people. Most of the Africans are said to be students, some of whom arrived a long time ago on government scholarships and for one reason or another decided to make Europe's eighth (in terms of size: 312,679 sq. km) and seventh (in terms of population) largest country their home. Some of the Africans are also those who got stuck on their way to other (more appealing) destinations in Europe. Others are footballers who are looking for opportunities to ply their trade.

But even if all the Africans had voted and had given all their votes to their kin, their number is so insignificant that they could not have gotten one of their brothers into the Polish parliament, called the Sejm.

It is equally significant that at a time when fascist elements in several European countries are clamouring to "take their countries back" from immigrants, and Tea-Party faithful in the USA, like Donald Trump, are asking President Obama to produce his birth certificate, a homogeneous country like Poland has decided to elect an African immigrant into its parliament.

A miracle is exactly what happened when on 14 December last year, John Abraham Godson, the Nigerian-born, now Polish citizen, was sworn in as the first black member of the Polish parliament. Understandably, his appointment caused quite a stir in the overwhelmingly white country.

Born on 25 November 1970, in the Eastern Nigerian town of Umuahia, Godson (named Godson Chikama Onyekwere) moved to Poland in 1993, becoming a Polish citizen in 2001. He married a Polish woman and they have four children.

Apart from the BSc he earned in agronomy from the University of Abia State, Godson holds several academic degrees including a Masters in Human Resource Management and Development, and another one in International Relations. He is currently in the process of earning two doctorate degrees at the University of Warsaw (political science) and University of Lodz (management). He is also participating in a joint MBA/Master of Science in Professional Communication (MSPC) run by Clark University and the Lodz Academy of Management.




Before entering parliament, Godson was a senior lecturer at the Technical University of Szczecin and at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan. He is now a guest lecturer at several institutions of higher learning in Poland and abroad...

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