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Nigerians, Africans in UK hail election of first Muslim London Mayor

A cross section of Nigerians in the UK on Monday lauded the emergence of Labour Party candidate, Sadiq Khan, as the new Mayor of London.

Khan, 45, a practicing Muslim and son of Pakistani immigrants was sworn in as London’s new Mayor on May 7 after defeating his closest rival, Mr Zac Goldsmith, of the Conservative Party.

Speaking on the development, Ms Jenny Okafor, the President of Nigerian Women in Diaspora Leadership Forum told the News Agency of Nigeria Europe Correspondent that Khan’s victory marked a milestone in the history of UK’s politics.

She said “it is yet another milestone in the history of democracy and the fight against ignorance and bigotry.

“We have a few bigoted people who still live in the past and would like to retain the old order of `them and us’.

“While London is often described as a multicultural city where all are welcome, many people who have been victims of racism often doubt the veracity of that perception of multiculturalism.’’

According to Okafor, khan’s victory, with 57 per cent of the votes, shows that London has indeed come alight and any minority who fails can no longer hide under the age-long claim of racism.

“Khan’s election has shown the goodwill of the people of London; this will encourage multi faith involvement in politics in the capital and around the country.’’

In the same vein, major stakeholders in the Ghanian, South African, Kenyan and Pakistani Diaspora communities in the UK have all hailed Khan’s victory.

According to them, it will open up London as a free city for all, irrespective of race and religion.

In an interview with NAN, Mr Issac Kweku, a Ghanian human rights lawyer said that the timing of Khan’s emergence was apt, given Europe’s struggle with a rise in “Islamophobia’’.

Kweku commended those who voted Khan, stressing that “this has given hope to us to aspire for greater heights’’.

It would be recalled that Khan, a human rights lawyer, was until his election a Member of Parliament (MP) for Tooting in South London since 2005.

NAN reports that a similar feat was recorded in 2009 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where Mr Ahmed Aboutaleb of Moroccan descent emerged as Mayor and still occupies the position. (NAN)

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