Meet The Nigerian Woman Who Is The Only African In The Cabinet Of Britain’s New Prime Minister

By  |  July 31, 2019

Last week, Boris Johnson was sworn in as Britain’s new Prime Minister. Johnson, a divisive figure amongst Brits and even the rest of the world, took the baton from former Prime Minister, Theresa May, who appeared to have hit a brick wall with Brexit talks that seem to have stalled.

Long before it became official, Boris Johnson was the clear favourite to take over the reins. His assumption into the position was never really in doubt as he had made many friends (and perhaps some enemies too) with some bold statements about delivering Brexit to the British people. And it does look like he means business too as it didn’t take up to 24 hours after his swearing-in before he named his entire cabinet.

Kemi Badenoch, a Nigerian, is one of the persons in the new cabinet. She is, in fact, the only African appointed into Boris Johnson’s cabinet. She took the office of Junior Minister for Children and Families. And hers is quite the story too.

Kemi Badenoch was born Olukemi Olufunto Adegoke in January 1980. She grew up in Lagos having spent much of her childhood attending elementary schools in Nigeria, though she was born in Wimbledon to Nigerian parents.

She returned to the UK at 16 years of age and about the same period, she became a British citizen. Upon completing high school, she went off to study Systems Engineering at the University of Sussex. She later followed this up with a law degree before spending some years in the IT and banking sectors, working for firms such as Coutts and RBS.

Kemi Badenoch

The 39-year-old British-Nigerian has always been vocal about her political views — not to mention her strong convictions about Britain being better off without the EU — and the lure of politics had always appealed to her. In 2017, she ran for office and was elected to the British Parliament, representing Saffron Walden, having previously served for the Conservatives in the London Assembly.

As a woman of African origin, Kemi talked about her journey to becoming a British citizen at 16 during her first speech at the parliament in 2017. She also emphasized her passion for children and a free and equity-conscious society.

Reports from British press have it that Badenoch’s appointment was confirmed on Saturday, a day after Nadhim Zahawi, former children’s minister, was transferred to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) by new Britain’s new Prime Minister.

Children’s social care; an area that encompasses child protection, children in care, adoption, care leavers, social work, local authority performance, and family law, are some of the responsibilities Kemi will be shouldering in her new position — a deserved promotion in many ways.

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