Young and politically savvy, 33 year old Chuka Umunna is currently tipped by some political analysts to possibly be Britain’s next opposition leader. He is also often called Britain’s Obama. Indeed their pedigrees are similar. Born to a Nigerian father and a British mother, Chuka Umunna didn’t have a wealthy childhood.
His father moved to Britain from Nigeria arriving at the Liverpool Docks with only a suitcase and no money. However, once settled in Nigeria, he took up odd jobs, washing plates and cars. In about 15 years, he became a relatively successful businessman running an import-export business trading goods between Europe and West Africa.
From humble beginnings, Chuka grew up to become a lawyer, studying law at the University of Manchester.
After practicing law for some time, he joined the labour party in 1997 and eventually got elected into the British Parliament in 2010 to represent his Streatham Constituency. Since becoming a member of parliament, he has served in the Treasury Select Committee and in only 18 months in parliament, was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.
In early July, the Sunday Times (of London) did a story on him, describing him as a “clean-cut Labour star.” In November 2007 Umunna was identified as one of the ten young, gifted and black people in British politics by The Independent on Sunday. Furthermore, the New Statesman referred to him as a “Barack Obama for Britain.”
In January 2012, he famously joined Ed Miliband and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves in calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to block a £1.6m bonus for Stephen Hester, the Chief Executive Officer of the publicly-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
Chuka Umunna is one to watch and is one of many young Africans making waves in the Diaspora.