While politics in his fatherland is still locked in primordial sentiments, Nigeria’s Chuka Umunna is set to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
He threw his hat into the political ring on Tuesday to be the second aspirant to the office, becoming the second member of the party to offer to lead it after suffering crushing defeat in last Thursday’s parliamentary elections.
The son of Benneth, an importer-exporter now deceased, is Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary.
His father had married Patricia Milmo, a solicitor and daughter of a British judge, Sir Helenus Milmo QC, who was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.
Umunna, 36, announced his bid to become Labour leader in a video released on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
His father died in a road crash in Nigeria in 1992 when he was just 14.
The 36-year-old MP for Streatham in south London wasreported to have received endorsement from for British Prime Minister Tony Blair sometime late last year.
He is the second Labour MP to join the race to replace Ed Miliband, after Blairite shadow health minister Liz Kendall announced her bid on Sunday.
But the pair are likely to be joined by at least three more candidates, including Yvette Cooper – who will launch her bid as early as Thursday – and the shadow health secretary Andy Burnham.
In the video, Umunna, who worked as a lawyer in London before entering Parliament, claimed he wanted to ‘lead the effort’ to get Labour back into power in 2020 – dismissing claims it would take the party another 10 years to win back power.
It comes after a string of senior Labour figures, including Lord Mandelson and former chancellor Alistair Darling, ripped into the party’s disastrous campaign.
Labour slumped to its worst defeat in almost 30 years in last week’s election – finishing 99 seats behind the Conservatives, with 26 fewer MPs than even Gordon Brown managed in 2010.
Speaking in Swindon, a key marginal where Labour failed to make any inroads at the election, Umunna insisted he could lead the party back to power within five years.
Umunna said: I’m pleased today to be announcing that I will be standing for the leadership of the party.
‘I think we can be winning in seats like Swindon. North, South, East, and West we can absolutely do it as a party.
‘Some have suggested in the last few days that this is somehow now a 10 year project to get the Labour party back into office. I don’t think we can have any truck with that at all.
‘I think the Labour party can do it in five years. I want to lead that effort as part of a really big Labour team, getting Labour back into office, building a fairer, more equal society – that’s why we all joined the party in the first place.’
Umunna has enjoyed a rapid rise since being elected to Parliament five years ago, aged just 31.
The sharp-suited former lawyer was promoted to shadow business secretary within two years of winning his Commons seat – and quickly became one of Labour’s most high-profile figures.
Before entering Parliament, Mr Umunna studied law at Manchester University before moving into a job at the top City law firm Herbert Smith.
Despite being in his 20s, he was already earning enough to buy a £230,000 flat in a converted art deco cinema on Streatham High Road – in the heart of his future constituency.