Poland’s parliament is getting its first ever African lawmaker, a teacher and Christian pastor from Nigeria who has lived in Poland for 17 years and proven himself a popular local leader.
John Abraham Godson is a councilman in the central city of Lodz.
The 40-year-old will fill a seat in the national parliament vacated by a fellow lawmaker from the Civic Platform party.
That lawmaker, Hanna Zdanowska, was elected mayor of Lodz on Sunday. Godson was her runner-up in the 2007 parliamentary elections.
He said Monday that he feels honoured and believes it is “historic moment” for Poland.
As a lawmaker he plans to support technological innovation in Poland and bolster ties with Africa.
His swearing-in is expected in the coming weeks.
John Abraham Godson, is a Polish citizen born and raised in Nigeria.
He has made history as the first black member of Poland’s parliament.
He had served as a councillor in the city of Lodz before taking up a parliamentary seat, vacated by a party colleague after local elections.
He came to Poland in the 1990s, opening an English-language school and working as a pastor in a Protestant church.
He has since married a Polish woman and the couple have four children.
Beaten up twice
A member of the centre-right Civic Platform party, he was appointed to the seat vacated by party colleague Hanna Zdanowskaafter after she became mayor of Lodz.
It is still quite rare to see black people even in the Polish capital Warsaw, Poland’s most cosmopolitan city, the BBC’s Adam Easton reports.
Racism is still a problem in Poland, where it is not uncommon for well-educated people to make racist jokes, our correspondent says.
Mr Godson was beaten up twice in the early 1990s but he says attitudes to black people in Poland are changing for the better, particularly since the country joined the EU six years ago.
Speaking earlier to Polish radio, Mr Godson said: “I am from Lodz, I will live here, I want to die here and I want to be buried here.”