The Nigerian-born, John Abraham Godson, made history in Poland when he became the country’s first black member of parliament.
John Godson, who represents the governing Civic Platform party, took up his seat in the Polish lower house of parliament following the resignation of a party colleague.
The 40-year-old university lecturer said he wants to “ensure Poland had found a place in Africa” and that he hopes to promote race relations in a country that is overwhelmingly white and monocultural.
Mr. Godson hails from Ofeiyi, Umuahia South L.G.A, Abia State and graduated from Abia State University, Uturu. He moved to Poland in the early 1990s from his native Nigeria, and but since taking citizenship in 2000 he has put down roots in the central city of Lodz, marrying a local girl and serving on the city council for a number of years.
“I am from Lodz, I will live here, I want to die here and I want to be buried here,” he said in a newspaper interview.
His arrival in the Polish parliament is remarkable given that Poland only has a tiny number of ethnic minorities, with the country’s 2002 census putting the number of people of a non-European origin at little more than a couple of thousand.
Although racism still occurs in Poland, and occasionally blights football matches involving coloured players, it has dropped significantly since the early 1990s when far-right groups flourished in the years following the collapse of communism.
Mr Godson will also become one of just a handful of black politicians in central Europe.