Just a day before the start of the runoff election – December 1, a group of Nigerian professionals and community leaders who had been campaigning for Sylvester Turner in the race for Houston’s mayor cornered him for a fundraising cocktail reception in a private venue on Tanglewood. Early voting started afterwards on December 2 and lasted till December 8, whereas Election Day is scheduled for December 12, a Saturday. Turner and former Kemah Mayor, Bill King are headed for the runoff.
“We are a committee of professionals and community leaders encompassing different associations of Nigerian-Americans based in Houston – and from the beginning of the entire elections, our goal has been to ensure that the Nigerian community with more than 150,000 residents play a participating role” said Dr. Odion Ojo, one of the event facilitators who spoke to the media. Dr. Ojo said that the event was a sum up of a get-out-and-vote campaign drive, encouraging African residents to turn out in great numbers to vote in the runoff elections.
With their historic role in the election of Mayor Lee P. Brown, the first African-American mayor of Houston, Nigerians in Houston have established undisputedly, that they count in numbers and matter in matters of government and politics. Vast with major community associations, cultural groups, and social clubs, working the campaigns in the Nigerian community has been pivotal to the election of key Houston elected leaders. Professor Chris Ulasi of the Texas Southern University said, “There are public officers and politicians who represent our interests very passionately and objectively; we know them, and we have always corroborated necessary forces to ensure their success in the polls. Honorable Turner is one of such leaders.”
Next day after this event, Turner yet grabbed another major endorsement – this time from the incumbent Mayor, Annise Parker. “Today I endorsed Sylvester Turner for Mayor of Houston because Sylvester is the best-qualified candidate to lead our city forward” Parker said in an endorsement gathering held outside the City Hall on Bagby.
Mayor Parker noted that Turner had been instrumental to balancing five, tough statewide budgets. “He is tested and ready to pass responsible budgets for the City of Houston. He doesn’t rely on gimmicks – he does the hard work of bringing all stakeholders to the table, rolling up his sleeves and asking his colleagues to join him in surrendering hard positions to reach a result that is good for everyone,” she argued.
Mayor Parker had initially vowed to support a mayor who will continue to make economic opportunity available to all Houstonians, as well as continue to make Houston strong now and well into the future. “Join me in supporting Sylvester Turner for mayor by voting early between now and December 8 or by voting on Election Day — Saturday, December 12” the incumbent appealed.