A Nigerian immigrant, Yemi Mobolade, has been elected the first Black mayor of Colorado in the United States of America.
In what local news outlets have described as “a stunning turn of events,” political veteran and former Secretary of State Wayne Williams conceded the Colorado Springs mayoral runoff to the Nigerian-born businessman not long after the polls closed Tuesday night.
“Wow,” said Mobolade as he took the stage with his family at the COS City Hub community center where his watch party was held. “This is our win. We are Colorado Springs. It’s a new day in our beloved city.”
“I think folks were, as indicated by their vote, were looking for something new as opposed to the tried and proven track record and that’s certainly their right to make that decision,” said, Williams, congratulating Mobolade “on an excellent campaign.”
Reacting to his victory, Mobolade said, “What I can speak to is the hunger in our city at this moment in time. The hunger is not one that is partisan, as clearly evident in this room. We have Democrats, Republicans and Independents all gathered.
“The hunger is for vision that transcends political party lines and the tiredness and the frustration in our city and in our nation is around (the) partisan divide and the fighting that happens and people are just ready for a new type of leadership that puts our quality of life ahead of party politics.”
He also noted the city charter calls for the mayor to be non-partisan, “I’m glad that I could restore the spirit of the law that we should be abiding by.”
Mobolade, who is a naturalized citizen and identifies as a political independent, is the co-founder of two local coffee shops and has also founded a church.
According to reports, in the public sector, Mobolade has been an advocate for small businesses with the city.
He has worked with the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corp., and he said he sees his new role as an opportunity to “restore public trust in local government.”
Mobolade called his preparation for the runoff his “longest job interview” to prove to the community that he is the leader for the job.
He promised to prioritize safety, growth, and the economy.
At his Tuesday night watch party, Williams said his early concession was not what he’d hoped for, but that it was necessary for the city to move forward.
“I believe that the future of Colorado Springs is still strong, and I’ve been honored to serve this city and state for the last 28 years,” Williams told the crowd. “I appreciate all the opportunities I’ve had to make this city and state and county a better place.”
Back at his watch party Tuesday night, Mobolade had a message for the skeptics: “To anyone who doubts that politics can be disrupted… tonight is for you.”