If not for bad leadership,tribal and religious sentiments,endemic corruption, lack of rule of law , Nigeria would have been a great Nation, a force to be reckoned with in the comity of civilized Nations. Nigerians are blessed and talented but the country is not a good environment to nurture and develop talents & creativity. Hence,they keep excelling once they are out of the country. The subject matter in this article is: Will Jawando, an attorney,Jawando is a Nigerian council member in Montgomery County Council in the United States that is promoting the African culture – has proudly rocked a West African traditional attire popularly called Agbada to his inauguration. The young Nigerian-born US based politician wore an Agbada to his swearing-in ceremony in a bid to promote the African culture.“We all come from different culture, it’s really important that we respect our differences even if those differences come in ways we don’t anticipate or even understand.“So by wearing this agbada, this traditional West African clothing in a public setting to take the public oath of office, it’s part of a bigger and public dialogue that I think it’s needed if we are to understand and respect our differences and move forward.” 

Will, who is born to a Nigerian father and a white Kansan mother,is an activist, and community leader with a lifelong dedication to public service. His career has been crafted by a unique combination of grit,compassion, and integrity. Born in Silver Spring, Will’s bi racial identity gave him an appreciation for the varied experiences life in America can bring. Raised in a low-income household, he was determined to secure a successful future for himself through the pathway of education. 

When he was a teenager, tragedy struck when one of his best friends was killed in a senseless act of gun violence. The aftermath of this ordeal would be the catalyst that would solidify Will’s commitment to becoming an agent of change through public service. With unwavering dedication, he earned a B.A. in Sociology from Catholic University of America and completed his J.D. from their prestigious Columbus School of Law. While attending Catholic University, he started the first NAACP chapter on their campus – a move that would chart the course for his burgeoning career in law and politics.

Described as “the progressive leader we need” by revered civil rights activist and Congressman, John Lewis, Will has worked with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Sherrod Brown, and then-Senator Barrack Obama. During the 8-year Obama Administration, Will had the honour of serving as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, followed by a position as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He has worked tirelessly to ensure a quality education, opportunities for prosperity and guaranteed civil rights are available to every American. 

Will continued his dedication to public service in Montgomery County and in 2014, he founded Our Voices Matter-Maryland, a social justice non-profit that works with all communities to develop broader civic engagement, grassroots activism and leadership. In 2017, he spearheaded Summer R.I.S.E., a summer job shadowing program in partnership with Work source Montgomery, state and county government, and Montgomery County Public Schools that placed over 400 high school students in enriching career experiences. Will is also a co-founder of the African Immigrant Caucus (AIC) whose mission is to increase civic engagement, economic development and political participation of Africans in the diaspora, in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. 

It’s Will’s family and friends that keep him grounded and focused on what’s most important in life. A devoted husband and father of four beautiful children, his family is his greatest achievement. He and his wife Michele work together to create a loving and safe environment for their children, and won’t rest until Americans everywhere can have the same.

Author: Bunmi Johnson

New York, USA