Let me cite, somewhat copiously, from the letter I had addressed to the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, which provides some background to this whole development:
“I write to inquire about opportunities which might be available for travel to the United States in order to observe the upcoming elections. As you know, I am the first Nigerian woman to have been a candidate in our presidential elections, having contested in 2015 as the presidential candidate of KOWA Party. My experiences during the campaign period and since the elections have given me greater insight into the challenges faced by women running for elective office, but at the same time I have become more keenly aware of the need for more women to participate in the political leadership of the country. The benefits that accrue to societies with a higher percentage of women participating in governance have been well documented, and my desire is that Nigeria will soon be numbered among them."
My group of five Nigerian women, coming from different regions of the country and different political parties, have been truly enriched through the various activities we have participated in. We have gained deeper insight into the role that women have played and continue to play in American society (for example, from the visits to the Susan B. Anthony House, the Office of the Mayor of Rochester, and the New Hampshire State House), and greatly appreciated the opportunity we had of interacting with students in a college and a high school. We equally enjoyed some wonderful home hospitality. We are deeply grateful to the State Department and, indeed, all the American people for their generosity, and sincerely appreciate the great professional work done by the people in the various organizations involved in the planning and execution of our program. We return home in the hope that our country too would be able to extend such hospitality to nationals of other countries, including the United States, to promote friendship and greater understanding in our world.
Prof. Remi Sonaiya, Politician, KOWA Party
With a background in education, Professor Oluremi Sonaiya more recently joined politics as a member and leader of the KOWA Party. Through her leadership role in the Party and her participation in Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections, she has made the promotion of and support for women’s political participation a major focus of her work. Professor Sonaiya participated in the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program and was hosted by Rochester Global Connections from November 2-6, 2016 to meet with professional counterparts and learn about women in politics. Learn more about Remi Sanaiya here.