A Nigerian IT entrepreneur, Toni Iwobi, has become the first black senator in the Italy.
He was elected in the industrial city of Brescia in northern Italy after having spent 38 years in Italy.
The 62-year-old Iwobi of Spirano in Lombardy made the declarations “with great emotion” on his Facebook page on Tuesday that he had been elected to the senate.
“Friends, it is with great emotion that I inform you that I was elected senator of the Republic!”
“After over 25 years of battles in the great family of the league, it is about to start another great adventure!
My thanks go to Matteo Salvini, a great leader who led the league to become the first Centre-Centre force of the country!
“I have to thank then my National Secretary Paolo Grimoldi, my now former provincial secretary and new Congressman Daniele Belotti, the whole team of the department for work done over these years, the great league militants and all Facebook friends for their support.
“I can’t forget my family, without them I wouldn’t have come here today because they never stopped supporting me and being close to me!
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m ready, friends!”
Toni Iwobi, a member of the anti-migrant League, had earlier emerged a town councillor in 1995 in Spirano and has been the League party’s spokesman on migration since 2014
Nigerian-born Toni Iwobi is the party’s immigration and security chief that speaks regularly on Italian TV. He follows the party line that includes proposals to make it easier to deport migrants and withdraw benefits from those who break rules.
The League program includes proposals to make it easier to deport migrants, to use economic incentives for countries to take back their nationals from Italy and to refuse to take in some migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.
Iwobi is the first black member of the upper house of parliament, but there have been two black members of the lower Chamber of Deputies: Jean-Leonard Touadi and Cecile Kyenge — both of the center-left PD party. Kyenge served as minister of integration in the previous government.
Iwobi used the slogan #StopInvasione (“Stop Invasion”) during his campaign and claims the League would help people “in their own home” rather than in Italy.
“Discrimination begins when there are no rules and the state… lets anyone in. Illegality leads directly to violence and a racist response,” Iwobi said in January. “The League supports healthy and controlled immigration which can act as a bulwark against racism.”
Iwobi has been encouraged by Salvini, who said he thought the new senator would “do more for legal immigrants in one month than Kyenge did in her entire life,” in reference to the former PD integration minister.
The League came third overall, behind the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the PD in Sunday’s election with about 17 percent of the vote.
League leader Matteo Salvini said “We have the right and duty to govern,” but he needs the support of former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and two other right wing parties to get near the 40 percent threshold to form a government.
The party wants Italy to renegotiate the agreements with the EU to house migrants, to withdraw benefits for people who break the rules or commit a crime and to include a test for children of immigrants applying for citizenship.