California Governor Appoints Another Nigerian-American



In the period he has served as California Governor, especially since 2011, Edmund Gerald ‘Pat’ Brown has done more to promote the cause of women and newer Americans than any governor of the Golden State.

Nigerian-Americans especially laud him for last year’s appointment of Bunmi Awoniyi, as the first African-American of Nigerian descent to sit on California’s bench. That landmark appointment has now been followed with the recent promotion of Kome Ajise as Chief Deputy Director of Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) for the Great State of California.

What a great accomplishment not only for Governor Brown, but also for minorities in California’s workforce. I have known Kome and his family for decades, and I once worked for Caltrans as well, and no one is more deserving of this appointment.

Kome, a B.Sc. graduate from the University of Benin, and MCRP graduate of the California State University-Fresno, is a flawless professional, who coordinated the public-private partnership for the Presidio Parkway project in San Francisco, which I also helped to promote at the onset.

Here is a recommendation Kome wrote for me last year, while I was still serving as Publicity Secretary of the Sacramento Association of Nigerians: “I have known Ben for many years as a consummate journalist and a good communicator. Ben served as the public information officer (PIO) at Caltrans with responsibilities including Solano County when the President’s ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’ (ARRA) was passed.

“Ben was charged with the public outreach on one of the very first ARRA stimulus projects implemented in California–the I-80 rehabilitation project in Solano County. He skillfully communicated the importance of the project for the economy during the great recession as well as helping the motoring public with dealing with construction impacts.

“Ben has been the publicity secretary of the Sacramento Association of Nigerians (SAN) for the last year and has markedly helped to advance the work of the organization. He continues to raise SAN’s profile by helping to coordinate community benefit events even beyond the Sacramento area.”

With this appointment, Kome has joined the list of Nigerians in the Diaspora who are doing the country proud.

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Ben Edokpayi

Ben Edokpayi is a strategic communications consultant with more than 25 years experience in the USA and Nigeria. His most recent corporate assignment was as Media Relations Officer with the California State Compensation Insurance Fund.

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