Nigerian-born US ex-soldier, Yinka Faleti is running for the Missouri Secretary of State seat.
Faleti is running on the platform of the Democratic party against Jay Ashcroft, the Republican incumbent. The Missouri Democratic Party announced him as its nominee in April.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Faleti arrived in the United States at the age of seven with his family, moving from New York, Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, and finally to Texas.
Faleti attended and graduated from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, after which he studied human factors engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1998.
According to information on his website, Faleti’s family migrated to the US in search of greener pasture.
“Yinka’s childhood was one steeped in poverty. It wasn’t uncommon for him to eat cereal mixed with water when his family couldn’t afford milk.
“Yinka’s big break came through education,” his profile reads.
Faleti served in the US army as a combat arms officer in tank units from 1998 to 2004. He attained the rank of captain after two deployments overseas to Kuwait as a part of Operation Desert Spring prior to 9/11 and Operation Enduring Freedom in response to 9/11.
After his career in the army, Faleti moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended law school at Washington University.
The 44-year-old father of four then practiced as an attorney at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner and subsequently as a state prosecutor at the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office in 2011.
“Throughout his professional career, Yinka has continually worked to get further upstream. Yinka is running to increase opportunities to vote, reduce barriers to voter participation and protect and honor our ballot initiative process,” his profile reads.
Faleti said he is running for office “to increase opportunities to vote, reduce barriers to voter participation, protect and honor our ballot initiative process.”
He also said he is “energized for the fight ahead and ready to bring to bear my leadership experiences in and since the Army to the office for all Missourians.”
If elected, Faleti would be the first African-American person to hold the office in Missouri.