The Nigerian tipped to be British opposition leader

He dislikes being called Britain’s Obama. He downplays the shared features that prompt many to compare him with the first black president of the United States. Yet he vigorously pursues a career that he hopes could ultimately make him the first black prime minister of the United Kingdom. Chuka Umunna, the 33-year-old half-Nigerian half-British Shadow Business Secretary, is a rising star in British politics. Some of the country’s leading newspapers are already tipping him to be the next leader of the opposition Labour Party.

Earlier this month The Sunday Times ran a story and features on him, variously describing him as “clean-cut Labour star”, “popular” and “tasty”. It is worth noting that the paper is known more for running exclusive stories about under-hand deals than for promoting politicians. One of its reports in October 2010 ruined Amos Adamu’s FIFA career after “exposing” his alleged money-for-vote scam. But it is soft on Chuka Umunna, though with a caution. “He is young, handsome and tipped to be the next Labour leader, but in his past lie some youthful indiscretions and the mysterious death of his father,” it blares.

The “indiscretions” relate to the fact that he took marijuana when he was young; and the “mysterious death” had to do with his father’s demise in an unexplained car crash. Both were handled with sympathetic tones; and are among the experiences resembling Obama’s.