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Nigerian woman makes history and emerges as Leeds’ first African mayor

A Nigerian woman, Abigail Katung, has been announced as the 130th mayor of the city of Leeds in England, becoming the first person of African descent to hold the position.

The announcement was made following Leeds City Council’s annual general meeting on Thursday night, as confirmed by a statement on the council’s website.

The statement read: “Taking over Al Garthwaite’s position, Councilor Abigail Marshall Katung becomes the city’s 130th mayor and the first person of African descent to hold the position.

“Councilwoman Marshall Katung will be supported by her husband, Nigerian Senator and Mayor Consort, Senator Sunday Marshall Katung, during her tenure as Mayor.”

The statement further revealed that Katung was born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, and came to the United Kingdom to study at the University of Leeds as a postgraduate student in the Department of Politics and International Studies in 2000.

He added: “Following the passing of his father in 1999, whom he attributes as a ‘profound influence’ on his life, and instilling in him a spirit of ‘education for service’, Councilor Marshall Katung decided to honor his legacy and study in the Kingdom United.

“In her transition from student to professional life, Councilor Marshall Katung established her own business while embracing the joys and responsibilities of motherhood to her twin children, who are now pursuing their own university studies.”

Katung was also reported to have held several roles within Leeds City Council, including “chairing the Adult Health and Active Lifestyles Oversight Board and the Infrastructure, Investment and Growth Oversight Board.” inclusive”.

“She was the lead member for faith and belief, chaired the strategic board on hate crime and higher education for 14 to 19 years, and is a food advocate.

“Breaking barriers, Councilor Marshall Katung became the first African to become a ward member of Leeds City Council when, in 2019, she was elected to represent the Little London and Woodhouse ward in the city centre. This is one of the most culturally diverse districts in Leeds, where more than 82 languages ​​are spoken. She was subsequently re-elected in the 2023 elections.”

As part of the tradition, Katung, who is said to be an avid athlete and coach and serves as a governor at Leeds City College, has chosen a charity to champion during her tenure.

“Councillor Marshall Katung has chosen the Leeds Community Foundation. “She chose this charity because of its extensive support of small local charities that address critical social inequalities, such as food poverty, health inequalities, mental health and digital inclusion – all causes close to her heart,” it reads. the notice.

Expressing her gratitude for her appointment, Katung emphasized her deep connection to Leeds and her determination to ensure all voices are heard and celebrated during her tenure as Mayor.

She was quoted as saying: “It is with great appreciation and humility that I accept the privilege of becoming the 130th mayor of this great city. Since arriving in Leeds in 2000, the city has quickly become my beloved second home. It was not just the city where I lived, studied and worked, it is where I chose to raise my children and become a public servant.

“My appointment as mayor has been widely celebrated in the city’s African community and is a shining example of the enormous contribution that international students make to UK society. As Mayor of Leeds, I am committed to working tirelessly to ensure that voices from all areas of the city are heard and that every win is recognized and celebrated.”

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also congratulated the new Leeds Mayor on her appointment, saying her promotion is “a testimony that Nigeria is not short of talents and excels wherever they are found.”

In a post on Katung, senator representing Kaduna South Senatorial District. May his mandate have an impact.”

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