Nigerian-British Politician Abigail Marshall Katung Sworn In as First African Lord Mayor of Leeds

In a historic moment for both the United Kingdom and Nigeria, Mrs. Abigail Marshall Katung has been officially sworn in as the first African Lord Mayor of Leeds. She assumes the role from Al Garthwaite, becoming the city’s 130th Lord Mayor and marking a significant milestone as the first person of African descent to hold this prestigious position.

Abigail Marshall Katung, wife of Senator Sunday Marshall Katung representing Kaduna South Senatorial District, has expressed her deep connection to Leeds, a city she has called her cherished second home since her arrival in 2000. Born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, Mrs. Marshall Katung came to the UK to pursue her studies at the University of Leeds. Her journey from an international student to a distinguished public servant exemplifies the rich contributions of the African diaspora to British society.

Beyond her academic pursuits, Mrs. Marshall Katung has established herself as an athletics coach and was recently appointed Governor of Leeds City College in January 2024. Her election as Lord Mayor not only signifies a personal achievement but also represents a landmark for the African community in Leeds. She is the first elected councilor from Africa to hold this council position and the second black person after Eileen Taylor to become Lord Mayor of Leeds.

Reflecting on her historic appointment, Mrs. Marshall Katung highlighted the profound significance of her new role for foreign students in the UK and the broader African continent. “It was not just the city where I lived, studied and worked, it’s where I chose to raise my children and become a public servant,” she said. “My appointment as Lord Mayor has been widely celebrated in the city’s African community and is a shining example of the enormous contribution international students make to UK society.”

As the new Lord Mayor, Mrs. Marshall Katung has committed herself to inclusive and representative governance. She emphasized her dedication to ensuring that the voices from all areas of the city are heard and that every triumph within the community is recognized and celebrated. Her leadership promises to foster greater unity and recognition of the diverse contributions that enrich Leeds.

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