Nigeria’s Abigail Katung Makes History as Leeds’ First African-Born Lord Mayor

By Olaide Ajibola, JKNMedia Reporter

MARKING A historic moment, Abigail Katung a Nigeria-born, has been named the 130th Lord Mayor of Leeds.

She emerges as the first individual of African descent to hold the position.

This revolutionary declaration was made following the Leeds City Council’s annual general meeting on Thursday night.

The official statement from the council reads, “Councillor Abigail Marshall Katung takes over from Al Garthwaite, becoming the city’s 130th Lord Mayor and the first person of African descent to hold the position.”

Her husband, Nigerian Senator Sunday Marshall Katung, will support her as the Lord Mayor Consort throughout her tenure.

Born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria, Katung moved to the UK in 2000 to pursue postgraduate studies in Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds.

The loss of her father in 1999, whom she describes as a “profound influence,” motivated her to honour his legacy by continuing her education abroad.

Transitioning from academia to professional life, Katung established her own business while raising twin sons, who are now university students.

Her career in public service includes various significant roles within the Leeds City Council, such as chairing the scrutiny boards for adult health, active lifestyles, infrastructure, investment, and inclusive growth.

She has also served as the lead member for faith and belief, chaired the hate crime strategic board, and championed food issues.

In 2019, Katung became the first African to be elected as a ward member of the Leeds City Council, representing the culturally diverse Little London and Woodhouse ward, where over 82 languages are spoken.

She was re-elected in 2023, solidifying her commitment to the community.

An athlete and coach, Katung is also a governor at Leeds City College.

She has chosen the Leeds Community Foundation as her charity for the year, supporting local charities that address critical societal issues like food poverty, health inequalities, mental health, and digital inclusion.

Expressing her gratitude, Katung highlighted her deep connection to Leeds and her dedication to inclusive representation.

“It is with great appreciation and humility that I embrace the privilege of becoming this great city’s 130th Lord Mayor. Leeds has been my cherished second home since 2000, and I am committed to ensuring all voices are heard and celebrated,” she stated.

In a congratulatory message on her historic appointment,, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar calls it a testament to the talent and excellence of Nigerians abroad.

In a post on, he wrote, “I congratulate Abigail Marshall Katung, the 130th Lord Mayor of Leeds City, the first person of African descent to hold this enviable position, and her husband, Senator Sunday Marshall Katung. May her tenure be impactful.”

Significance of the Mayor of Leeds and What It Means for Abigail

THIS POSITION carries significant ceremonial and symbolic weight, representing the city in various capacities both locally and internationally.

For Abigail Katung, becoming the first African Lord Mayor of Leeds is not just a historic milestone, reflecting her personal journey, dedication, and the broader strides toward inclusivity and diversity within the city’s governance; it also means that beyond her council duties, Abigail has just assumed a role that is largely ceremonial and diplomatic.

As the Lord Mayor, she will act as an ambassador for the city, engaging with citizens, welcoming visiting dignitaries, and representing Leeds on various formal occasions.

However, the position is non-political, and during her term, Abigail will not engage in policy or ward matters, focusing instead on fostering goodwill and civic pride.

The Lord Mayor’s term of office is annual, typically commencing on the third Thursday of May, although this can vary. During her tenure, Abigail will have the opportunity to highlight the city’s diversity, champion community initiatives, and promote Leeds on a broader stage.

Personal Significance and Broader Impact

For Abigail, becoming the first African Lord Mayor of Leeds is a deeply personal achievement and a significant milestone for the city. This role provides a platform for Abigail to inspire others, particularly within minority communities, showcasing that barriers can be overcome and diverse voices can be represented in leadership positions.

Her husband, Senator Sunday Marshall Katung, is honored to support her as the Lord Mayor’s Consort, reflecting the partnership and shared commitment to public service that characterizes their relationship. Together, they embody a narrative of perseverance, leadership, and the positive impact of diversity in public roles.

For the City

Abigail’s appointment as the Lord Mayor of Leeds is not only a personal triumph but also a landmark moment for the city. It underscores the importance of representation, inclusivity, and community engagement in governance. As the first African Lord Mayor, Abigail’s journey from Zaria to Leeds serves as an inspiration, illustrating the transformative power of education, dedication, and service. Her tenure is expected to bring to life, promises of fresh perspectives and renewed vigour to the role, reinforcing Leeds’ commitment to celebrating diversity and fostering a cohesive, vibrant community.

At JKNewsMedia, our dedication to delivering reliable news and insightful information to our cherished readers remains unwavering. Every day, we strive to provide you with top-notch content that informs and enlightens. By donating to JKNewsMedia, you directly contribute to our mission of delivering quality journalism that empowers and informs. Your support fuels our commitment to bringing you the latest updates and in-depth analysis. Let's continue to uphold the highest standards of journalism and serve our community with integrity and dedication. Thank you for being a part of the JKNewsMedia family and for your ongoing support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *