Meet Abigail Marshall Katung: A Trailblazing Leader

Early Life and Education

Born on December 7, 1975, in North Central State (now Kaduna State), Nigeria, Abigail Wok Haruna-Musa, now known as Abigail Marshall Katung, has emerged as a prominent Nigerian-British political figure. Abigail's journey from Nigeria to the United Kingdom is marked by her academic pursuits and significant contributions to public service. She moved to the UK to study at the University of Leeds, a decision that would shape her future in profound ways.

Career and Achievements

Abigail's career is characterized by her relentless commitment to community service and social justice. In 2008, she founded the David Oluwale Memorial Association (DOMA), honoring the memory of David Oluwale, a Nigerian migrant who tragically drowned in the River Aire in 1969 due to police misconduct. This association underscores Abigail's dedication to human rights and justice, as the prosecution of the officers responsible for Oluwale's death marked a historic moment—the first successful prosecution of state officials for the death of a black person in the UK.

Her political journey began in earnest when she was elected as the Leeds City Councillor for Little London and Woodhouse Ward in May 2019. Abigail's victory was a milestone, reflecting her ability to resonate with and serve her community effectively. She was re-elected in May 2023, further solidifying her influence and commitment to her constituents.

In her role as a councillor, Abigail has been a staunch advocate for the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. She served as a lead member for BAME initiatives and was a BAME staff network member champion in Leeds, showcasing her dedication to diversity and inclusion.

Her leadership extended to various roles, including co-chairing Leeds City Council's official 'Food Champion' initiative alongside Gareth Batty, CEO of FareShare Yorkshire, in 2022. This initiative highlighted her commitment to addressing food insecurity and promoting community well-being.

Historic Milestones

Abigail's historic ascent continued when she was elected as the Lord Mayor of Leeds in January 2024, making her the first elected African to hold this prestigious position. Her tenure as Lord Mayor, succeeding Al Garthwaite, is set for the 2024/2025 term. This achievement not only marks a personal victory for Abigail but also stands as a testament to the contributions of African immigrants and international students to UK society.

Personal Life

Abigail is married to Sunday Marshall Katung, a Nigerian lawyer and senator representing the Kaduna South senatorial district. The couple is blessed with twin sons, and Abigail has chosen to raise her family in Leeds, a city she describes as her "cherished second home." Her decision to bring up her children in Leeds underscores her deep connection to the city and its community.

Legacy and Vision

As the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Abigail Marshall Katung has pledged to work tirelessly to ensure that all voices in the city are heard and that every achievement is celebrated. Her leadership is a shining example of the impact that international students and immigrants can have on their adopted communities.

Abigail's journey from Nigeria to becoming the Lord Mayor of Leeds is a remarkable story of resilience, dedication, and service. Her contributions to social justice, community welfare, and public service continue to inspire many, and her legacy as a trailblazing leader is firmly established.