Nigerian-born Kate Anolue, is the Mayor of the London Borough of Enfield, United Kingdom, who recently assumed office, presiding over a parliament of 63 councillors. In this report, SEYI GESINDE reflects on her activities and events that preceded her ascendancy into office.
Many Nigerians are really doing the country proud abroad. One of them is Kate Anolue, though Nigerian-born, today, she is reigning in the Queen’s land as the Mayor of the London Borough of Enfield, United Kingdom.
Anolue was last year officially sworn in to this prestigious office, having served as the Deputy Mayor the previous year. She took over from Councillor Christiana During, her former boss.
Councillor Anolue, a trained midwife, hails from Nanka in Anambra State.
It was after completing her course in nursing in Nigeria, she relocated to Edmonton, UK, precisely in 1972, after which she went for further training in nursing which qualified her as a midwife.
At her base in the United Kingdom, as a nurse and midwife, Anolue has been instrumental to successful delivery of babies as a midwife, especially at North Middlesex Hospital where she earlier worked.
Her desire is to be a role model to her people, most importantly, in her constituency at Enfield.
She was once quoted as saying that it was in recognition of her achievements at Enfield she was made a chieftain of the village.
According to her, “in my village, people recognise that I am doing something worthwhile. It is a very real honour and I’m thrilled. I am so proud of this.”
Speaking on her nursing and midwifery career, Anolue said she had spent all her time delivering babies.
“I have spent all this time delivering babies. I need to know that someone is looking after them. It is a big responsibility. It is a dignified and honourable thing to do and I can do it,” Anolue said.
Thus far, Anolue is rated as the second black female Mayor of Enfield. And the role being a mark of honour to its holders, she is expected to devote her time to civic functions, while also presiding over full council meetings, likewise acting as the returning officer during elections.
Her main focus as a mayor is to raise money for children’s charities and for young people.
These categories of people are mostly teenagers between ages 16 and 19 in Enfield, Barnet and Haringey.
She is also expected to contribute to a parent-led group helping disabled children called: ‘The Voice’.Also, those who suffer from sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia will benefit from the fundraising.
According to Enfield Council’s constitution, Anolue, as a mayor, will attend approximately 500 engagements, but attendance at an event depends on the mayor’s availability and if the mayor is unable to attend, the deputy mayor may be asked to attend (subject to his availability).
What matters most is that all engagements have to be checked against the mayor’s personal diary.
Then in its formation, the London Borough of Enfield is split into 21 areas called wards, each represented by three councillors.
Enfield has a total of 63 councillors. Elections are held every four years and there are currently 36 Labour members and 27 Conservatives. This means that Enfield is a Labour controlled council. The next council elections will take place in May 2014.
The role of a ward councillor is to represent constituents, to provide a voice for the community, improving services, debating policy and influencing key decisions on local issues. They also work with other organisations, including the police, schools and health bodies, to help improve all local services and the immediate environment.
In the UK, councillors do not just look after the needs of those who elected them, but have a duty to the whole community, a responsibility to champion the needs of all the constituents in their ward.
All councillors have to ensure they uphold high standards in the way they go about their duties.
In their declaration as borough councillors, Anolue and her colleagues have declared to serve the people selflessly.
According to the council’s vision and aims, the councillors declared what they stand for:
“As a council, we stand for fairness for all, growth and sustainability and strong communities. We are committed to tackling the inequalities present in the borough and to providing high quality services for all.
“In our role as local leaders, we will ensure that Enfield makes a strong recovery from the recession, and that growth, businesses and jobs are attracted to the area.
“We will invest in and safeguard our children and young people, building strong, empowered communities, where vulnerable people are protected, and residents feel safe, are healthy and take responsibility for their local environment. We will regenerate our most deprived areas and promote sustainability.”
The councillors said their vision is to make Enfield a better place to live and work, delivering fairness for all, growth and sustainability and strong communities, and with Anolue as a driving force, they are expected to leave Enfield better than they met it when their tenure expires in 2014.
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