Agenda item

To appoint a Councillor of the Borough to be Deputy Mayor

An intimation will be received from the incoming Mayor regarding the appointment of a Councillor of the Borough to be Deputy Mayor, in accordance with Standing Order 27(b).


Councillor Lia Colacicco appointed as Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Brent for the 2019/20 Municipal Year.


Councillor Ezeajughi, as newly elected Mayor thanked Members for his nomination and appointment as Mayor.  He then announced that he had appointed Councillor Lia Colacicco as Deputy Mayor for the 2019/2020 municipal year.


Councillor Colacicco and her consort Mr Tom Evans then moved to the dais.  The Mayor’s robe and chain of office were then passed from Councillor Mahmood to Councillor Ezeajughi and the Mayoress’ badge from Mrs Arshad to Mrs Ezeajughi.  Councillor Mahmood was presented with the past Mayor’s badge and ribbon and Mrs Arshad was presented with the past Mayoress’ badge.


Councillor Ezeajughi, as newly elected Mayor, then formally returned thanks for his appointment and to everyone for attending the ceremony including the following as his special guests:


·                Deputy Lieutenant Mei Sim Lei

·                First Lady of Anambra State, Dr Mrs Ebere Obiano

·                His Excellency Ambassador George Oguntande, Nigerian High Commissioner (represented by Special Advisor Minister Oludare E. Folowosele


He began by stating what a huge honour and privilege it had been to have been nominated and elected to serve as Mayor.  He thanked everyone for expressing their trust, confidence and faith in his ability to carry out the role, recognising the significant achievements of previous Mayors.


As background to his appointment, Councillor Ezeajughi highlighted his origins in Nigeria with him coming to the UK in 2004 and being proud to call Wembley and Brent his home and having represented Stonebridge ward from 2014.


In terms of his family, he highlighted that he had been happily married to Ijeoma for 15 years and had been blessed with 2 sons and 2 daughters whom he thanked for their support and was pleased had been able to join him for the ceremony.


The Mayor advised that his interest in politics had started at a young age following his late father (Sir Simeon Okeke Ezeajughi) having become the Deputy Chairman of Orumba North local government area in Anambra State after his career in education as a Head Teacher and Inspector of Schools.  He highlighted how attending meetings with his father had inspired him to take an interest in local grassroots politics and had led to his interest and ambition to stand for various positions both within Nigeria and then the UK for which, he felt, his father would have been very proud.


The Mayor advised that he was delighted to have been joined by so many colleagues, friends and family from all over the UK and also Nigerian whom he thanked for their support.  He pointed out that he was looking forward to working with all Members of the Council over the next year and also took the opportunity to pay tribute to his predecessor Councillor Mahmood for his hard work in flying the flag for the Borough and way he had conducted himself so diligently and responsibly during his time as Mayor.  He was especially grateful for the generosity and support shown by Councillor Mahmood during the period of transition.  He also acknowledged and thanked the former Mayoress, Mrs Arshad, and Councillor Mahmood’s family for their excellent work and support they had provided to Councillor Mahmood as Mayor and in his fundraising activities.  He also took the opportunity to specifically thank Councillors M Butt and McLennan for his nomination as Mayor.


The Mayor then moved on to thank Councillor Colacicco for accepting the position as Deputy Mayor and advised that he was looking forward to working closely with her to continue delivering positive outcomes for local communities and stakeholders across Brent.  The opportunity was also taken to thank the Chief Executive her management team and the Mayor’s Office for their ongoing support, with the Mayor advising that he would endeavour to continue the hard work of his predecessors and to capitalise on the strengths, attributes and talents of his colleagues in order to support the Council’s ongoing vision, recognising the value of teamwork in all that he did and hoped to achieve.


On this basis, the Mayor then announced that he would be supporting the following charities in his role during the forthcoming year and looked forward to Members support in his fundraising efforts which would assist some of the most vulnerable in society and he hoped help to build a stronger community where no one suffered alone:


·                Sickle Cell Society – a registered charity set up to support and represent people affected by sickle cell disorder and to improve their overall quality of life.  He advised it was an honour to be able to select this particular organisation given that his close friend and former councillor TayoOladapo had passed away in January 2016 as a result of the disease.  In addition, he was pleased to announce that the Sickle Cell Society would also be working in collaborative partnership during his term of office with the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ)Project in Anambra State, Nigeria, spearheaded by Her Excellency Dr Mrs Ebere Obiano.

·                The Jason Roberts Foundation (representing the anti-knife and gun crime charity) – the Foundation was established in 2007 by Jason Roberts (a former professional footballer) in order to underpin his belief in equal opportunities, rights and representation of individuals regardless of background or circumstances.  Since then, he pointed out that the work of the Foundation had broadened to provide a support programme including mentoring, life skills, education and training projects within its wider sports activities and had worked with young people at risk of offending, those excluded from school or struggling in the school curriculum, and young people with physical and learning difficulties.  The organisation also aimed to create a safe haven to engage with children at an early stage to prevent them pursuing crime, which he felt was particularly relevant given the impact of crime on the lives of so many young people across the country.


Finally, the Mayor outlined his intention to use the office of Mayor as a means of building on the success already achieved in uniting communities across a borough as diverse as Brent and for whom he was proud to have been elected to represent as First Citizen.


He also highlighted how much he was looking forward to hosting Brent’s first ever Windrush Gala celebrations on 22 June 2019 and to Brent officially becoming the London Borough of Culture from January 2020.  He was particularly excited to be able to lead the Borough in celebrating the programme of events and projects which had been focussed on Brent’s heritage and people, highlighting all that was special, intriguing and ground-breaking in Brent.


He concluded by looking forward to the hard work ahead with the belief that being able to utilise the passion, dedication and commitment of all those around him and support of his family it would be possible to achieve excellent results for local communities across Brent.


He ended his vote of thanks with the following thought, it had been nearly 25 years to the day that Nelson Mandela had been inaugurated as South Africa’s first black President.  Highlighting how much of an inspiration his inauguration had been, he finished by referring to the following quote from Nelson Mandela, which he advised he would seek to use as inspiration during his year in office:


“There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.”