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Islington’s new young mayor tears up her speech

Lydia Banjo, 16, speaks from the heart about what the borough’s youth council could do to help young people

22 February, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

From left: Abubakar Finiin, Lydia Banjo and Arkan Ali Akiil. Photo: Keith Emmitt

LYDIA Banjo had prepared a speech in a bid to be Islington’s young mayor, but when she stood up she decided to go for something completely different.

The 16-year-old threw caution to the wind and spoke from the heart about what she felt the youth council could do to help young people in the borough.

The former City of London Academy Highgate Hill pupil spoke about making more young people aware of the youth council so that they could hold senior politicians to account.

She said: “I had written a speech about what I had planned for the youth council. Then on the day I decided to speak about what being young mayor really means and how we can make more young people aware of the council.”

Her speech hit the right chord with her fellow youth councillors and on Monday she was elected as Islington’s young mayor in a meeting room in Upper Street.

“I didn’t know whether I should clap or bow,” she said. “I really didn’t expect to win. I am very honoured to be given this opportunity.”

Arkan Ali Akiil was elected as deputy young mayor while Abubakar Finiin is the new member for Youth Parliament.

Lydia and Arkan will also be responsible for representing Islington’s Youth Council at regional young mayor meetings as well as civic events and award ceremonies.

Arkan said: “Being elected has made me feel like I can really make a difference in the borough and I am looking forward to tackling knife crime and Islamophobia.”

Youth councillors are responsible for making sure the opinions of young people in Islington are heard. Find out more about Islington Youth Council at


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