24 Years After Exile Mrs. Tinubu Immortalises Maryam Abacha

Abuja, Aug. 5, 2023 (NAN) The First Lady, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, has renamed the main auditorium of Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development after Dr Maryam Abacha.

Maryam is the wife of late Gen. Sani Abacha, former military Head of State who incidentally forced Mrs Tinubu and her husband, President Bola Tinubu to seek exile abroad while he ruled the country with an iron grip from 1993 to 1998.

The hall, formerly known as African Peace Mission Hall, was on Saturday unveiled by the first lady and renamed after Maryam in recognition of her “strong advocacy for peace across the African continent”.

In her speech, Mrs Tinubu said the occasion was a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts toward strengthening connections that would solidify progress and unity among women.

She described Mrs Abacha as “a woman of remarkable character and unyielding dedication to the advancement of the Africa continent.


“Her advocacy led to the establishment of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs with a woman appointed as cabinet minister.

“This feat was replicated in various states which expanded the visibility of Nigerian women.

“Recently, during the renaming of this centre, I emphasised the need for  women to bridge gaps, exhibit exemplary conduct and focus beyond our differences as the unity among us is more important.

“This event is significant as it forms a major step toward establishing a lasting legacy of peace within our nation.

“In our journey toward harmony and prosperity, it is essential we recognise and pay tribute to those individuals who played pivotal roles in advancing peace and stability.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first lady’s submission resonated in the thoughts of other speakers like the Director-General of the centre, Mrs Asabe Bashire, and the Permanent Secretary in the women affairs ministry, Mrs Monilola Udoh.

The duo celebrated the emerging power of women in the cause of national reconstruction.

In her speech, Mrs Maryam Abacha prayed for the country and the present administration led by President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima, and wished them success.

She acknowledged that most of the women in power were well educated and advised them to seize the opportunity to impact the nation.

She said that most wives of military  state administrators were not educated during her time as first lady.

Mrs Maryam Abacha expressed optimism that Mrs Tinubu would perform better due to the calibre of people around her.

She advised that women should be encouraged to become useful and relevant to boost national growth.

“I want to plead with you all; no woman should be left behind in responsibilities.

“I am glad that I am party to the establishment of this centre and I thank the first lady and the centre for finding me worthy to put my name in an edifice like this.

“ I will get some of our interviews and activities together and document them for history and to encourage you to become better than us because during our time, most of us were not graduates.

“We tried our best and left the rest, but now we have those who are well educated and enlightened who will take Nigerians to the best of places for women.”

NAN recalls that before the gesture on Mrs Abacha, that on July 18, Mrs Tinubu renamed the centre after Mrs Maryam Babangida, the late wife of former military head of state, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

NAN reports that Mrs Abacha held sway as the first lady from 1993 to 1998 and was credited with pushing the frontiers of peace and advocacy on the continent.

Mrs Abacha used the platform of African First Ladies Peace Mission to upgrade and impact many women through her pet-project, the Family Support Programme. (NAN)

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