Former First Lady, late Mrs. Maryam Babangida has been commended for being a trail blazer for First Ladies in Nigeria. She was openly identified for her Better Life Programme for Rural Women, which served to awaken the consciousness of women. The commendation came from the First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari during an event organized to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Mrs. Babangida, on Wednesday, 30th January, 2020 at Abuja.
The event with the theme “Mothers of the Nation”: History Revived 2020, was well-attended by former First Ladies.
Mrs. Buhari commended Mrs. Babangida for initiating the National Women Commission as the first institutionalized machinery for women development in the country, which led to the concept of women in development becoming a permanent feature in development planning. She added that all first ladies that came after her initiated programmes in order to add value to the work of their husbands.
Speaking on the future assured programme, which she initiated, Mrs. Buhari said it focuses on the challenges of women as captured by the various development goals including health and well-being of women and children, empowerment of women and youth, equitable quality education for women and girls, as well as protection of women’s rights.
Mrs. Buhari expressed concerns on the reoccurring challenges of gender-based violence and drug abuse in the Nigerian society and called for concerted effort to find solutions to end the menace.
Mrs. Buhari commended Her Excellency, Ms. Aisha Babangida for upholding the ideals of her late mother whom she described as one of the champions of women right in Nigeria in modern time.
Her Excellency, Mrs. Uche Azikwe observed and commended the various initiatives and programs by the Nigerian First Lady and advised her to shun any negative criticism while she continue to be strong for the Nigerian Women.
Mrs. Azikwe recounting her experience, she remarked that as First Ladies, they were advisors and co-pilots to their husbands and not passengers, and this was the tradition till date.
The well attended event witnessed a video of goodwill message from former Military President Ibrahim Babangida and panel discussions featuring the former first ladies and gender specialists.
The First Lady was accompanied by the Wife of the Vice President, Her Excellency, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, Dr. Hajo Sani, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Administration & Women Affairs to the President, Her Excellency, Dr. Mairo Tanko Almakura, Special Assistant to the President on African Peace Keeping Mission, among others.