Babangida arrives, weeps
Minnaâ€” The remains of the former first lady of Nigeria, Mrs Maryam Babangida was finally laid to rest at their Hilltop castle in Minna at the wee hours of today, Wednesday.
Sympathizers in their hundreds defy all odds to witness the interment that was initially scheduled for 11am Wednesday.
Alhaji Abu Fari, Chief Imam of Minna, among the many leading Muslim Sheikhs, Â leadÂ funeral (prayer ) as she was finally buried near the familyâ€™s mosque.
MARYAM Babangida was not someone anyone could forget, not in a hurry, if ever. You either liked her or disliked her. You never had a choice of being indifferent to this woman, whoseÂ spell-bound beauty came in that dark hue that left few doubts that black is beautiful.
She was the one who made something out of the office of First Lady. She did not invent the office, but more than anyone else she made us still realise how under-rated women were in a society that paraded itself â€“ without any convincingÂ facts â€“ of being male driven.
Babangida arrives, weeps
By Wole Mosadomi
Minnaâ€”It was a gathering of the whoâ€™s who in the nationâ€™s business and political firmamentÂ at Minna, yesterday, to await the arrival of former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd),Â his son, Mohammed, and the body of the former First Lady, Mrs. Maryam Babangida, who died of ovarian cancer in a U.S hospital on Sunday
Babangida arrived in a chartered German aircraft marked CS-DPF at 5. 45 p.m. butÂ without the body of the deceased. The retired general sobbed profuselyÂ as he alighted from the plane and was unable to acknowledge greetings from sympathisers.
The Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umaru Farouk Bahago, received him at the tarmac but he could not respond to hisÂ greetings as he broke down in tears.
Babangida and the dignataries left the airport 15 minute later, in a convoy with other sympathisersÂ to his Hilltop home in Minna.
At the airport were, Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan,Aliyu Shinkafi, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Aliyu Babangida, Aliyu Shinkafi, Chief Tony Anenih,
Alhaji Aliyu Akilu, Alhaji Umaru Ndanusa, Maj-Gen Hamza Abdulahi (rtd), Justice Alfa Belgore, Brig.-Gen. Raji Rasaki (rtd), Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Mr Nduka Obaigbena, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed, Prof. Charles Soludo, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umaru Farouk Bahago.
Gen. Abubakar shed tears for Maryam
Meantime, the former Head of State, GeneralÂ Abdusalam Abubakar, also shed tears on arrival at the Babangidasâ€™Â residence for the first time to condole the family members over the demise of former first lady, Mrs. Maryam Babangida.
Gen. Abubakar, who is a neighbour to the Babangidas, had been in Niger Republic on an international peace mission trip for over 20 days and had to cut short the trip to pay his last respects to the deceased.
The former Head of State, who was driven straight to the Babangidasâ€™ residence was moody as he stepped into the compound.
As he alerted from his vehicle, and stepped into the compound he was greeted by other sympathisers and before walking into the sitting room, tears rolled down his cheeks as he shook his head in total disbelief to the shocking death of Maryam.
After condoling with the family, he refused to grant interview to newsmen who waitedÂ for his reaction over the death of the deceased, saying, â€œI will be back; I will see you people later.â€
However, Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, has described the late Maryam as a mother and a role model to everybody, especially the womenfolk
Answering questions from newsmen at the Babangidasâ€™ residence, the governor, who is an in-law to the family having married Aisha, the first daughter of the deceased said, â€œshe was a mother to us, it is a pity that she died when the nation needed her services most.â€
He prayed God to grant her eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Similarly, Minister of Interior, Alhaji Mustapha Shetima, who was a minister underÂ Gen. Babangidaâ€™s regime, described the former first lady as â€œvery simple, straight-forward and always ready to assist,â€™â€˜ adding that she was an example for all women to emulate.
Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, Alhaji Musa Maâ€™ali, described the death of the former first lady as a great loss not only to Niger State but indeed, to the country.
He noted that late Maryam contributed her quota to the development of the country and state even after her husband had left office as military president, adding that, â€œfor this reason, the state legislators will take a decision on how to immortalise her, especially because of her regular advice to us.â€