Former First Lady and the founder of the Better Life for Rural Women, late Mrs Maryam Babangida, has been described as a patriot and friend of the less privileged.
In a tribute to the late Mrs Babangida, Colonel John Madaki (rtd), the former Governor of Katsina State and the last Guard Commander of Brigade of Guards to serve General Ibrahim Babangida before he stepped aside in 1993, also revealed another side of her that is unknown to most people â€” she was General Babangidaâ€™s greatest critic.
â€œUnknown to many Nigerians, the late Maryam Babangida would often engage the husband in government and outside the government on intellectual and academic discussions on the state of the nation,â€ Madaki said, while speaking with reporters on the life and times of the former First Lady.
â€œShe was not only his strong pillar of support in every way possible, but a critic who made immense contributions to the development of the rural womenfolk and restored pride to the entire Nigerian womanhood.
â€œShe will be sorely missed, not just by her husband and immediate family, but by millions and generations of women whose life she so positively impacted.â€
Madaki, who is also a close friend of the Babangida’s family, added that â€œMrs. Babangida would always make case for the womenfolk in the country, while making them see themselves as the mothers of the nation who would always be there while the husbands are not around.â€
He described her Better Life for Rural Women project as one of the successful projects aimed at liberating Nigerian women from the shackles of poverty and ignorance.
â€œThrough her pet project, many women in this country were empowered to achieve and reach for their goals. The village women who were often looked down upon were empowered to actualise their dreams,â€ Madaki said.
He said the greatest tribute Nigerians can pay to the departed First Lady is to immortalise her name and works so that generations yet unborn would have an â€œabiding appreciationâ€ of her contributions to the development of the Nigerian nation.