Maryam! No Better Life For Rural Women Still!

No Comments » December 28th, 2009 posted by // Categories: General Articles



“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;

The evil that men do lives after them

The good is oft interred with their bones

So let it be with Caesar…”

William Shakespeare, one of the world’s brightest minds, crafty instilled the above striking words into the mouth of one of his characters, Marc Antony during Caesar’s funeral. This expression, like so many other Shakespearean expressions, no doubt, had become a point of sober reflection for humanity. Vocal orations of the deceased, unfortunately, especially of prominent people, had been known to be full of twisted lies and open-secret deceptions. When an outstanding figure dies, even those that ought to be stripped of human honors, there is always this unnecessary adulations, character elevations and praises, uncalled for eulogies, songs and speeches that brims with hypocrisies. It is these hypocrisies of the hypocrites, especially during funerals ceremonies, that often rouses up my utmost credence to the Shakespearean quotes: ‘I come to bury…not to praise…’

Maryam Babangida is dead, so came the news. Of course, this was regrettable. There were so many beautifully calligraphed statements and comments exploding from all angles, especially from well known dignitaries and news organizations. They lauded the saintliness of the Delta-born woman as the embodiment of the ’ empowerment of the Nigerian women’; they praised her as a role model in the ‘transformation of the office of the first lady’(even though the clarity of this is ambiguous). There were some who believed her to be ‘women developer’ and a great ‘mother of the nation’. Obviously, no sane person denies that these things are factual, but limitedly, applied only to those who are the cronies, sycophants and beneficiaries of Babangida’s dictatorial megalomaniac. Yes, to these people Maryam Babangida was everything they dreamed of.

The image of Mrs. Babangida that I knew was that of a woman who was, in every imaginable possibility, like the rest of the Nigerian first ladies, highly obsessed with wealth and its fair or fowl accumulations. With her dictatorial husband as the head of States and the commander in chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, she got the fill of the wealth and protection she might have craved but might have not deserved. Her husband, a dictator cannot have looted his share of the Nigerian wealth if not to benefit Maryam and her Kids.

Maryam loved the media just as the media loved her. She knew how to manipulate them for her fame and popularity. Her extravagant display of the family’s stolen wealth was seen in her expensive dresses and social appearances. She wore lots of high-priced jewelries that tended to enslaved almost her ten fingers-an extravagant trait that subsequent first ladies such as Mariam Abacha (she too made love with high-priced Jewries) and Stella Obasanjo would later copy. Public appearances were often a show-off arrogance and material affluence to the impoverished Nigerian women who they claim to liberate. I an’t fooled! In social functions, she was often accompanied by cronies of high class women mostly from the political elite.

I do not think that the program “Better Life For Rural Women” deserved much credibility. It was merely a program which she used as a means of gaining political and social relevant as is often common with the Nigerian first ladies. How else would she have been of national significant. Of course, she created an idol of herself in the Nigerian national scenery. But it was an idol based on her ambition for popular acceptance than of sincere concern for Nigeria populace, especially the womenfolk. Maryam never stood for, neither is she committed to any ideology, say human freedom, justice, truth, liberation, equal opportunity for all humanity, struggle against tyranny and oppression. She is never a fighter against corruption. Is she really for Nigerian rural women? She said she was.

As brilliant as she was she was very well aware of the fact that her husband was a dictator. In order to win the sympathy of Nigerians, she played the card-of-a-caring-national-adjudicator for rural women. ’Better Life For Rural Women is a mere sham orchestrated to look like altruism. It never proceeded beyond the frenzy of the uncritical medias and their fanatic exaltations of her regular handouts of cloths and food items to few women in the rural area in the spotlight of cameras. How many Nigerian women were known to have benefited from the program Better Life for Rural Women–a mere chasm of wastefulness of Nigeria’s resources.

When the Nigerian history books are written, the notion “Better life for Rural Women will forever be associated with Maryam Babangida” but still, so many years since the program, there is still no better life for rural women in Nigerian. Illiteracy and poverty, sickness and disease, superstition and primitivism, abuse and neglect, lack of social amenities and basic healthcare, hard labor and high rate of death are still ravaging the Nigerian rural woman.

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