The First lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu on Tuesday in Abuja officially immortalised the late Mrs Maryam Babangida by renaming the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD) after her.
Mrs Tinubu who commissioned the former National Women Development Centre as Maryam Babangida National Centre also unveiled her First Lady’s portrait and a compendium of activities of First Lady and Wives of Governors of Nigeria 2015-2023.
She said the sterling contribution of the late Maryam on the lives of ordinary Nigerians and described her as a matriarch who has impacted women, especially those in rural areas and in Africa as a whole.
She said, “Her Excellency the late Maryam was an icon who redefined the scope of women’s participation in national development and through her pet programme Better Life for Rural dwellers touched ordinary lives especially at the rural areas. I am happy that I was part of the ninth National Assembly Senate when the bill for the renaming of the centre was passed and assented into law.”
The Vice President’s wife, Hajia Nana Shettima, two sons of the late Maryam, Mohammed and Amino Babangida, The Director General of the centre, Dr Asabe Bashir, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Monilola Udoh were among the dignitaries that graced the occasion.
Udoh, said the bill for the change of name was passed by the Senate on March 29, 2023, while the House of Representatives passed the same on April 5, 2023.
According to her, the renaming is in line with the amendment of the National Centre for Women Development Act, Cap. N15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, to enhance the functions of the centre.
She said: “The government under the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, approved the bill by assenting to it in May 2023. By this information, we want our esteemed partners, the general public and indeed the media personnel to take note of the changes and help publicise it to the nooks and crannies of Nigeria and even beyond.”
Asabe Vilita-Bashir, the Director-General of the centre, noted the huge contribution of the late first lady, especially her “Better life for Rural Women” project, which impacted the lives of women nationwide.
“Maryam Babangida is someone that Nigerian women will not forget her and we are doing this to encourage other women leaders to emulate her virtues, commitment and support to women. This will serve as an inspiration to all women in leadership positions to do more for Nigerian women and will be recorded by history,” she said.
Moji Makanjuola, the Chairman, Implementing Committee for Infrastructure and Renaming of the centre, said: “Renaming of the centre is significant for women. There is something that should remind us about yesterday to enable us to do our today better. We need to start putting history into perspective, if we don’t do that, we will lose sight of who we are as a people, country, nation and tribe. What has been achieved here is that collectively, Nigerian women spoke with one voice that we want a change that will give us a focus on what we are doing as women in development. I pray that the centre expands beyond where we are today and it will be a citadel of hope for the Nigerian women and indeed black women around the world.”
Also, Hajiya Aliyu, a beneficiary of the late Maryam Babangida’s programme, “Better life for Rural Women”, said the renaming of the centre was apt in recognition of its impacts on the lives of Nigerian women.
“This will remind people and other first ladies that are coming to do better than her and not to come and go after several years without doing anything for the Nigerian women.”