Abacha’s widow empowers women, calls for unity

Former First Lady Maryam Abacha led other prominent Nigerians to witness the 65th birthday of former Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen.

The event, which ended with a dinner at Tallen’s residence, began with a Holy Mass at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Catholic Pro-Cathedral, Garki, presided over by the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Rev. Ignatius Kaigama.

Dignitaries included former Gov Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; former Gov James Ngilari of Adamawa; Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr Jamila Ibrahim; Sen Aisha Dahiru Binani.

Others were two former ministers of women affairs, Zainab Maina and Inna Ciroma; former Minister of Power, Prince Jeddy Agba, former Kaduna State Governor’s wife, Mrs Amina Yakowa; former Supreme Court Justice, Amina Augie.

Also at the event were former EFCC boss, Mrs Farida Waziri; Mandate Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory, Health and Human Services, Dr Adedolapo Fasawe; Solicitor General of Nigeria, Mrs Beatrice Jeddi-Agba, APC National Women Leader, Dr Blessing Agbomhere; first female and current vice chancellor, University of Calabar, Prof Florence Obi; former Nigerian Ambassador to Ivory Coast, Martin Adamu.

Former Court of Appeal Justice, Uzoamaka Ndukwe-Anyanwu; prominent lawyer, Damian Dodo (SAN); Plateau APC chieftain, Chief Amos Gizo; former Plateau governorship aspirant, John Alkali; wife of the Chief of Defence Staff, Mrs Lilian Musa, also attended the event.

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The euglogize Tallen in their goodwill messages.

Mrs Abacha, while eulogizing Tallen, recalled meeting her for the first time in the Presidential Villa when Abacha was Head of State and since then they both remained in touch because of her exciting and irresistible aura.

She called for inter-religious unity among Nigerians, and urged Tallen and others, who may henceforth find themselves in any position of authority to pursue this course as top priority in order to ensure peace, unity, security and national cohesion.

The Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Jamilu Ibrahim, said that her rise to ministerial position would not have been possible without the mentorship of Tallen.

She said that Tallen inspired and encouraged her all along, right from when they first met when she was SSA to the Governor of Kwara many years ago, adding that God was not yet done with Tallen.

Former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Inna Ciroma, while recalling how Tallen on assumption of office as women affairs minister first invited her predecessors to meet and learn from them, said Tallen’s passion for women development was second to none.

Mrs Zainab Maina described Dame Tallen as a great woman she would have reached much greater heights in politics but was inhibited by her female status as she was schemed out by her traducers.

She, however, expressed confidence that a woman would one day become the President of Nigeria with the kind of foundation already laid by women like them, adding that Nigeria still needed Tallen in office to continue her good.

In her contribution, Mrs Amina Yakowa described Tallen as a devout Christian and Papal Knight, whose constituency was the Church and God and urged her to continue trusting in God’s ways and guidance.

Sen Binani, while pouring encomiums on Tallen, described her as an irrepressible emancipator of women, who God had blessed as two-time minister and one-time deputy governor, which opportunity she utilized to put indelible marks on the sands of time.

She praised Tallen for not only standing by her but sacrificing for her during the 2022 Adamawa Governorship Primary Election, adding that she could never thank her enough.

Also speaking, APC Women Leader, Agbomhere, described Tallen as down-to-earth, and recalled the first time she met Tallen and she was swept off her feet by Tallen’s magnetizing aura.

Prof Florence Obi, who presided over the cutting of the cake alongside two others, summed up the eulogies, describing Tallen as phenomenal, outstanding, warm, charming, exciting, a lover of people and special creation of God.

Tallen thanked her guests for the goodwill messages and for finding time to honor her by coming to celebrate her 65th birthday, while wishing them God’s blessings.

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