Maryam King Okogwu, 19482009 (aged 61 years)

Maryam King /Okogwu/
Given names
Maryam King
Married name
Maryam King /Babangida/
Birth November 1, 1948
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Clement Atlee
from July 26, 1945 to October 26, 1951 (aged 2 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Winston Churchill
from October 26, 1951 to April 6, 1955 (aged 6 years)

34th President of the United States
Dwight D Eisenhower
January 20, 1953 (aged 4 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Anthony Eden
from April 6, 1955 to January 10, 1957 (aged 8 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Harold Macmillan
from January 10, 1957 to October 19, 1963 (aged 14 years)

35th President of the United States
John F Kennedy
January 20, 1961 (aged 12 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Alex Douglas-Home
from October 19, 1963 to October 16, 1964 (aged 15 years)

36th President of the United States
Lyndon B Johnson
November 22, 1963 (aged 15 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Harold Wilson
from October 16, 1964 to June 19, 1970 (aged 21 years)

37th President of the United States
Richard Nixon
January 20, 1969 (aged 20 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Edward Heath
from June 19, 1970 to March 4, 1974 (aged 25 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Harold Wilson
from March 4, 1974 to April 5, 1976 (aged 27 years)

38th President of the United States
Gerald Ford
August 9, 1974 (aged 25 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
James Callaghan
from April 5, 1976 to May 4, 1979 (aged 30 years)

39th President of the United States
Jimmy Carter
January 20, 1977 (aged 28 years)

Winter of Discontent
Mass industrial action, power cuts and a three-day working week.
from October 1978 to February 1979 (aged 30 years)
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Margaret Thatcher
from May 4, 1979 to November 28, 1990 (aged 42 years)

40th President of the United States
Ronald Reagan
January 20, 1981 (aged 32 years)

41st President of the United States
George H W Bush
January 20, 1989 (aged 40 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
John Major
from November 28, 1990 to May 2, 1997 (aged 48 years)

42nd President of the United States
Bill Clinton
January 20, 1993 (aged 44 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Tony Blair
from May 2, 1997 to June 27, 2007 (aged 58 years)

43rd President of the United States
George W Bush
January 20, 2001 (aged 52 years)

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Gordon Brown
from June 27, 2007 to May 11, 2010 (on the date of death)

44th President of the United States
Barack Obama
January 20, 2009 (aged 60 years)

Death December 27, 2009 (aged 61 years)

Family with parents
Leonard Nwanonye Okogwu
Hajiya Asabe Halima Mohammed
Birth: November 1, 1948Asaba, Oshimili North L.G.A, Delta State, Nigeria
Death: December 27, 2009
Biography of Maryam Babangida

Maryam Babangida (1 November 1948 – 27 December 2009) was the wife of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who was Nigeria's head of state from 1985 to 1993. Her husband was the target of criticism for rampant corruption during his regime. She was credited with creating the position of First Lady of Nigeria and making it her own.

As the first lady, she launched many programmes to improve the lives of women. The "Maryam Phenomenon" became a celebrity and "an icon of beauty, fashion and style", a position she retained after her husband's fall from power.

Early years

Maryam King was born in 1948 in Asaba (present-day Delta State), where she attended her primary education. Her parents were Hajiya Asabe Halima Mohammed from the present Niger State, a Hausa, and Leonard Nwanonye Okogwu from Asaba, an Igbo. She later moved north to Kaduna where she attended Queen Amina's College Kaduna for her Secondary education. She graduated as a secretary at the Federal Training Centre, Kaduna. Later she obtained a diploma in secretaryship[clarification needed] from La Salle Extension University (Chicago, Illinois) and a Certificate in Computer Science from the NCR Institute in Lagos.[3][4]

On 6 September 1969, shortly before her 21st birthday, she married Major Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. They had four children, boys Mohammed and Aminu, and two girls, Aisha and Halima. After her husband became Chief of Army Staff in 1983, Maryam Babangida became President of the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA). She was active in this role, launching schools, clinics, women's training centres and child daycare centres.

Her hobbies were gardening, interior decoration, music, squash, badminton, collecting birds, philanthropic activities and reading.

First lady

When her husband became head of state in 1985, Maryam Babangida moved with her children into Dodan Barracks in Lagos. She had to arrange for considerable renovations to make the rooms more suitable for formal receptions. Dodan Barracks was one of the key locations seized in the April 1990 coup attempt by Gideon Orkar against Ibrahim Babangida, who was present in the barracks when the attack occurred but managed to escape via a back route.

As First Lady of Nigeria between 1985 and 1993, she turned the ceremonial post into a champion for women's rural development. She founded the Better Life Programme for Rural Women in 1987 which launched many co-operatives, cottage industries, farms and gardens, shops and markets, women’s centres and social welfare programs. The Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women's Development was established in 1993 for research, training, and to mobilize women towards self-emancipation.

She championed women issues vigorously. She reached out to the first ladies of other African countries to emphasize the effective role they can play in improving the lives of their people.

Her book, Home Front: Nigerian Army Officers and Their Wives, published in 1988, emphasized the value of the work that women perform in the home in support of their husbands, and has been criticized by feminists.

Working with the National Council for Women's Societies (NCWS) she had significant influence, helping gain support for programmes such as the unpopular SFEM (Special Foreign Exchange Market) program to cut subsidies and to devalue and fix the currency. She also established a glamorous persona. Talking about the opening of the seven-day Better Life Fair in 1990, one journalist said: "She was like a Roman empress on a throne, regal and resplendent in a stone-studded flowing outfit that defied description..." Women responded to her as a role model, and her appeal lasted long after her husband fell from power.

Illness and death

On 15 November 2009, rumours circulated that the former first lady had died in her hospital bed at the University of California (UCLA) Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles over complications arising from terminal ovarian cancer. However, an aide to the former president, said: "Mrs Maryam Babangida is alive ... I told her about the spreading rumour in Nigeria concerning her death and she laughed, saying those carrying the rumour would die before her."

Maryam died aged 61 from ovarian cancer on 27 December 2009 in a Los Angeles, California hospital.[14][16] Her husband was at her side as she died.[5] President of the Senate of NigeriaDavid Mark, was said to have broken down into tears upon hearing the news.

The Times of Nigeria reported on her death that she was "considered to be one of the greatest women in Africa today".[5]



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