Stella Obasanjo

Stella Ọbasanjọ (14 November 1945 - 23 October 2005) was the First Lady of Nigeria from 1999 until her death. She was the wife of Nigerian president Oluṣẹgun Ọbasanjọ and the daughter of Christopher Abebe, a former UAC Nigeria Chairman. She hailed from Irruepken in Esan West local government area in Edo State, Nigeria. She was an Esan woman by ethnic origin and she was not the First Lady in 1976 when Ọbasanjọ was military head of state.

Background

Chief (Mrs.) Stella Ọbasanjọ was born into the Abebe family of Iruekpen, Edo State. Her father, Dr. Christopher Abebe, remains one of the foremost indigenous technocrats. He made history when he became the first African chairman of the United African Company (UAC). Her mother, Therasa Abebe, is a graduate of the Pitman College, London.

The paths of the mother of Aso Rock and the President first crossed in 1976 in London when the then Stella Abebe was studying in England. Ọbasanjọ, then a colonel and ex-war commander, was on a course. Ever since this meeting, which was facilitated by a mutual friend, Stella had matured into a pillar of support for her husband Chief Oluṣẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ.

Stella started her education at Our Lady of Apostles Primary School, Yaba, in Lagos. Young Stella enrolled at the famous St. Theresa’s College, Ibadan, where she obtained her West African School Certificate in 1964 with grade one. Two years later she obtained the higher school certificate. Thereafter, she was admitted to the prestigious University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University) for a bachelor’s degree in English. She was at Ife from 1967 to 1969, when she transferred to England to complete her studies, this time round, in Insurance. She studied Insurance in both London and Edinburgh, Scotland, from 1970 to 1974.

She completed her education with a certificate as confidential secretary from the Pitman College in 1976. She returned to Nigeria in 1976 and soon after married General Ọbasanjọ, who had become Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, following the assassination of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed. While her role in Ọbasanjọ’s administration of the late 1970s remained largely behind the scenes, Stella maintained behind the scenes influence.

In 1995, During the military dictatorship in Nigeria, when General Ọbasanjọ was jailed on trumped up charges of plotting to overthrow the government of the late General Sani Abacha, Stella showed courage by spearheading the struggle to release her husband. Despite threats to her life, she fought relentlessly to draw global attention to the injustice of her husband’s imprisonment. Wherever she went, she spoke out against the authoritarian rule of the then military regime, while calling for her husband’s release.

Human rights

Stella became a noted figure in the international human rights community. On a number of occasions, she collected awards on behalf of her incarcerated husband, including the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Award for Human Rights in Bonn, Germany, the Indira Gandhi Award and the Award for Peace given by Liberal International, Oxford, England. Her courage had not gone unrecognised at home. Stella was honoured with several chieftaincy titles, among which were the Yeye Oge of Oke-Ona Egba, Yeye ‘Luwa of Orile Owu, Yeye Tunluse of Owu-Isin in Kwara and Oga Nla Obirin Owu.

When she became Nigeria’s First Lady in 1999 following the election of her husband as president, Stella decided to establish a non-governmental organisation, Child Care Trust, to take care of the underprivileged, the motherless and physically and mentally retarded children, with a focus on girls. These groups of underprivileged children are usually neglected. According to her, they were often treated as if they were useless and seen as an affliction on their parents. Stalla interacted with so many of such children both nationally and internationally and was able to prove, as she had believed, that many of the children were intelligent and capable.

The former first lady was quoted as saying “Many of the underprivileged children if given the right care and love are capable of doing many positive things. They want to be appreciated. They do not see themselves as different from any other person.” ...

Death

Stella Ọbasanjọ died of complications from an operation at a private health clinic in the southern Spanish resort town of Puerto Banus, near Marbella, on 23 October 2005, where she had undergone plastic surgery.

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First Lady is a term applied to the wife of an elected male head of state.[1] Development of the title is credited to the United States, where it was first used in 1849, when United States President Zachary Taylor called Dolley Madison "First Lady" at her state funeral.
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General (rtd.) Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Matthew Obasanjo, GCFR[1] (Yoruba: Oluṣẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ, IPA: /ɒˈluʃɛguːŋ obˈæsændʒo/
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Sir Christopher Abebe was the first indigenous Chairman of UAC Nigeria Ltd and the father of Stella Obasanjo, the first lady to Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo .
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For over a century, United African Company of Nigeria PLC (sometimes referred to as UACN PLC) has distinguished itself as a major contributor to the Nigerian economy.
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Edo State is an inland state in central southern Nigeria. Its capital is Benin City. It was formed in 1991 by the split of Bendel State into Edo and Delta State. Tourist attractions include the Emotan statue in Benin City and the Somorika hills in Akoko Edo.
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Esan (pronounced /aysan/) is one of the major ethnic groups in Edo State, South-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria. It is believed by many historians that the name 'Esan' (originally, 'E san fia') owes its origin to Bini (meaning, 'they have fled' or 'they jumped away').
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Sir Christopher Abebe was the first indigenous Chairman of UAC Nigeria Ltd and the father of Stella Obasanjo, the first lady to Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo .
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The Royal Niger Company was a mercantile company chartered by the British government in the nineteenth century. It formed a basis of the modern state of Nigeria.

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Sani Abacha (Kano, 20 September 1943 – Abuja, 8 June 1998) was a Nigerian military leader and politician. He was the de facto President of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998.[1]

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Abacha was a Muslim of Kanuri extraction.
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Authoritarianism describes a form of social control characterized by strict obedience to the authority of a state or organization, often maintaining and enforcing control through the use of oppressive measures. Authoritarian regimes are strongly hierarchical.
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Marbella, Spain

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Plastic surgery is a medical that uses a number of surgical and nonsurgical techniques to change the appearance and function of a person's body.
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