A HISTORICAL EVOLUTION OF MARYAM BABANGIDA’S PET PROGRAMME (GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)
First ladyship has its origin in the United States of America. According to history, it originated in 1849 when president Zachary Taylor called Dolley Madison “first lady” at her funeral while reciting her eulogy, However, it was said to have gained wider recognition in 1877 when Mary C. Amees wrote an article in the New York city newspaper, the Independent, describing the inauguration of president Rutherford B. Hayes – she was quoted as having used the term to describe Lucy Webb Hayes. The term is now used all over the world to describe the wife of president or head of state. In Nigeria, apart from using it to designate the president wife, it is also used for wives of Governors and those of Local government chairman. Much was not heard of this term in Nigeria until the administration of Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd) came to power in 19851.
Nigeria in recent years, has witnessed a number of programmes introduced by her first ladies, broadly aimed at improving the socio-economic situation and also making women contribute to the growth of the economy. Before the Babangida regime (1985 – 1993), no first lady’s presence was felt beyond the gates of the former state house – Dodan barracks. Ajoke Mohammed, wife of the Late General Murtala Muhammed became a publicly known figure only after her husband’s assassination. For General Olusegun Obasanjo and President Shehu Shagari, there were no publicly known first ladies although the two were undoubtedly family men. Safinatu Buhari was known to the public only briefly as she made a few outings and participated in a few public events.
Mrs. Maryam Babangida came with a new image of the first lady vocal, determined and fashioned conscious, she was an elegant woman that brought glamour and grace to the position of first lady and it significant, almost as a sort of government parastatal. She was born as Miss Maryam King on November 1st 1948 at Asaba in Delta State. Had her education at covenant primary school, queen Amina College in Kaduna, federal training centre Kaduna and La sale extension university in Chicago USA.2 She later got married to General Ibrahim Babangida in 1969 and had two sons and two daughters. Maryam Babangida was the president, Nigerian Army officers Association (NAOWA), she founded the BLPRW, she also lobbied key government decisions dealing with women issues. She was the recipient of many national and international awards, like the international recognition award with Mrs. Kenyatta and Winnie Mandela as past recipients of the award. Mrs. Maryam Babaginda died in December 2009 of Ovarian cancer.