Abacha’s widow believed her late husband has been unfairly vilified so many times by Nigerians.
Maryam Abacha, the wife of the former Nigerian Head of State, General Sani Abacha, said she doesn’t feel moved by a plethora of negative remarks Nigerians have been making about her late husband.
Maryam said this on the occasion of her husband’s 25th death anniversary on Thursday, June 8, 2023.
The late military dictator became Nigeria’s head of state in 1993 after seizing power from an Interim National Government led by the late Ernest Shonekan.
Many Nigerians who grew up during the late Abacha’s regime would have a few good things to draw from memory regarding his stewardship, particularly his infamous high-handed approach and political persecution and alleged assassinations that were prevalent throughout his five-year stint.
This grim picture of his regime has been passed down to different generations of Nigerians and this has brought ignominy to the name of the late general.
Abacha’s widow unmoved by her husband’s criticisms
But, speaking with BBC Hausa about her experiences as the former first lady of Nigeria, the 76-year-old Maryam believed some of the criticisms about her late husband have been unfair, even though she has become accustomed to hearing them.
She said living in different parts of Nigeria with her father who was a career civil servant, before marrying Abacha helped her to live a normal life in the Villa.
Maryam said, “I am used to all the negative things Nigerians have been saying about my husband, and that is a normal thing with politicians. We are human beings, people will always say different things. Good and bad. Look at what’s happening in Kano, and even at the national level. So people will always talk. But when we were ruling, nobody was saying anything. Nobody talked. So that’s governance. Every government comes with its own perks.
“I don’t miss anything about the Villa. Because, you know, as a wife of a military man, we had been in different places. My dad was a career civil servant. So even before marrying Abacha, I had been used to staying in different parts of Nigeria.
“So even while with Abacha, we were always relocating to different places. So for me being at the Villa was just part of my usual life experience. Of course there was the prestige that comes with being a wife of the head of state, but there were also challenges.
“You know, despite that the military aren’t politicians in the real sense, being in the Villa was part of politics. So, there were challenges we faced, just like every other government. But actually, I’ve never missed the Villa.”
Pulse reports that Abacha’s seizure of power was the last successful coup d’état in the Nigerian military history.