Sen. Godswill Akpabio (left); Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar and standing from left: brother of the bride, Mohammed Babangida; a guest; the bride, Halima and her husband, Alhaji Auwal Abdullahi, at the wedding of the last daughter of the former Military President in Minna… yesterday PHOTO: NAN
It was a gathering of who-is-who in Nigeria yesterday, as Minna, the Niger State capital, stood still for the wedding of Halima, daughter of former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
Government and commercial activities were virtually brought to a halt. As early as 7:00 am, the major roads leading in and out of Minna metropolis, especially those leading to the Hilltop mansion of the Babangidas, were taken over by heavily armed security personnel stationed at every strategic junction and spots.
Many shops and other business premises were shut, as most traders stayed at home due to the heavy traffic congestion and unusual security in the town.
Government offices were deserted, as majority of civil servants could not return from mosques where they had gone to observe the Juma’at.
The Imam of Wushishi Central Mosque, Babangida’s hometown, Sheik Habibu Wushishi, joined the couple after the payment of the N500, 000 cash and 19 cows bride price by the groom’s family, led by Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dangwambo, who stood in as the father of the groom.
Former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Mohammed Wushishi, gave Halima’s hand out in marriage on behalf of the family after accepting the dowry.
At least 26 private jets and four Police and Air Force aircraft landed in the city for the wedding, ferrying in various dignitaries that attended the event, including immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan, and his wife, Patience; Senate President Bukola Saraki; former Vice President Namadi Sambo; Governors Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara); Ahmed Abdulfatah (Kwara); Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano); Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Rauf Aregbesola (Osun); Senator Godswill Akpabio, Justice Fati Abubakar; members of the diplomatic corps and traditional rulers/emirs.
Others were Aliko Dangote, Tony Elemulu’ members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), including Abdulrahman Danbazzau (Interior); Mansur Dan-Ali (Defence); and Abubakar Bwari (State for Solid Mineral Development.
Also in attendance were former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar; his wife, Justice Fati Lami Abubakar; Hajiya Maryam Abacha; her son, Mohammed Abacha; Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua; former PDP governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto); Isah Yuguda (Bauchi); Mahmud Shinkafi (Zamfara); Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); Abubakar Dakingari (Kebbi); Osariemen Osunbor (Edo); and Gbenga Daniel (Ogun).
Serving governors in attendance include the host, Abubakar Sani Bello; Darius Ishiaku (Taraba); Simon Lalong (Plateau); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); and Al-Makura (Nasarawa) including Abdulwahab Folawiyo, Mark Snoxell, Gen. Garba Duba, Senators David Mark, Ibrahim Magoro, Ben Obi, Ben Bruce, Sanusi Daggash, Ahmed Makarfi, Ali Modu Sheriff, and Chief Pius Anyim.
Halima, the last child of the family, is marrying a Gombe businessman, Alhaji Auwal Abdullahi, who gave 10 cows and N500, 000 as dowry for his bride.
Former governors Isa Yuguda (Bauchi) and Gbenga Daniel (Ogun) have advised Halima and her husband to embrace patience in their marital journey and be advisers to each other and avoid ‘unfriendly’ friends.
“I advise him to be very patient with her. I also advise him not to listen to what his friends will tell him.
“He should always be with his wife, listen to her, let them be together and be advisers to one another,” Yuguda counseled.
Daniel advised the new couple to exercise patience in their dealings with one another and called on politicians in Nigeria to be loyal to their leaders.
“We just thank God for their lives and pray for them to be patient with each other and take life as it comes and cooperate with each other and be happy.
“And for the politicians, they should just be patient and support their leaders,” he said.
On her part, wife of former Chief of General Staff, late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, Rebecca, advised Halima and Auwal Abdullahi to show mutual respect for each other for a successful marriage.
“Being from different back grounds, the couple must exercise mutual respect for each other for their marriage to succeed.
“Mutual respect will breed patience, love, understanding, tolerance and care,” she said.