Avid followers of Nigeria's nationhood history will never forget a conspicuous mention of the man, General Murtala Ramat Muhammed, arguably the country's most loved former Head of State.
Perhaps the fondness for Murtala by his countrymen is by reason of the brevity of his regime which was characterised by spate of decisive actions taken before the curtain fell for the young General on February 13, 1976.
His wife, Dr Ajoke Murtala Muhammed is still very much alive and kicking as she clocked 80 years on Sunday May 23, 2021.
Ajoke Murtala Muhammed was born in 1941. She started a professional journey as a Dental Therapist before she married the late young soldier in 1962 and they settled down to matrimonial life.
However, life dealt a cruel blow to her family when soldiers led by Col Bukar Suka Dinka assassinated Gen Murtala Muhammed in 1976, barely six months into his administration.
Her husband, the slain former Head of State was just 36 years old at that time.
A very difficult moment it was for Ajoke, indeed a challenging mantle left on her shoulders, as a widow who is now solely responsible for the welfare of her children and several other dependants.
With determination, she kept trudging on with life and it was just a matter of time that the relentless demonstrated in her pursuits in life emboldened her and it all came to fruition.
Indeed, how time flies! The Octogenarian has today become one of Africa’s most renowned conservationists. She established and runs Nigeria’s only two botanical gardens in Lagos and Abuja, where many plants going into extinction are conserved.
She has traversed the world to find and import endangered plants as seeds with the aim to conserve, propagate and disseminate forgotten indigenous plants.
As a past time, and business too,She organizes plant expeditions to remote villages in Nigeria and has the largest private collection of palms in West Africa.
She founded the green belt movement in Nigeria and continues to expound the importance of exploring the commercial value of our indigenous plants. She also serves on the board of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.
The conservationist is currently the Vice President of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation, an institution set up to formulate policy and advocate for girls education, human rights, women empowerment, provide disaster relief and generally support the betterment of the lives of Africans.
Her passion does not stop with environmental preservation. She is passionate about education for all and has spent her life committed to serving humanity. She is a bridge builder; across tribes, generations and socio-economic divisions.
Indeed, she has become an epitome of dignity, grace, and equanimity. she is as well an avid reader, writer and linguist.
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