Cablegate: Fete for the Frist Lady of Nigeria


DE RUEHUJA #1633 2110657
R 300657Z JUL 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. On July 26 Nigerians celebrated the 50th birthday of
First Lady Hajiya Turai Yar'Adua with a gala banquet at the State
House for 1,000 guests. Although the event focused on Madame
Yar'Adua and underlined that she will be a force to reckon with in
years to come, the party also provided the opportunity for the new
administration's first real celebration of itself as it coincided
with the naming of the new cabinet. There was much glad-handing and
joy in the banquet hall that conveyed an intended sense of legitimacy
for the continuity of government. End Summary.

2. The gala was obviously a well pre-planned event designed to fete,
introduce and thrust Madame Yar'Adua into the limelight. That task
was well accomplished with reminiscences via video by her elderly
father, and remembrances by school mates and colleagues. A clear
demonstration of attachment to family values, it was an occasion for
the first family, daughters and son, also to bask in the affection of
the nation's political elite. Even though admonished by her father
never to change, Madame Turai has, indeed, moved far beyond her rural

3. The official bio, distributed to the guests, follows: "Hajiya
Turai Umaru Yar'Adua was born July 26, 1957 to the family of Alkali
Abdullahi Maimaje in Katsina metropolis, and the importance of
education was instilled in Hajiya Turai from an early age. Her
primary education started at Garama Primary School and was completed
at Girls Day School, both schools respectively in Katsina. After
completing primary school, Hajiya Turai was granted admission to the
Government Girls Secondary School, Kankiya. Eighteen days after
completing secondary school, Hajiya Turai married President Umaru
Musa Yar'Adua, and he encouraged her to attend Katsina College of
Arts, Science and Technology (KCAST). Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)
was the next milestone in Hajiya Turai's educational experience where
she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Hausa.
Throughout her education Hajiya Turai distinguished herself through
hard work and commitment to excellence.

The Government Day Secondary School, Funtua, was the recipient of
Hajiya Turai's work ethic as she began her professional career with a
one-year National Youth Service. Upon completing her youth service,
the Katsina State Ministry of Education extended a teaching
appointment to Hajiya Turai, and she taught at various secondary
schools across the state. During this appointment, Hajiya Turai rose
to the position of Head of Languages at Government Day Secondary
School (GDSS), Kofat Yandaha until she decided to retire.

Even in retirement, Hajiya Turai was not tired as she engaged herself
in numerous public service activities. Providing humanitarian
welfare and services to the needy and less privileged has been
especially important to Hajiya Turai. As the First Lady of Katsina
State, she helped children born with abnormalities receive surgeries
abroad. Scholarships and instructional materials were granted to
poor pupils and primary schools across the state. She facilitated
the provision of the Women's Inter-city Bus Service in Katsina and
provided hundreds of tricycles to the disabled. Hajiya Turai
reconstructed and equipped a workshop for male inmates and a female
cell to help decongest the Katsina Central Prison. She continually
provided assistance to womens' skills acquisition centers in the
state to nurture women's self-reliance.

Many organizations have honored Hajiya Turai for her contributions to
social development. The Katsina State Council of Chiefs awarded her
for selfless service to humanity, the World Islamic Call Society
(Libya) Award for Excellence was received for her contribution to the
growth of Islam in Nigeria, Arewa Youth Forum Award of Excellence,
Nigeria Union of Journalists, Katsina Chapter Award of Honor by the
Federated International Youth, the Sport Medal of Excellence and the
NYSC/Road Safety Award of Excellence are only a few of the many
achievements awarded to Hajiya Turai.

As a pillar of support to her husband, the President, and her family
of seven children, Hajiya Turai Umaru Yar'Adua is a devoted Muslim
who cares for family and community."

4. Comment. Little in Nigeria is modest and this sumptuous party
was no exception. On that score it indicated that as President,
Yar'Adua will not project as austere an image as that he held as
Governor of Katsina State, but will rather be more in the mold of his
predecessors. The President himself did not speak, but contentedly
presided over the head table. The party did bear a new stamp
indicating a clear change of administrations. It fortuitously marked
the swearing in of the cabinet, which occurred that morning, and the
real beginning of Yar'Adua's government. End Comment.

© Scoop Media

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