Former First Lady Maryam Abacha, alongside other prominent personalities, on Monday graced the 65th birthday celebration of former Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, who celebrated the event in grand style.
The event, which ended with a dinner at Tallen’s residence, began with a Holy Mass at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Catholic Pro-Cathedral, Garki.
The roll call of dignitaries included former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; former Governor James Ngilari of Adamawa; Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr Jamila Ibrahim; Senator Aisha Dahiru Binani.
Others were two former ministers of women affairs, Zainab Maina and Inna Ciroma; former Minister of Power, Prince Jeddy Agba, former Kaduna State Governor’s wife, Amina Yakowa; former Supreme Court Justice, Amina Augie.
The list also included former EFCC boss, Farida Waziri; Mandate Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory, Health and Human Services, Dr Adedolapo Fasawe; Solicitor General of Nigeria, Beatrice Jeddi-Agba.
Also in attendance were APC National Women Leader, Dr Blessing Agbomhere; first female and current Vice Chancellor, University of Calabar, Prof Florence Obi; former Nigerian Ambassador to Cote D’Ivoire, Martin Adamu.
Many of the distinguished guests took turn to euglogise Dame Tallen in their goodwill messages to her at the occasion.
Mrs Abacha, while eulogising Tallen, recalled meeting her for the first time in the Presidential Villa when Abacha was Head of State and since then they both remained in touch “because of her exciting and irresistible aura”.
She called for inter-religious unity among Nigerians, and urged Tallen and others, who might find themselves in any position of authority, to pursue the course as top priority, to ensure peace, unity, security and national cohesion.
Also, the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Jamilu Ibrahim, said her rise to ministerial position would not have been possible without the mentorship of Tallen.
She said that Tallen inspired and encouraged her all along, right from when they first met when she was SSA to the Governor of Kwara many years ago, adding that God was not yet done with Tallen.
Former Minister of Women Affairs, Inna Ciroma, recalled how Tallen, on assumption of office as women affairs minister, first invited her predecessors to meet and learn from them.
She said Tallen’s passion for women development was second to none.
Zainab Maina described Tallen as a great woman that would have reached much greater heights in politics but was inhibited by her female status as she was schemed out.
She, however, expressed confidence that a woman would one day become the President of Nigeria with the kind of foundation already laid by women like them, adding that Nigeria still needed Tallen in office to continue her goodness.
Amina Yakowa described Tallen as a devout Christian and Papal Knight, whose constituency was the Church and God and urged her to continue trusting in God’s ways and guidance.
Senator Binani, while pouring encomiums on Tallen, described her as an irrepressible emancipator of women, who God had blessed as two-time minister and one-time deputy governor, which opportunity she utilised to put indelible marks on the sands of time.
She specially appreciated Tallen for standing by her and sacrificing for her during the 2022 Adamawa Governorship Primary Election, adding that she could never thank her enough.
Also, the APC Women Leader, Agbomhere, described Tallen as down-to-earth, and recalled the first time she met the celebrator and was swept off her feet by Tallen’s “magnetising aura”.
Prof. Florence Obi, who presided over the cutting of the cake, summed up the eulogies, describing Tallen as phenomenal, outstanding, warm, charming, exciting, a lover of people and special creation of God.
Responding, Tallen thanked her guests for the goodwill messages and for finding time to honour her by coming to celebrate her 65th birthday.