The children of late former head of State, Murtala Muhammed, and many personalities have extolled the virtues of his widow and mother, Dr. Ajoke Murtala Muhammed, on the occasion of her 80th birthday celebration.
Describing her as a bridge builder, they revealed that Dr. Ajoke, was a professional dental therapist that had contributed not only in the health sector but also on the environment, ensuring that the world where she, her children and grand-children as well as other family members live remain eco-friendly for them.
At the event marking her 80th birthday, the matriarch was celebrated by many for her contribution to human development across the country, including her children, who took time to celebrate the wife of the former head of state.
In a message to the octogenarian, who took the mantle of leadership of the home at the age of 33 years old after the death of her husband, the daughter, Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode, stated that her mother had continued to inspire them, saying she is relentless in her pursuits.
Muhammed-Oyebode, who spoke on behalf of her siblings through a statement, said: “It was indeed a challenging mantle left on the shoulders of a young 33-year-old widow now solely responsible for the welfare of her children and their many adopted nieces and nephews. Many of which have gone on to be extremely successful in their professions and careers.
Inspite of been a widow at less than 35years, she noted that her mother has grown to become one of Africa’s most renowned conservationists who has established and runs Nigeria’s only two botanical gardens in Lagos and Abuja, where many plants going into extinction were conserved.
According to her, “In the last 30 years, my mother has travelled the world to find and import endangered plants as seeds with the aim to conserve, propagate and disseminate forgotten indigenous plants.”
Muhammed-Oyebode stated that Dr. Ajoke Murtala Muhammed did not stop at that, adding 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.
“And she 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”, the daughter added.
Muhammed-Oyebode revealed that aside from been an environmentalist, her mother remained 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. And doing this, she has overcome many challenges including the loss of her first son, and has become an epitome of dignity, grace, and equanimity.
“On the softer side, she is an avid reader, writer and linguist. Her greatest talent till today yet undiscovered though, is her exceptional voice. As she rocks the octogenarian age, one can only wish for ‘’Mama” a consequential Matriarch the best wishes on attaining eight decades of life! And wish her many more happy years of good health and happiness”.