|First Lady of Nigeria|
19 April 1969 – 29 July 1975
|Head of State||Yakubu Gowon|
|Preceded by||Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi|
|Succeeded by||Ajoke Muhammed|
Victoria Hansatu Zakari
Victoria Hansatu Gowon (born 22 August 1946) is a Nigerian nurse and the third First Lady of Nigeria. She is married to General Yakubu Gowon who was Nigerian Head of State from 1966 to 1975.
Victoria Hansatu Zakari was born on 22 August 1946 to Malam Walter Bala, a civil servant, and Lydia Fati Zakari in Zaria. She attended primary and secondary school in both Zaria and Kaduna. She completed her secondary education in 1964. She attended the School of Nursing at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, and qualified as a registered nurse in July 1968. She married Yakubu Gowon during the Nigerian Civil War on 19 April 1969 in a ceremony held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos.
She made public appearances because Yakubu Gowon combined his executive and ceremonial duties.
Her style as first lady was described as simple as she was often dressed in traditional attire.
She is celebrated as a hero. During Yakubu Gowon’s administration, there was this problem of segregation between nurses’ pay packages and that of the English nurses. The nurses union then agreed that they go on strike. But Gowon’s wife, Victoria, who was in the nursing school at the University of Ibadan at that time, got wind of the strike plan and sent a message to the husband to act promptly. He ordered that the pay package be elevated and demands are met and that was all.
A Book By Her Professor
Victoria Hansatu Zakari was a student nurse. Her tutors recognized her as a brilliant and diligent student.
One of her lecturers was the foremost Professor of Medicine, Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe. Prof Akinkugbe had taken note of the young Victoria, along with a few others in her class, as a quietly efficient student nurse. Victoria worked in Professor Akinkugbe’s outpatient department. She was then known and addressed as Miss Zakari.
On this fateful day, Victoria had paid for her examinations. On the morning of her exams, the young student nurse suddenly took ill. It was a terrible blow for the determined student who had prepared fully for the exams. She was examined and her doctors concluded that she had to be admitted.
Admitted ke? Victoria refused flatly to be admitted. Nothing, not even sickness, would stop her from writing her exams. She insisted on going on with her examinations. The doctors insisted that she must be admitted. It was getting to be a stalemate.
Prof Akinkugbe was informed of the determined student who wanted to write her exams at the risk of her health. Prof was not going to have a casualty on his hand. He sharply rebuked the young student nurse. “Don’t be silly, little girl. Your health is very important!” Victoria had no choice. She knew that Professor Akinkugbe wanted the best for her. She withdrew only to sit at a later date.
Years later, Miss Victoria Hansatu Zakari became Mrs. Victoria Hansatu Gowon – the wife of the Head of State.
As the First Lady of the Federation, Victoria Gowon was visiting University College Hospital, Ibadan. Prof. Akinkugbe had to receive her along with the chairman of the board of management and the hospital matron. Prof and his team were at the aerodrome to welcome the First Lady.
On alighting from the plane, the First Lady saw her professor. The professor had insisted that she must put her health above all else. The professor saw his former student. The student he had insisted must attend to her health first before writing her examinations.
“Prof! Do you remember the silly little girl, sir?” The First Lady asked with a glint of mischief in her eyes.
“Your Excellency, I think to do!” Professor Akinkugbe mumbled. They both smiled.
Victoria Gowon Networth
Her net worth has not been estimated
- Okon-Ekong, Nseobong (2010-10-02). “Nigeria: First Ladies – Colourful Brilliance, Gaudy Rays”. Thisday. AllAfrica.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-23. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- “First Ladies of style”. Punch Newspapers. 2017-10-01. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
- Obasi, Emeka (2017-10-07). “Of Flora, Victoria and Mariam”. Vanguard News. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
- NewAfrican Life. IC Publications. 1990.
- Admin (2020-11-20). “GOWON,(Dr) Victoria Hansatu”. Biographical Legacy and Research Foundation. Retrieved 2021-07-30.
- Oluleye, Kehinde (2019-11-08). “Famous, long lasting monogamous MARRIAGES”. The Nation (Nigeria). Retrieved 2021-07-30.
- “Nigeria@60: Life & style of First Ladies”. Punch Newspapers. 2020-09-27. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
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