27th September, 2011
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said the death of Africaâ€™s first woman Nobel Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, has robbed the continent of a leading voice for justice and good governance.
In a tribute to the environmental and political activist, Atiku said the late Kenyan Nobel Laureate was extraordinarily courageous by standing up to African dictatorships even at the risk of official harassment.
Atiku recalled her struggle against corruption and lack of accountability by African rulers while the people they led wallowed in crushing poverty.â€œDuring her life time, she had always insisted that African rulers must take responsibility for their own failures rather than blaming colonial powers many long years after independence.â€œThis extraordinary gut to speak truth to power pitted her against African dictators but she was never deterred by the fear of going to jail,â€ Atiku wrote of her memory.
Describing the late Maathai as a rare African woman, the former Vice President noted that her courage of conviction made her an ordinary woman with extraordinary virtues.He wondered how many Africans could have dared dictators in their dens of absolute power and risk death or indefinite detention without trial.
He recalled that her agitation reached a point that the Kenyan government banned her from contesting a parliamentary seat. Admirably, he said, she didnâ€™t waver in her struggle.