Chief Victoria Nwanyiocha Aguiyi-Ironsi, widow of the late Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, Nigeria’s first military head of state, is dead.
She reportedly died in the early hours of Monday, August 23,2021.She is aged 97.
Born on November 21, 1923, she was the second First Lady of Nigeria between January 16, 1966 and July 29, 1996, when her husband was assassinated in a counter military coup.
General Aguiyi-ironsi was killed in Ibadan with his host ,Lt.Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi,the first military Governor of Western Region of Nigeria on July 29,1966 in the coup led by Murtala Muhammed.
Reflecting on her life after the gruesome murder of her husband in an interview with The Guardian newspaper on June 3, 2016, she said.
“The truth is that 29th of July this year will be 50 years since my husband was killed. By then, I had eight children.I have seen hell and at the same time, I have seen heaven.”
The late Victoria married Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi as a student of Holy Rosary Convent School, Okigwe in 1953 aged 16.Following the death of Samuel Ademulegun and his wife, she moved his children from Kaduna to Lagos and cared for them.
She had 8 children who were taken away and cared for by nuns in Ibadan under the direction of Adekunle Fajuyi during the Nigerian Civil War.
She served as a commissioner of the Local Government Services Commission in Umuahia.
The advent of the office of the First Lady of Nigeria came with Ironsi.Aguiyi-Ironsi brought prestige to the office. She was often garbed in traditional outfits and her style was described as “pretty and effortlessly regal”.
Aguiyi-Ironsi died on 23 August 2021 at Federal Medical Centre Umuahia after suffering a stroke She was 97.May her gentle soul rest in peace.Amen