Dr. Christopher Abebe, former boss of the United African Company (UAC) and father of Stella Obasanjo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s wife, is reportedly dead.
In a statement released by his son, Dr. John Abebe, who is also the President of St. Gregory’s College Old Boys’ Association, it was confirmed that Dr. Christopher Abebe died on Thursday afternoon at the age of 99, in Iruekpen, Edo State, after a brief illness.
The statement read;
“In his lifetime, he joined the United African Company Nigeria Limited as a young clerk and rose through the ranks to become the first Nigerian Chairman/Managing Director of the company. He was also the first Nigerian Personnel Director of UAC in 1959.
“He was at various times the pro-chancellor and chairman of council of three Nigerian universities: the University of Benin, the University of Nsukka and the University of Calabar.
“On his retirement from the UAC, he became the first Nigerian Chairman of the Nigerian Breweries. A devout Catholic, he was a Papal Knight of the St. Gregory’s and Supreme Knight of St. Mulumba.”
The statement added that the deceased was survived by his wife of nearly 75 years, Mrs. Theresa Abebe, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The late Dr. Christopher Abebe’s daughter, Stella Obasanjo became famous not only for being the first lady of Nigeria, married to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, but also for being a political activist in her own right, supporting such causes as women’s liberation, youth as leaders of tomorrow, and the rehabilitation of a war torn Nigeria. She was a trailblazer in her role as first lady and showed Nigerian women the way to becoming more involved in the rebuilding of the country. Obasanjo will be remembered as the kind of first lady that countries desire to have as a figurehead of their nation.
Born November 14, 1945, Stella Abebe met her husband, Olusegun Obasanjo, when he was a military officer. According to the P.M. News, she found him to be rather dull at first, but was finally won over by the man’s intelligence and perseverance, two traits she said helped make her husband a great leader. He was imprisoned in 1995 for taking part in a coup to overthrow the government, and while trying to have her husband freed, Obasanjo began to exhibit the activism that many applauded her for.