The pioneer First Lady of Kano State, Ladi Bako, has died at the age of 93.
Hajiya Ladi died in Kano after a protracted illness.
Her husband Retired CP Audu Bako (1924–1980) was a Nigerian Police officer and the first Governor of Kano State during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon, following the formation of the state from part of the Northern Region.
Her daughter, Zainab Bako, confirmed the death to newsmen on Wednesday. She disclosed that the nonagenarian died at Prime Specialist Hospital in Kano after a protracted illness.
She noted that her funeral rites will be held at the Emir’s Palace, Kofar Kudu, Kano.
Her late husband was appointed Military governor of the old Kano State from May 1967 to July 1975.
During his tenure, Kano State witnessed massive socio-economic development, which successive governors of the state have been and are still building upon.
Late Hajiya Ladi was born in Sabon Gari, Zaria in 1930 (93 years ago). The street of her birth was called Layin Magajiya in Zaria.
Young Ladi attended missionary schools up to Standard 2. Her parents, who were from Mid-western Nigeria, came to Zaria and settled at Sabon Gari.
In 1949, Audu Bako met young Ladi at the entrance of their house. They fell in love and Emir Aminu approved their marriage. She was 19 and the smart young Police Officer Audu Bako was 25.
Audu Bako’s father was from Argungu, present day Kebbi State; and had served in the Police force for 36 years.
The elder Bako was appointed the District Head of Sabon Gari in Kaduna State. Audu’s mother, Dije, was from Mariri in now Dawakin Kudu LGA of Kano State.
Late Ladi Bako was known to have the passion for keeping wild animals. She was quoted to have narrated that some villagers found two lion cubs that flood swept into their farms. They brought the cubs to her, which she gladly accepted.
The lion cubs were a male and a female brought to her on a Friday, and she named them Danjuma (Hausa name of male child born on Friday) and Jummai (for a female).
Jummai died, but Danjuma grew and became very close to Hajiya Ladi, to the extent that it was allowed to sleep between Hajiya Ladi and her daughter, Zainab, when the latter was a baby.
Her late husband had no passion for keeping wild animals but he loved to be at the farm always. So, after an incidence with Danjuma the lion, late Audu Bako built and opened the present Kano Zoo, and Ladi donated Danjuma as the first wild animal in the zoo.
A statement by Air Commodore Sani Zakari (rtd) said Late Hajiya Ladi Bako had six children comprising three sons and three daughters.
One of the sons has died, and she is survived by two sons and three daughters, among whom is Zainab Audu Bako, a politician and technocrat.
Funeral prayer of Hajiya Ladi Bako will be at 1400 hrs (2:00 pm) today at Kofar Kudu Emir’s Palace in Kano.