The elegant First Lady was born on November 14, 1945 but died before her 60th birthday on October 23 2005.
|Obj and late Stella|
She died in Spain where she went for a cosmetic procedure that later had complications. The surgery was scheduled towards the commemoration of her 60th birthday, which she had planned for and sent invites out.
In his autobiography, My Watch, which was released on December 8, 2015, the former President talked about his late spouse.
“After the interment, I decided to look into the circumstances of her death,” Mr. Obasanjo wrote on page 240 of Volume two of the book. “I found that part of her 60th birthday anniversary, which was unknown to me, was her operation for her tummy and her shape.”
He also commented on rumours that the late First Lady’s death was a ‘ritual’ he had to undergo to become successful as the then President of Nigeria.
He wrote: “Before the verdict in Spain, I was unaware of what I came to hear later that I might have caused the death of my wife to sacrifice her for success in my job,” he wrote. “That is how wicked and satanic some Nigerians can be in their rumours and mischief.”
|Obj and First late Stella|
Also, he called out the doctor who carried out the surgery and described him as “careless” and narrated how with the help of the Nigerian Embassy in Spain and the Spanish authorities, he got justice for his wife’s death.
“I instructed that the doctor and the clinic be prosecuted. The lost life cannot be brought back but the successful prosecution would prevent carelessness and loss of life in the future.”
The doctor, according to the former President, was made to pay damages, which was collected by Olu Obasanjo, Stella’s son, and his licence withdrawn for a period of time.
The doctor was sentenced to one year of imprisonment in September 2009 on a charge of "causing homicide through negligence", disqualified from medicine for a period of three years.
Mr. Obasanjo was however full of praises for his wife, whom he married in 1976, four years after the formal dissolution of his first marriage.
He commended her for handling the confrontations she had with his first wife, Remi, with maturity, for accepting children he had with other women as her own, and for campaigning for his release while he was in jail as well as supporting him during his presidency.
Mr. Obasanjo said shortly before her death, Stella, who was Roman Catholic, ensured that her marriage was blessed by the church in a small private ceremony at the Aso Villa conducted by Mathew Kukah, now the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese.
According to Mr. Obasanjo, after the ceremony, his late wife thanked him and said, “You have relieved me.”
Stella Obasanjo was from Iruekpen, Esan West, Edo State. Her father, Dr. Christopher Abebe, was chief of the United Africa Company (UAC) and would become the first indigenous (African) chairman of UAC Nigeria. Stella Abebe began her education at Our Lady of the Apostles Primary School.
She enrolled at St. Theresa's College, where she obtained her West African School Certificate in 1964 with grade one. Two years later she obtained the higher school certificate. She was admitted to the University of Ife now (Obafemi Awolwo University), Ile-Ife, for a bachelor's degree in English, attending from 1967 to 1969.
In 1969 she transferred to the UK to complete her studies, this time round, in insurance, in London and Edinburgh, Scotland, from 1970 to 1974.
She completed her education with a certificate as confidential secretary from the Pitman College in 1976. She returned to Nigeria in 1976 and soon after married General Obasanjo, who had become Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed. When she became Nigeria's First Lady in 1999, following the election of her husband as President, Obasanjo established Child Care Trust, for the care of underprivileged and/or disabled children.