I have tried to go through my own personal memories of Thatcher, and sort of reminiscence on what I remember about her. Growing up, she was the most famous face I knew from Britain. Understandably so, she became Prime Minister when I was still a toddler, and remained in the office until well into my teenage years. I guess this particularly accounts for why she was so well known at that time. So, I am going to try to write from my impression of her from my childhood.
As a child, I knew a lot of things, most of them, I wonder how I knew them, given that I was barely out of being a toddler when most of the events happened, and there was no Google, no internet, no cell phone, text massages just plain old friendly NTA Ibadan and the radio. Our staple favourite radio station at that time was not Inspiration 92.3 FM; it was Radio O -Y- O, Ile Akede Orita-Bashorun and then Radio Nigeria. More than half of the programs were in Yoruba, including the adverts, maybe a couple of programs in English, but then as a toddler, a lot of news found their way to my memories e.g., I remember the FESTAC 77 song, I remember Sunny Ade's song - "Ma a gbe keke e lo", I remember, NADECO, I remember Obafemi Awolowo campaigning on TV for election, I remember ZIK's campaign too, I remember when Shagari won the election in 1983 and Olunloyo defeated Bola Ige, and how there was riot all over Ibadan. I remember the campaign slogan for UPN, "Eko ofe, Iwosan Ofe" meaning "Free Education, Free healthcare", and I bet you when all these happened I was barely 6 years old. Most importantly, I remember Margaret Thatcher. I often wondered why she was so popular at that time, it was at her demise that I found out why, she was prime minister from 1979 to 1990, now that makes sense. He name had notoriety about it. There was no person of that time who did not know the reputation of the Iron Lady. I recall that any woman who was tough and mean was called a Thatcher. In secondary school we had teachers that we called Thatcher - mean, tough, no - nonsense female teachers. You know those teachers that you couldn't beg; they must cane you no matter how much you plead. Then we had senior girls that people called Thatcher. I particularly remember two, one was the senior that supervised our class in JSS 1, tough pretty thing like that, she looked like half-caste and her father was top military personnel in the government of Muhammadu Buhari between 1983 and 1985, and her name was Ronke. Ours was a military secondary school, and NEPA, from time immemorial, was always fond of taking light especially during night preps. And as you can comfortably guess, once light is taken, the whole junior class goes in an uproar, but in Ronke's class, if they take light and you shout, consider yourself dead! Interestingly, we all liked her, maybe because of her surname or because she was really pretty or both. And then there was this other senior girl who was food prefect the next year, if I remember well, she was so mean! We called her all sorts of name - Thatcher, Witch whatever. Unfortunately for her, she acted in a stage play that was written by Zulu Sofola, Wedlock of the Gods, and she played the character of Uloko, the mother in-law of Ugboma. . . there is no guessing what we all called her from that day forward.
But going through the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, the first and only woman to lead the conservative party and to be prime minister of Britain, one of the longest serving Prime Ministers (she was in office for 11 years). A woman of many firsts and onlys. There is no gainsaying that she was not just a leader, she was a woman of principle, strong conviction and focus. I watched her presentation at one of the conventions of the Conservative party where she made her famous statement - "You can turn if you want to, but the Lady's not for turning". Maybe that was the biggest part of her personality, that made people name any woman who was very principled a "Thatcher". History has it that she decisively led England to the Falkland war against Argentina and won, She successfully closed the cold war and ended the Communist regime of Russia, she transformed British business like we know it, reducing the power of the state on individuals and their quest for self-actualization, she drove capitalism, privatization and reduced the power and influence of trade unions. News said that some people from the mining region of Scotland and United Kingdom celebrated that she had died, I think it is both mean and cowardly to celebrate that an old woman of 87 had died. But it also showed the power of her influence, so much that even at her old age, they wouldn't dare to celebrate or gloat over her until they knew she had passed on.
My thoughts from this issue is simple, we need to live a life of impact. No matter how you say it, Thatcher lived a life of impact. She counted, her history will still count. That is how we were designed to live. There is one big question i like us to ask ourselves, what will the world say about us if we died today, Methuselah lived almost a thousand years, but all that was recorded about him was that he was born and he gave birth to sons and daughter. No record of impact.
We all need to try our best no matter what. It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it will be on the record that you tried your best. Selah!