Thursday, 9 August 2012


This piece below was written by Auwal Sani Anwar. It reiterates why we (Hausawa) are in our present predicament. Happy reading!

In 2001, I noticed three young men sleeping in a mosque in one small town in Northern Nigeria where I worked in a higher education institution. For the next two days, I observed two of them praying in congregation five times a day, yet the mosque remained the accommodation for the three of them. On the third day, I casually engaged them in a conversation asking about the other one. They just laughed and told me that he was not a Muslim. Surprised, I pried further. They told me that the two (Yoruba Muslims) and the one (Igbo Christian) met at a connecting station on their way (from their respective Southern states) to that town, and they became friends. Their missions were to obtain application forms for entrance into the Institution. Given that none of them knew anyone in the town, they resolved to live in the mosque and even offered their friend accommodation. They were afraid I was going to rebuke them when I told them that the Prophet had accommodated guest Christians in his Holy mosque too. But that was not the issue.

The remarkable thing was that these children stayed in that mosque for nearly six months within which, they obtained the forms, secured the admission, registered and started the programs. For a fact, at the time they came, the three of them only had enough to obtain the forms. They had just a few clothes and no money for food. They told me they'd gotten jobs as labourers on one building site. A few months later they'd saved enough to rent a shop and open a barbing saloon, which the Igbo guy ran as the other two continued their menial job. I was so impressed that I felt compelled to assist with the admissions. Well, to cut the story short, at the moment the three young men are gainfully employed and prospering. One of them is even a lecturer in the same Institution. Now reverse back to that month when I met them.

A few days after meeting them, it pricked me that I'd these two Hausa cousins who were back home in Kano living with our grandparents. I obtained two forms and rushed to Kano to give them to fill in. I gave them on Friday when I arrived and told them I'd be leaving on Sunday. By Monday, they had not filled in the forms. I was shocked and wanted to know why, after all I'd promised to assist with accommodation (which would naturally come with feeding), registration, and a few other things. This was despite being a starter myself, less than a year into my first job. All they could finally say was, 'Nasarawa is far. Too far.' I was deflated, I'd to tuck my tail between my legs and trudge back to my destination.

Ten years later, my cousins are still at home, waiting for us to ASSIST them whenever we come home. They are also there to probably abuse us if we don't. And no doubt, this personal story must resonate with many people all over the North.

The question is, what can we do to change this destructive attitude that pervades our people and our clime? What can we do to make even the ordinary man on the streets see and appreciate the big picture? What can we say to make them honour, believe and chase 'long term' fruits? How can we save them and ourselves from the mockery of living in a Nigeria where our region is economically deteriorating and socially fragmenting? It is time we begin looking for answers from within. Let us begin doing something please.

Written by Auwal Sani Anwar


  1. I once had a very serious discussion on this issue with someone...Something needs to be done fast. Thanx for sharing

  2. This is absolutely true.. People in the north are so lazy and reliant on others, i'm a northerner too so i know this for a fact..

  3. That's exactly what's killing the north, Many are not self reliant. They just sit back and wait for other well-to-do members of the family to shoulder their self inflicted burdens...
    Should this trend continue, I'm afraid Nothing good will come out of this Region... The typical hausa man will say "Haka Allah Ya so"
    Allah Hoinunu'en.... Ameen

  4. This story reminds me of the book, "Up From Slavery" The Autobiography of Booker T Washington.

    2008, I went to Nigeria to register my practice. After the registration I traveled first to Northern Nigeria to meet with a very prominent Nigerian, with a proposal to assist him to set up an Educational Foundation - from the start-up capital, to raising capital or funding, and sourcing for qualified Teachers, I had everything prepared. In addition, I gave them photocopies of all my certificates, to convince them that I mean business.

    I told them that the starting point is High School (Grammar School) graduation and University admission. (1)Those who are High School graduate, but without the mandatory six credits required for admission to Universities and Polytechnic need our support - funds and opportunities to retake the exams over and over again until they meet the requirements. (2) Those who already have the six credits, but are having problems with JME - funds and opportunities to retake the exams. If we take care of these people in five years, we will be able to double the numbers of Northerners graduating from University. This is just a Chapter from the proposal.

    Nothing came out of it. I returned to States after about three months in Nigeria. I called then as instructed, but they told me that "Oga" was duped before by people with similar proposal.

    If there is anyone out there and willing to set up Educational Foundation in the north, targeting the groups mentioned above, I can help with the feasibility studies - how to raise revenue to fund it and run it successfully. But we will need a prominent name of northern extraction to stand by it. I will personally manage the teaching and recruitment of Teachers. This is going to be a Continuous Education Program - a comprehensive two months intensive studies before every exams.

    Any interest?

    1. Let us talk on the proposal. My email is

    2. Why do you need "a prominent name of northern extraction" i.e. "big man"? Its the same dependency Mubarak Muh'd Abdullahi talks about: "That's exactly what's killing the north, Many are not self reliant. They just sit back and wait for other well-to-do members of the family to shoulder their self inflicted burdens...". Be self reliant, go home and start small and others undoubtedly WILL join.

  5. My heart bleed for our Northern brothers, who have kept silence in the face of bombings in the region that is sending education 10 years backwards in the North. History will be hash on the present elites who are busy developing their children while other peoples children are used for suicide bombing.

  6. I, as a Nigerien-hausa residing on eastern Nigeria currently schooling there knew what they used to call us, take us for, refer us to; illetrate, cattle rearers, bombers e.t.c we are pride of islam while islam didnt forbade us to search for wisdom

  7. Education is the key to most of our problems. Unfortunately our brothers up North are not keying in despite lots of opportunities that avail them. This is not unconnected with the mischief makers parading themselves as Prophet Mohammed appointees and deceiving innocent children.

    I would have fallen victim of being uneducated if it were not my elder brother that encouraged me. After Secondary school my father did not have enough money for me to further my education and I was sent to my relation in Karaye, Kano State to learn trading. There I made friends and mixed with Hausas. Regrettably, you cannot count up to ten people that can communicate in English very well that time despite the free education and other state and federal government support. It is unfortunate that more than 25 years later we are still talking about the inability of our brothers in the North to utilise opportunities available to the to be educated

  8. Thank you Hannatu and Auwal. The key is Leadership. Leaders drive change. If any society has a bunch of retrogressive leaders that society will regress. That is our challenge. To bring about leadership in Nigeria that understands some of the issues raised here.