Sunday Trust - - TAMBARI -

Ca­reer back­ground I was with D.D. Dodo (SAN) Cham­bers. We spent two months or there­about in his cham­bers and then af­ter my law school I served with M.A. Abubakar & Co (For­tuna Cham­bers) and I also worked in Mah­mud Ma­gaji & Co (SAN) as a ju­nior coun­cel.

Can you tell us where your pas­sion for law started from and did you as a young woman see your­self be­com­ing a lawyer?

I al­ways dreamt of be­com­ing a diplo­mat. But as you grow older, you be­gin to change views, so when I was in SBRS, af­ter our ex­ams, (they usu­ally give you a form where you fill in what course you want to study), I filled in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions as first and sec­ond choices and law as third choice. At the end of the day, the best for me was cho­sen. Chal­lenges Be­ing a ju­nior lawyer; those were the pe­ri­ods when you were groomed to know how to han­dle cases. I can re­mem­ber there was a time our head of cham­bers asked me to stand in for him in a case. I was so scared be­cause I didn’t know what to do, and I was alone, so I went to him and asked, “Sir, what am I sup­posed to do.” And he replied, “Am I sup­posed to teach you what to say? You’re a lawyer. You should know what to do.” I left. But I still had to ask some col­leagues what I was sup­posed to do when I got to the court and they just ex­plained some things and ended telling me, “Aisha, you can do this.” At the end of the day I had the courage to face the judge and men­tion my case be­fore her and after­wards, I was happy I over­came my fear. Fond child­hood mem­o­ries When we were grow­ing up we were very keen of our par­ents be­cause we were al­ways to­gether. Ev­ery night my fa­ther took us out. We used to go to the fa­mous Agura Ho­tel. There’s a video club in the ho­tel where we usu­ally went to rent films. So he rented a lot of car­toons like Lion King which was a very fa­mous car­toon then. He did a lot of things for us, but as time went on, those things stopped.

I can’t say I was daddy’s girl, but I can say that our fa­ther is a type of per­son that likes ev­ery­body; all his chil­dren. You can’t tell who his favourite is. Maybe he has his favourite, but he never showed any dif­fer­ence or pref­er­ence. He car­ried ev­ery­body along.

One very good thing that sticks to my head till now is, it was af­ter I wrote WAEC and NECO, I brought back my re­sult and it wasn’t too good and he said, “What the hell? What did you bring home? You have to stand up for your­selves. One day I’m not go­ing to be there for you so you have to stand up and en­sure that you get this right now. If you don’t get it, what’s go­ing to happen to you?” So the way he spoke that day kept me think­ing. I think I grew up with it be­cause he made it known to me that life is chal­leng­ing and if you don’t get your­self ed­u­cated, you can’t be any­thing in this life. Life lessons In ev­ery stage in your life, you learn lessons. When grow­ing up, there’s a les­son that one has to learn that you have to be fo­cused. This was what I wanted; to be a graduate and be­come some­body some­day.

Sec­ondly, when you end up in the univer­sity, you find a lot of peo­ple. If you think you’re beau­ti­ful, you find a lot of peo­ple that are more beau­ti­ful than you. If you think you are bril­liant, there are peo­ple who are more bril­liant than you. So you have to be de­ter­mined and know what you re­ally want in life. That’s also a chal­lenge be­cause some­times peo­ple get afraid of hav­ing an op­po­nent or a com­peti­tor.

I have also learnt that you can never pre­dict peo­ple. So never ex­pect too much from them. The stage that I’m in now has taught me never to pre­dict peo­ple. Peo­ple can dis­ap­point you at any time. So just have it at the back of your mind that what­ever you’re do­ing, this per­son may end up dis­ap­point­ing you; fine, if they don’t; good for them and not for you. Tell us about your pet project My pet project is all about the girl child ed­u­ca­tion and also help­ing prison in­mates. The name of my pet project is called Bril­liant Girl Child Ini­tia­tive (BGCI) where we want to give girls an op­por­tu­nity to re­alise their po­ten­tials and be­come some­body to­mor­row. We have toured most of Bauchi. We have this ad­vo­cacy tour where we cre­ate aware­ness about how im­por­tant it is for the girl child to be ed­u­cated. We have gone to the six emi­rate coun­cils in Bauchi State. We had two emirs who went to the class with us, and they taught stu­dents, be­cause we want those stu­dents to em­u­late these lead­ers and make them un­der­stand that if they are not ed­u­cated, they can­not be like these emirs be­cause the emirs are ed­u­cated; that’s what brought them to where they are to­day. So they have to sit up, fo­cus and learn that ed­u­ca­tion is key to suc­cess.

We have also vis­ited girls’ schools where you find out that some girls are fac­ing a lot of chal­lenges. For in­stance, you have a sit­u­a­tion where they don’t have good san­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties. That is a big chal­lenge to girls be­cause it can stop them from at­tend­ing school. So we have been able to put up a toi­let fa­cil­ity in one of the schools be­cause we want our girls to go to school and be­come good peo­ple and also give back to so­ci­ety.

Is there a par­tic­u­lar in­stance that made you de­cide on this ini­tia­tive?

When you look at the north­ern part of Nigeria where it’s dom­i­nated mostly by Mus­lims, you re­alise there is this be­lief that be­cause of Is­lam, there should be a bar­rier for girls to be ed­u­cated. So be­cause of this, you re­alise a lot of fam­i­lies will not al­low their girls to go to school. I was very for­tu­nate that I went to school with­out any dif­fi­culty. Be­cause I had the op­por­tu­nity and ed­u­ca­tion has brought me to where I am to­day, there is need to give back to so­ci­ety so that we can have bet­ter girls than me. So that is the main idea as to why we brought up this ini­tia­tive. Like I said, in north­ern Nigeria, we need more ed­u­cated girls and women.

What have been the chal­lenges so far?


We have lim­ited re­sources; which is a big chal­lenge. You find there are a lot of things you’d want to put in place or peo­ple; es­pe­cially our girls to en­joy these fa­cil­i­ties, but be­cause of the chal­lenges we’re hav­ing with re­sources, we can’t do those things. So it’s one of the ma­jor chal­lenges.

I re­mem­ber when we were pick­ing up some girls that we want to sup­port. We picked up some that had never been to school and we went from house to house in order to in­form their par­ents and seek their per­mis­sion to al­low their wards and chil­dren to go to school. One fam­ily turned us down, say­ing their daugh­ter would never go to school.

How­ever, we tried to en­cour­age them that there was need for their daugh­ters to go to school.

For in­stance, women that are not ed­u­cated, es­pe­cially wid­ows, be­come a li­a­bil­ity to the so­ci­ety be­cause now that their hus­band’s are dead, and they have chil­dren, who will cater for the chil­dren? I can re­mem­ber one in­mate, who is now an ex-con­vict, sim­ply be­cause her hus­band died, she went to bor­row money, about N50, 000. She couldn’t re­pay and she got locked up. We had to go and res­cue her. She’s not old but she couldn’t stand up for her­self. Be­cause she’s not ed­u­cated she couldn’t un­der­stand the con­se­quences of her ac­tion, so we had to bail her out and give her some sup­port.

Some­times we also want to work hand in hand with gov­ern­ment to en­sure that it does projects like ren­o­va­tion of schools. You find out that be­cause a class­room or school doesn’t have roof, it’s not con­ducive for stu­dents to study. We can’t do it but we can call on the gov­ern­ment to help build or ren­o­vate classes for these chil­dren to have con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment to study.

With fund­ing be­ing one of the ma­jor chal­lenges; do you have plans for in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion?

We are look­ing for­ward to hav­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­ter­na­tional donors. We have also ap­proached two agen­cies, but I be­lieve ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion has its own ac­tiv­i­ties. And what we’ve been made to un­der­stand is that if an or­gan­i­sa­tion has its own ac­tiv­i­ties for ex­am­ple, are you go­ing to work on child mor­tal­ity or girl child ed­u­ca­tion? If they don’t have any­thing like girl child ed­u­ca­tion in their pro­gramme, there’s sim­ply noth­ing they can do for us. We’ll have to wait for when they have such a pro­gramme be­fore they can in­ter­vene. We’re still work­ing on ap­proach­ing some agen­cies in sha Al­lah be­cause the sec­re­tary of our group, who is the wife of the Deputy Gov­er­nor of Bauchi State, Ha­jiya Am­ina. She worked with NGOs; so she’s giv­ing us a clearer pic­ture. Grow­ing up I am sure if you ap­proach some­one from my fam­ily to­day they’ll tell you Aisha has changed be­cause I was on the quiet side. I minded my busi­ness. I was not the talk­a­tive type. I did things the way things were sup­posed to be done. That was grow­ing up for me. Joys of moth­er­hood I’ll say Al­ham­dulil­lah, Al­ham­dullil­lah and Al­ham­dullilah. How I met my hus­band I met him when I was posted to his law of­fice as a NYSC mem­ber. I was the only a cor­per in that of­fice. That’s how we met. I never thought that some­thing would happen and

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