Sunday, 30 December 2007

Benazir, Allah ya jikan ki

Ga hoton Benazir da na fi so. An dauke ta a ranar da ta dawo gida daga gudun hijira. Allah ya jikan ta, ya tona azzaluman da suka kashe ta, amin!

Monday, 24 December 2007

I Publish Tozali To Promote Northerners – Maimuna


Maimuna Y. Abubakar, the publisher of Tozali magazine, is an outgoing entrepreneur wading into the hazardous waters of magazine publishing in the North. But she has focus and verve - just some of the credentials anyone would need to triumph in the difficult terrain

By Ibrahim Sheme

She displays a knack for invention and initiative. A lawyer by profession, she has just come into the field of journalism. In order to bridge the wide gap between the South and the North in the media industry, she has taken up the challenge and pioneered a soft-sale monthly magazine titled Tozali (i.e. Eyeliner). For style, Tozali is published in the mold of True Love, the Lagos-based monthly magazine devoted to women’s affairs - fashion, relationships, food, entertainment, achievers, etc. In a recent interview, Maimuna Y. Abubakar, a single lady, spoke about what motivated her into the venture and her writing career.

She was a civil servant until recently, having worked with the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja for three years. She resigned in order to start legal practice and publication.

“I will be thirty by 28th December, this year,” she said with a smile. The humble looking publisher says she likes making friends, meeting people, and writing. “I love new discoveries, I love reading newspapers and I love humanity.”

Maimuna hails from Gombe town. She had her primary education in Bauchi and attended Government Girls’ College, Bauchi. From there she proceeded to the Bayero University, Kano, and read law.

“Actually, while I was growing up, I had different thoughts on whether I should read journalism or to be a lawyer, or to be a pilot,” she said. “In fact, it was confusing. So, when I went to BUK and got admitted, I applied for mass communication and law but I was given law.”

When she graduated in 2000, she did her National Youth Service Corps between 2001-2002 before proceeding to the Nigerian Law School in 2003. In December 2003, almost immediately after the law school, she got a job with the CAC and started work in January 2004. She quit two months ago.

What inspired the young publisher to begin to pursue her dreams in publishing a lifestyle magazine?

“Well, I think it’s a dream,” she answered after a hesitation. “People have passion for things. I have always had passion for write-ups, for magazines, you know, for knowing about people, for bringing people out. It’s not necessarily me, but bringing other people out, things like culture, like tourism and what have you. I think my going into publishing a magazine is like living my dream. Law is my career but magazine is my dream.”

But she wouldn’t see herself as a writer per se even though she had tried her hand at writing some pieces in the past – some few stories, sometimes tragedy, love stories and so on. “When I was growing up, I liked writing so much. Whenever I was offended or something, I’d rather write you a letter than call you and tell you that you offended me.”

This was what actually inspired her to go into publication – to express her mind. Maimuna loves reading magazines and had wished that she had her own, especially the down market types. But then which type of publication did she have in mind? Culture came to her mind easily – her background, where she comes from. “Whenever I pick up a magazine, I feel sad that it doesn’t reflect the Northern culture, our values, our way of life; it doesn’t even reflect our people, especially the entertainment magazines.” That was another motivation to go into the field and be different.

“I am addicted to magazines like Ebony, Cosmopolitan and others. I can say maybe they inspired me in a way I don’t know. But what actually inspired me were those southern (Nigerian) magazines that have fashion and style and true love stories.

“Whenever I looked at these magazines I felt the need to bridge the gap. The people, the style, the fashion and everything they portray in their magazines was Southern. Hardly would you see them featuring Northerners, so I just felt there was a need to bridge that gap.”

The North, she felt, was a huge reservoir of cultural stuff that needed to be tapped. Other magazines wouldn’t do it.

“We have a lot of things in the North. We have our artistes who are left behind. We have our women that are also not mentioned, and what have you. So, I just felt there was a need to bridge this gap. There was need to celebrate Northern people.”

Tozali is just that. The maiden issue is a 62-page glossy affair and printed on high quality art paper. Right from the cover it is the female face of a Northerner that looks back at you. Inside, there are features and interviews on weddings, fashion, beauty, food, books, politics, movies, health, royalty, travel and sports - all with a distinctive Northern touch. But for a women’s magazine (but probably with a reason), the men are not left out entirely; in fact, whereas only one photograph of a woman appears on the cover, there are two photographs of male politicians on the same cover.

The Abuja-based magazine is written in a friendly, down to earth diction that makes for easy reading. But the printing, layout and editing need improvement if it is to compete favourably with other magazines even in its area of coverage. Also, less-text-more-photos would help.

Any problem with being sectional, that is Northern? The barrister-publisher justifies her editorial focus very well.

“If you look at my editorial,” she said, “I stated that the main aim of my magazine is to celebrate Northern women, and lots more, so that they will be able to inspire others, like the younger ones coming up. I want to divert the attention of growing up Northerners from the Southern way of dressing, which is almost like dressing half naked and what have you, that is, over-exposing their body – all in the name of being fashionable. I want them to know that in our own Northern way, you can still wear the normal Northern clothes, the normal veil, and still look very fashionable.

“And again, in the Northern profile you could see that when you read people’s profiles you find out that they started from somewhere and it’s not as if they woke up one morning and became who they are. You know everything started somewhere. It starts from the scratch before you can bring it out to limelight so that people can start appreciating them.”

The maiden issue contains a revealing interview with Dr Ibrahim Tahir in which he exposes a lot about his upbringing and the background to some of his subsequent accomplishments. Such interviews are engaging and interesting, but they would be nicer if it is the women that are profiled, unless of course it is also meant to be a unisex publication.

Publishing in the North can be hazardous, what with the pathetic reading culture and poor response of advertisers. Nevertheless, Barrister Abubakar seems to be satisfied with the reaction of her readers.

“Whenever I try to find out from people, some of them would call from places like Bauchi, especially those who know me, and they are like, ‘Ah! I saw your magazine!’ It’s encouraging, because this is something new in the society.

“I think people find it amazing and great that somebody can actually do something like that for the North. Probably a lot of people wanted to do it but they just didn’t feel they were capable. That’s one funny thing about us Northerners: sometimes we just don’t feel as if we are capable of something until we start, but when we start, we find out that we are capable of doing it.”

There are at least three challenges that are very peculiar to Northern publishers of magazines and newspapers. One is the challenge of distribution and sales. Second is the challenge of getting advertisements to support the business venture, and the third is the poor reading culture in the region. A newcomer in this terrain must have a plan to overcome these.

“Well, before I went into this, I did my homework. I did some market survey,” Maimuna said confidently.

What kind of editorial focus does Tozali have? Is it going to be focused on ceremonies, like Ovation, or is it going to focus on developmental issues such as women in politics or personality profiles?

Maimuna answered, “I cannot deviate from politics because when you are celebrating a Northern career woman, you find out there is somebody else in politics celebrating them. And I don’t want to celebrate Northern women alone but also Northern men. In my magazine, I have a profile for men. Actually, what I want to do is to put the North in the limelight. My focus is the woman and her life generally in the North; as a career woman, as a family woman…

“You could see that women have several roles to play in the society. You may be a career person but you can also show people that you can also make it work at the home front.

“I would like to bring out women developmental projects like HIV/AIDS, child developmental projects, etc. I would also have a profile of people who have made it. We can have some event pictures. I am not saying events are my main focus but maybe there is an event and someone wants us to cover it, I would like to do it fast. So there are going to be fashion pages, beauty pages, a lot of events pages, cooking, and so on.”

Chewing too much? Trying to pack so much into one magazine? Are there chances that she could lose focus? To answer these triple questions, the publisher replied, “I don't think I can lose focus. The only thing is that I am trying to be objective about my vision so that whenever you grab a copy of the magazine, you will find something that will interest you, whether you are a woman or a man.”

Does that mean she has a policy such as she wouldn’t want her reporters to touch Southern issues?

“I would rather concentrate on Northern women,” came the reply. “I am not saying that I will not bring a Southerner into my paper, or bring a profile of a Southerner into my magazine, but my major concern is a Northern person. When I say that, I mean North irrespective of the area you come from. It is just a soft story about you.”

Finally, Maimuna was asked to make an appeal, if any, to Northern women vis-à-vis her magazine.

“I want to appeal for their support, their recognition, because I can’t do this thing alone without them. It is not as if I am doing it for my own self. I am doing it because I am a fellow Northerner; I am doing it because I want the North to go places so that everybody can see the North in a different perspective. I want people to see North in Nigeria and that there are Northerners in Nigeria and they have a special culture and a way of doing things which should be appreciated.”

So help her God.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Ibrahim Sheme - an interview

This interview was posted on

IBRAHIM SHEME, Editor of Leadership newspaper, is a bilingual writer who has made his mark in both English and Hausa literatures. A Journalism graduate of Cardiff University, UK, and publisher of Hausa home video magazine, Fim, he has produced quite a number of critically acclaimed works in both languages. And recently his latest novel in Hausa, Yar’tsana, won the maiden edition of Karaye Prize for Hausa Literature. In this interview with SUMAILA UMAISHA, he speaks on the prize and the state of Hausa Literature.

NNW: Recently you won the maiden edition of Karaye Prize for Hausa literature. How did you feel?

Ibrahim Sheme: I was really overjoyed to become the winner of the maiden edition of this particular prize. I was even more glad because it has been a very long time before any effort was made towards improving the quality of Hausa literature. I believe that literary awards do help bring out the best in any literary environment. So this award demonstrates the desire of some people to see that our literary values are improved.

There have been criticisms about Hausa literature not being as it used to be in terms of quality. Would you say this prize is a proof of the fact that the contemporary Hausa literature is now improving?

Let’s start with those criticisms. The people making those criticisms have the right to express their minds. But it does not mean that what they are saying is correct about the contemporary Hausa literature. The main criticism is that our writers have concentrated on romance instead of writing about the day to day problems of society, and that the quality of their writing is very low. Now, because of the deluge of books that the youths have been producing you find that it is difficult to sift out the good ones. Because people concentrate on the number that is being produced, they think there is no any good work available. But I can tell you that in the last few years there has been a tremendous push towards bringing out qualitative Hausa literary works. So this award is a proof that something good is coming out of the Hausa literary environment. When the award was announced, over 20 entries were received, after which the three winners emerged. These winners can be said to be the best out of the whole pack. So now it is up to people to go and look at the three winners as representatives of the best of our literature and assess them based on any yardstick and then see whether we have improved in the last few years or not.

Do you classify your writing as Kano Market Literature?

Well, Kano Market Literature has some characteristics. So in order to make any classification we have to know the characteristics. And I will tell you that the characteristics that the main critics of the so-called Kano Market Literature developed, I was the first person to list them in a newspaper even before the critics turned them into their own initiative. First, there is the question of romance. Most Kano Market Literature books tell love stories of young people. Secondly, the quality of production, the printing, is very low. They use very cheap paper to print their books. Some of them even recycle almanacs to print the cover of their books. And the books are mostly pamphlets. Then, of course, they are self-produced. They are not produced under any particular registered publishing company. They just write their thing, go to a business centre, typeset it and take it to a printer. Then there is a question of marketing. They take the books individually to some traders in Kano. You don’t see this books in established bookshops. Also the books are hardly edited. They contain very bad grammar; they don’t follow the rules of writing. You see dialogues without quotation marks, no comas where necessary. And they jam words together. You see five words jammed together. These are some of the characteristics. Now, if you look at the three winners and others that have entered, a lot of improvement have been made in the last few years. People now take their books to academics in the universities and fellow writers for editing.
Talking about the three winners. I will just talk about the two, the first and second winners, because the third one I have not read his book. My book, Yar’tsana is over two hundred and seventy pages. So, it is a standard size. It was edited by a lot of people. Some of the more virulent critics have read it and made recommendations, and I was forced to even make changes here and there in the story-line. It was published by Informart Publishers, which is a formal publishing company registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. I own the company but that does not make it self-publishing because it went through all the rigours of normal publishing. It abides by all the rules of grammar and it is not about romance. It is about prostitution, one of the social problems that bedevil our society. The other book, Matar Uba, by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu, which came second, also went through some rigours of publishing. I know, because it was first submitted to my company for publishing and I distributed copies to some people who edited it. I also read the book personally and edited it and made it ready for publishing. But eventually, the author withdrew it from the company, saying she wanted to have a look at it. And when she took it she also asked for the electronic copy. Then she just took it to a printing press and produced it herself. You could see that the quality of the printing does not meet our own standard. But by and large, it went through the rigours of editing. And the story is not about romance also. Now, this romance issue, let me say something about it. It is not because a book is about romance that it is essentially a Kano Market Literature as the critics are saying. You could produce a love story and win a Nobel prize with it. It depends on the way you told the story, the style you employed, and how the book is produced. So, romance may be a characteristics of Kano Market Literature but it is not always a negative thing.

Is this your first prize in Hausa literature?

No. In 1987, Kaduna State Government organized what was called Northern Nigerian Languages Novel Writing Competition. I entered that competition with my novel, Kifin Rijiya (The Ignoramus) and I came third in that competition. So this particular one I can say I’m the winner while in that one I was a runner-up.

What will this do to your writing career especially in Hausa literature?

This has assured me that I’m on the right track. It has also gingered up debate in the Hausa writing circles, which is largely based in Kano. I have had the privilege to be in a forum where the prize was discussed and I hear some Hausa writers talking about my writings. And on my own part I felt that I should also improve on what I write. I should introduce new styles in my writing in Hausa. I was also encouraged to keep on writing in my language. I realized that I don’t have to write in English language to gain popularity or gain acceptance. By this award I’m also assured that my work, Yar’tsana, is the best among all the books produced in the last five years. Because, this competition covered five years. So it is really encouraging.

What would you say to those who instituted the prize?

They have done a wonderful job. We have a saying in Hausa; ana zaton wuta a makera sai ta tashi a masaka. That literally means while fire is expected at the blacksmith’s shop, it was found in a textile factory. That means that the people who organized this award were not expected to have done it. First, Hajiya Bilkisu, who instituted the prize in memory of her late husband is a lawyer, her husband was an engineer, and the man who advised her to institute the prize, Patrick Oguejiofor, is an Ibo man. And some others like Emman Shehu and Ahmed Maiwada that helped to administer the prize are Christians even though they are Hausa. They did it because they believe in the universality of literary values. They believe that literature, in whatever language it is produced, is about humanity. Even the first literary competition in 1933 was organized by a white man, Mr. East. And the one in 1981 was organized by another Christian although he was a Hausa man, Garba Malumfashi by name. These are people who believe that Hausa literature should be improved. They don’t have any hidden agenda. They are just doing it because they believe somebody has to do it. So they have our commendation. The whole Hausa writing circle has been commending their efforts. And I think they should be encouraged by all to continue in their path. It is also a challenge to other people, especially our so-called leaders, to wake up to their responsibilities. They should institute this kind of competition not only in Hausa literature but in different spheres of life in Hausa land. When you organize any competition, even if it is a boxing competition, you are encouraging some excellence.

(c) Interview by Sumaila umaisha, published in the New Nigerian newspaper edition of 15th December, 2007.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Heroism of Ordinary People: An Interview with Helon Habila

This interview was published in LEADERSHIP on Monday

US-based Helon Habila, the award-winning Nigerian novelist, is currently on tour of Nigeria. Carmen MacCain talked to him in the US recently prior to his coming to Nigeria

Award winning novelist Helon Habila grew up in Gombe State. After earning his BA in English at the University of Jos in 1995, he taught at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi. Moving to Lagos in 1999, he became the arts editor at the Vanguard and wrote a novel, published as Waiting for An Angel in 2002, which won the Caine Prize for African Fiction in 2001 and the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2003. Habila has published stories, articles, and poems in journals world-wide and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia. After a stint as the first Chinua Achebe fellow at Bard College in New York, Habila took a position at George Mason University where he teaches creative writing. He is in Nigeria from November 17 to November 24 to promote his second novel Measuring Time. In this interview on behalf of LEADERSHIP, he speaks with Carmen McCain, a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, about his writing.

CARMEN MCCAIN: I was wondering what your creative process is like. Where do your stories come from?

HABILA: I really cannot say exactly, but I am really inspired by books. Sometimes I write in reaction to books I have read. Then there is also my experience: Measuring Time has a lot of that—my experiences as a child growing up. There was a time when I realised that I wanted to write about my hometown. From that moment whatever I did I viewed it through the eyes of fiction, thinking of how to represent the people I met, the things I did, the places I saw. I was thinking of them as already a part of my book that I was going to write. I was going to write Measuring Time even before I started writing Waiting for an Angel.

In both of your novels the act of writing itself seems to take on a political significance. What, to you, is the political responsibility of the writer?

Well, quite a lot, especially as an African writer. I think there is that tradition which started from the first generation of African writers. They were writing against the whole colonial system, which was very repressive, very racist, very dictatorial. They actually used to have congresses where they would discuss the best way to write fiction in a way that would address the political issues of the day. Even before that, in traditional African society, from the folk tales, there’s always a kind of moral lesson, a kind of didacticism that is seen as an aesthetic part of that story. So politics more or less becomes an aesthetic in African fiction. There are no boundaries between what is purely political and what is art. Art becomes politics and politics becomes art. So I think people like me who find themselves in that tradition, and have that temperament, that awareness of what is going on, who feel that things shouldn’t be the way they are, have a duty to speak out. It is tradition and it’s also a matter of temperament, because there are definitely writers in Africa who don’t write about politics. They write art for art’s sake, or whatever you want to call it.

Could you say more about the influences of Hausa literature on your writing?

Definitely. I grew up reading the translation of One Thousand and One Nights in Hausa and the works of Abubakar Imam, Magana Jari Ce, Ruwan Bagaja, etc. So there is that magical or folkloric representation of reality, which is very different from pure realism. I was definitely influenced by that. And before that I was also influenced by folktales told to me by women in the compound. So, these Hausa books I discovered later were almost a continuation of that story tradition with the magical elements, spirit figures and things like that.

Both of your novels deal with history. In Measuring Time, the character Mamo wants to write a biographical history. Is this one of your own goals?

Definitely, I think so. Because so much that we have is fast fading away and being taken over by the modern, I see writing itself as cultural conservation. That is exactly what Mamo’s project is, conserving the history of people…, because they were misrepresented by the [missionary] Reverend Drinkwater. If you represent what has been misrepresented, you are putting the records right. And that is what history is supposed be. Taking moments of glory, and also ordinary moments—moments of humanity, of value to the community, and putting it down in books. It doesn’t have to be about generals, it doesn’t have to be about chiefs, it could be about ordinary people, their heroism. That is the whole point of the book, that lives should be celebrated, regardless of what office or what lack of office that person has.

Newton Aduaka, the winner of the Golden Yennenga Stallion at the FESPACO film festival, is making a film based on Waiting for an Angel. How involved have you been with this?

I’m not really involved. I’m just the author of the novel. I see film as being totally different from literature. They are both narrative art forms, but they have different ways of representing their story, their subject. I trust him as an artist. I think my novel is strong enough to stand on its own, even if the movie is a bit different in some of its portrayals.

Have you ever thought of writing a screenplay or becoming involved in film?

I really want to do that some day. Some people approached me to write a movie script. I started writing it and then it became a novel! I’m really enjoying the experience. I don’t know how far it’s going to go, but I’m definitely going to go into movies one of these days. To write, or even direct, if I have the chance. The movie industry is just incredible, and I think this is the moment to get involved.
All right, thank you so much.
Thank you, you’re welcome.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr Habila is scheduled to do a reading from his novels on November 21 at NuMetro, Abuja.

Ci-gaban Adabin Hausa: Ina Hausawan Ne?

Daga Ibrahim Sheme

(An buga wannan sharhin a filin Adabi na jaridar LEADERSHIP HAUSA ta ranar Juma'a ta makon jiya)

Kwanan nan aka yi wani }asaitaccen biki na karrama marubutan Hausa uku wa]anda su ka yi zarra a gasar rubuta littattafan hikaya na Hausa don tunawa da marigayi Injiniya Mohammed Bashir {araye, wanda tsohon kwamishina ne a Jihar Kano. Mai]akin marigayin, Hajiya Bilkisu Abdulmalik Bashir, wadda ita ce Sakataren Zartaswa ta Hukumar Aikin Shari’a ta {asa (Executive Secretary, National Judicial Service Council), ita ce ta ]auki nauyin shirya gasar. {ungiyar Marubuta ta Nijeriya (ANA), reshen Babban Birnin Tarayya, Abuja,ita ce ta gudanar da bikin. A tarihin adabin Hausa, ba a ta~a yin gagarumin bikin karrama marubuta irin wannan ba. Taron da za a iya kwatanta shi da wannan shi ne wanda aka yi a kamfanin buga littattafai na Gaskiya Corporation da ke Zariya lokacin da aka }addamar da sabon bugu na wasu daga cikin littattafan Alhaji Abubakar Imam, cikin 1981, wanda ba a da]e da yin taron ba Allah ya ]auki ran shi Alhaji Imam. To amma ko wancan taron na Zariya bai ko kama }afar wannan ba wajen bun}asa da alfarma. Abin sai wanda ya gani!

Wani abu da ya ba mutane da dama mamaki game da wannan gasa shi ne yanayin su wa]anda su ka shirya gasar. Irin abin nan ne da ake cewa ana zaton wuta a ma}era, sai ta tashi a masa}a. Na farko, mutumin da ya fara kawo shawarar shirya gasar, ba Bahaushe ba ne. Inyamiri ne mai suna Mista Patrick Tagbo Ogujiofor. Ma’aikaci ne a wannan hukuma ta aikin shari’a, inda shi ne jami’in ya]a labarai. A bayanin da ya yi a jarida kwanan baya, Ogujiofor ya ce tunanin shirya gasar ta faru ne a bara, lokacin da su ka je ta’aziyyar rasuwar Injiniya Bashir {araye. A lokacin, uwar]akin sa Hajiya Bilkisu ta ]an furta cewa mijin ta mai }aunar karance-karancen littattafan Hausa ne da kuma son ha~aka adabi. Wannan abu ne wanda kusan dukkan masu ruwa da tsaki a harkar adabin Hausa ba su sani ba, domin kuwa yawancin su ba su yi mu’amala da shi Injiniyan ba.

To, inda kaya su ka tsinke a gindin kaba shi ne, shi Patrick wani }usa ne a harkar rubuce-rubuce, amma fa da Turanci. Ya ta~a ri}e mu}amin shugaban }ungiyar ANA ta Jihar Yobe, lokacin ya na aiki a can. Mutum ne mai son al’amuran Hausa, kuma ya na jin Hausa kamar jakin Kano. Kai, matar sa ma Bahaushiya ce!

Saboda haka sai ya ba wa Hajiya shawarar cewa ya kamata ta shirya wani abu wanda zai sa a ri}a tunawa da marigayin. Nan take sai ta amince da hakan. Su ka tsara cewa a shirya gasar rubutu ga marubutan Hausa. Wani abu da zai ba ka mamaki kuma shi ne, ita kan ta Hajiya Bilkisun ba Bahaushiya ba ce. ’Yar }abilar Igbirra ce daga Jihar Kogi. Amma wannan bai hana ta amincewa ta ]auki nauyin shirya gasar ba.

Patrick kuma memba ne a }ungiyar ANA ta Abuja. Sai ya shigo da }ungiyar cikin al’amarin, inda shi da shugaban }ungiyar, wato Dakta Emman Usman Shehu, su ka shiga fafutikar shirya gasar. Ina jin in ban da shi Emman Shehu da kuma wani lauya Bazazzagi, marubuci, mai suna Ahmed Maiwada, babu Bahaushe a }ungiyar. Wa]annan bayin Allah sun yi aiki tu}uru wajen shirya wannan gasa har Allah ya sa aka yi ta aka gama lafiya.

Na ba ku wannan dogon tarihin ne don ku fahimci cewa ba Hausawa ka]ai ba ne su ke da kishin ci-gaban adabin Hausa. Za ma mu iya cewa su Hausawan, musamman Musulmin cikin su, ba su damu sosai da ci-gaban al’adun su ba; sau da yawa su kan bari wasu can su shirya musu hanyoyin ha~aka al’adun su, musamman a fannin rubutu.

Ga hujja. Gasar rubutu ta farko da aka shirya, a cikin 1933, wani Bature ne jigon yin ta. Baturen, Mista Rupert M. East, jami’in ilmi ne a Zariya. Shi Turawan mulkin mallaka su ka ]ora a kan aikin. A wannan gasar ne aka samu marubuta zufin farko, irin su Abubakar Imam, Abubakar Tafawa-|alewa, Bello Kagara, Muhammadu Gwarzo da John Tafida Wusasa. Haka kuma gasar da aka yi a cikin 1982, Garba Asiwaju Malumfashi ne jagoran shirya ta. Bahaushe ne, to amma fa Kirista. Ya shirya gasar a matsayin sa na daraktan al’adu a Ma’aikatar Al’adu ta Tarayya, ba domin addini ba, sai don ha~aka adabin Hausa. A gasar ne aka samu marubuta irin su Sulaiman Ibrahim Katsina da Bature Gagare.

Ita kan ta wannan gasar da aka yi a bana, yawancin masu shirya ta ba Musulmi ba ne; ina nufin su Patrick, Emman Shehu da Ahmed Maiwada. Biyun }arshe Hausawa ne, to amma ba Musulmi ba ne. Sun shirya gasar ne ba tare da sun sa tunanin addini a ran su ba, a’a sai don su ga yadda za a yi a inganta adabin Hausa, tare da ma}udan ku]in da Hajiya Bilkisu ta bayar.

Shin ina Hausawa su ke? Ina Musulmi? Wa]annan tambayoyin su na daga cikin wa]anda ni da Farfesa Abdalla Uba Adamu, ]aya daga cikin al}alan da su ka yi hukunci kan wannan gasa ta Injiniya Bashir {araye, mu ka yi wa kan mu ita lokacin da shi Malam Abdalla ya zo Abuja don halartar taron karrama marubutan da su ka yi zarra a gasar. Gaskiyar magana ita ce, Hausawa Musulmi ba su damu da ha~aka al’adun su ba, musamman ma dai a wannan zamanin. Ba su ]auki rubutu da wani muhimmanci ba.

Sau da yawa, Hausawa Musulmi so su ke a ma daina rubutun. Kamar yadda Hajiya Balaraba Ramat Yakubu, ]aya daga cikin zakarun gasar Injiniya {araye, ta fa]a a hirar ta da aka buga a jaridar Leadership Hausa a makon jiya, a Kano an da]e ana }o}arin dur}usar da rubutun hikaya na Hausa na wannan zamanin. An yi tsinuwa da zage-zage a masallatai; an ce marubuta ne manyan masu gur~ata tarbiyya a }asar Hausa. Kuma abin sai }ara gur~acewa ya ke yi. Misalin hakan shi ne yadda kwanan baya Hukumar A Daidaita Sahu ta Jihar Kano ta shirya gangamin }ona littattafan Hausa, inda har Sarkin Kano sai da ya halarta kuma ya jagoranci cinna wa tarin littattafan wuta.

Kwanan nan kuma Hukumar Tace Finafinai ta Jihar Kano ta fito da wata doka mai ban-dariya da takaici, inda ta ce tilas ne duk littafin da za a buga a Jihar Kano sai an kai mata shi ta karanta ta amince tukuna, bayan kuwa ga shi ba ta da masana masu lokacin yin wannan aiki. A kaikaice, manufar dokar ita ce ta hana yin rubutun kwata-kwata.

Wani abin juyayi shi ne, yawancin masu sukar littattafan hikaya na Hausa ba masu karanta su ba ne. Ba su san abin da ke cikin littattafan ba. Su a ]an }aramin tunanin su, babu abin da ke cikin littattafan sai labaran soyayya, sharholiya, batsa, zinace-zinace, shan muggan }wayoyi, da sauran su. Kawai idan an samu littafi }waya ]aya mai ]auke da wani abu wanda bai yi musu da]i ba, ko wata she]ara a cikin wani littafi, shikenan an samu makamin farfaganda, a shiga kafafen ya]a labarai ana kumfar baki. Ba za a fa]i dalilin yin littafin da aka yi ba (misali, idan an ga batsa a wata she]ara, a ce an yi ta ne don ta dace da muhallin ta). Kuma ba za a ta~a yin nuni da duk wani littafi mai ]auke da irin koyarwar da su masu sukar su ke so a yi ba. Ba za su ba da misali da littattafan da su ka dace da tunanin su ba, a’a sai dai wannan }waya ]ayan. Ka ga kenan ana yin al}alanci cikin jahilci. Hakika, na san wani al}alancin ana yin sa ne da gangan don a shafa wa marubuta kashin kaji.
Sannan kuma su masu sukar, daga hukumomi zuwa ]ai]aikun mutane, ba su yin komai don agaza wa marubutan. Ba su shirya taron wayar da kai, ba su yin wa’azantarwa, ba su ba da tagomashi na ku]i, ba su shirya gasar rubutu su gindaya }a’idojin da su ke so, kuma ba su sayen littattafan. Hukumar A Daidaita Sahu ta alamta yun}urin agaza wa marubutan, to amma abin da ta yi kamar ka ]iga ruwa ne a hamadar rairayi. Wani rufin-]uwan-’yan-bori (an rufe gaba, ba a rufe baya ba) kuma da hukumar ta yi shi ne gangamin }ona littattafan marubuta da ta yi, wa]anda kamata ya yi ta ja su a jika, ta saka su kan hanyar da ta ga ya dace.

Abin mamaki, akwai daga cikin masu nazari da marubuta wa]anda ke yin furutan da ke }ara iza wutar }yama ga marubutan. A marubuta, akwai }yashi da hassada da kuma tunanin in-ba-ni-ba-to-ba-wanda-ya-iya. Idan ka dubi surutan da ake yi wa juna a tsakanin }ungiyoyin marubuta na Kano, to ka san lallai da sauran aiki.

Sannan manazarta/masana irin su Malam Ibrahim Malumfashi (wanda ke kan hanyar zama cikakken farfesa a fagen adabi) sun yi ayyukan da ke tabbatar da cewa manufar su ba ta kawo gyara ba ce; kawai su na yin sukar neman suna su ke yi, ba tare da sun kawo tabbatattun hujjoji na sukar da su ke yi ba. Haka kuma abin ba}in ciki shi ne, duk da yake wai a jami’a su ke, su ma a tsakanin su akwai }yashi da hassada irin ta malaman zaure. Babu shakka, Malumfashi shi ne kan gaba wajen ~ata sunan marubutan Hausa na wannan zamani; da gangan ya }i yarda ya fito rana a gan shi, ya la~e cikin duhun tarihi, ya na bautar shu]a]]un gumaka. Idan wani al’amari ya taso na yadda za a yi a inganta adabin Hausa, to ba ya ciki.

Babu wata }asa mamallakiyar babban harshe da ya kai gawurtar harshen Hausa inda tsirarun manazarta da ’yan kazagin su masu }aramin ilmi su ke farfagandar jawo koma-baya a fagen adabi kamar }asar Hausa. Sai dai abin mamaki, da yake sukar adabi ba ta hana adabi ya]o, har yanzu rubutun ake. Ya }i mutuwa ballantana a yi jana’izar sa. Masu jiran ganin kushewar sa sun ha}a kabari mai zurfi, su na ri}e da farin alawayyon yi masa likkafani, to amma akwai alamun cewa har su mutu shi adabin Hausar ba zai mutu ba. Wannan kabarin da su ka ha}a, su za a rufe a ciki.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


It's me here interviewing Cyprian Ekwensi, in Ilesha, south-western Nigeria, some years back. The interview was published in the Weekly Trust when I was that paper's Literary Editor.

Chief Ekwensi died on Sunday at the age of 86.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Cyprian Ekwensi, Foremost Writer, Dies At 86

This story was published in today's issue of LEADERSHIP:-

Chief Cyprian Odiatu Duakwa Ekwensi, author of several popular novels and short stories, is dead. He died at the age of 86.

Ekwensi was born in Minna in Northern Nigeria on September 26, 1921 and later lived in Onitsha in his ancestral east.

He was educated at Government College, Ibadan, and Achimota College, Ghana. He later studied pharmacy at the Yaba Technical Institute, Lagos, and graduated from the Chelsea School of Pharmacy, United Kingdom, in 1956. He read Forestry at the School of Forestry, Ibadan.

The late Ekwensi worked for two years as a forestry officer and taught Pharmacy for a couple of years at Igbobi College, Lagos. He was employed as a pharmacist by the Nigerian Medical Corporation.

Ekwensi was regarded as father of the modern African novel on city life.

He went into creative writing as a vocation, publishing his first novel, When Love Whispers, in 1948. He went on to produce other novels, including An African Night's Entertainment (1948), The Boa Suitor (1949), People of the City (1954), Passport of Mallam Iliya (written in 1948 but published in 1960), The Drummer Boy (1960), Jagua Nana (1961), Burning Grass (1962), Beautiful Feathers (1963), Iska (1966), as well as hundreds of short stories and essays. He was for many years a columnist with Drum magazine and later Monthly Life magazine.

He also published a number books for children. Under the name C.O.D. Ekwensi, he released Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales (1947) and The Leopard's Claw (1950). In the 1960s, he wrote An African Night's Entertainment (1962), The Great Elephant-Bird (1965), and Trouble in Form Six (1966). His later works for children include Coal Camp Boy (1971), Samankwe in the Strange Forest (1973), Samankwe and the Highway Robbers (1975), Masquerade Time! (1992), and King Forever! (1992). In recognition of his skills as a writer, he was awarded the Dag Hammarskjold International Prize for Literary Merit in 1968.

Ekwensi joined the Nigerian Ministry for Information and rose to be Nigeria’s first indigenous Director of Information at independence. With first military coup in 1966, culminating in the disturbances in the Western and Northern regions that year, Ekwensi gave up his position and relocated to Enugu where he joined the secessionist government of Biafra. He became chairman of the Bureau for External Publicity in Biafra and an adviser to the head of state, Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu.

After the war he moved to Lagos where he spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity.

In 1999 he was honoured with the chieftaincy title of Osi Baarohin of Ibadanland and was inducted Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters in 2006. He was also a recipient of the Nigerian national honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).

He is survived by a wife, nine children and many grandchildren.

A statement signed yesterday by his son Georges Chiedu Ekwensi on behalf of the bereaved family said that the late sage’s funeral arrangements would be announced by the family in due course.


At a well-attended and very successful 26th International Convention of The Association of Nigerian Authors which held from 1-4 Nov. 2007 at Disney Hotel And Resort,Owerri, Imo State,the following were elected into the National Executive Council to serve for a tenure of two years:

1.Dr. Wale Okediran-President
2 Dr Jerry Agada-Vice President
3 Denja Abdullahi-General Secretary
4 Hyacinth Obunseh-Asst Gen Sec
5 B M Dzukogi- Treasurer
6 Maryam Ali Ali-Financial Secretary
7 Alkasim Abdulkadir-P.R.O North
8 Ebika Anthony- P.R.O South
9 Chief Charry Ada Onwu-Auditor
10 Prof.Festus Emiri- Legal Adviser
11 Miesoinuma Minima-Ex-Officio
12 Omale Allen Abduljabbar-Ex-Officio
13 Greg Mbajiorgu- Ex-Officio
14 Aliyu Sanni- Ex-Officio

May I on behalf of the newly elected executive thank the congress at the convention and the generality of Nigerian writers at home and abroad for their ovelwhelming support.We promise not to let you down and take Nigerian literature and the affairs of Nigerian authors to higher heights.


Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Matar marigayi Injiniya Mohammed Bashir Karaye ta na ba ni kyauta ta farko a wurin bikin ba da kyaututtuka na gwarzayen marubutan Hausa

Helon Habila tours 5 states in November

The following is a statement from Jerry Adeswo, publicist for Cassava Republic Press, Abuja, on the visit to Nigeria by our own Helon Habila, author of Waiting for an Angel and Measuring Time.

19th October 2007

Press release

Helon Habila tours 5 states in November

Caine Prize winner Helon Habila is due in Nigeria for a six-city reading tour from the 17th to 26th of November 2007. The tour is expected to take Habila to Lagos, Abuja, Nassarawa, Jos and Gombe. It will feature readings from Nigerian editions of his latest book, Measuring Time, and the award-winning Waiting for an Angel.

Helon Habila was the first Nigerian writer to gain international recognition after the Abacha regime and is the leading figure in the new crop of Nigerian writers that have been feted and celebrated all over the world. Since the launch of his latest book Measuring Time to critical acclaim in February this year, Habila has embarked on a world tour, reading to packed audiences at all the major literary festivals. Helon has chosen to end his tour in Nigeria in order to celebrate his 40th birthday in the land that gave birth to his creativity and is the subject of all his writing to date.

The Nigerian tour, organised by Habila’s Nigerian publishers Cassava Republic Press will include public book signings, private reading, writing workshops and seminars with secondary school students in FCT and Gombe. The reading tour will be supported by poets and singers.

The itinerary for the tour is as follows:

Lagos: 17th November 2007 NuMetro Silverbird Gallaria, Victoria Island, 5.30pm

Abuja: 21st November 2007 NuMetro, Ceddi Plaza 6pm

Nassawara: 21st November 2007 Nassawara State University

Jos: 22nd November 2007, University of Jos, 10.30am

Gombe: 23rd November 2007 Gombe State University 11.00am

Please, find attached other relevant materials about the Michael Caine Prize for African Writing, Cassava Republic Press and Helon Habila and his writings.

Call Jerry Adeswo 08034530786, 08052771123 Cassava Republic Press Publicist

* Helon Habila was born in Kaltungo, Gombe State. He studied literature at Uni. Jos and graduated in 1995. He taught at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, before moving to Lagos to work as a journalist. In Lagos he wrote his first novel, Waiting for an Angel, which won the Caine Prize in 2001. In 2002 he moved to England to become the African Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia. After his fellowship he enrolled for a PhD in Creative Writing.

His writing has won many prizes including the Commonwealth Writers Prize, 2003, MUSON Poetry Prize 2000. In 2005-2006 he was the first Chinua Achebe Fellow at Bard College in New York, he was also the William B. Quarton fellow in 2004 at the University of Iowa International Writing Programme and the John Farrar Fellow in Fiction at the 2003 Bread Loaf Writers. He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review, in 2006 he co-edited the British Council's anthology, New Writing 14 and the Anthology Miracles, Dreams and Jazz. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in the USA where he lives with his family.


ANA Convention begins in Owerri today. Here's a statement sent to me by my friend Denja, who is the secretary-general of ANA:

The panel of judges for the Association of Nigerian Authors' (ANA) Annual Literary Prizes met in Abuja from the 12th – 13th October, 2007 to bring out a shortlist for the 2007 edition after critically sifting through over 200 entries for the various categories of the prizes. The following creative works and writers in alphabetical order emerged as front liners in each category. The eventual winners will be announced at the awards dinner of the 26th International Convention taking place in Owerri from 1st – 4th November, 2007.

1. Nadia and other Stories – Hadiza Suleman
2. Tales by the Fluorescent – Lizi Ashimole

1. Olekanma and the Famine – Lizi Ashimole
2. Between Rats and Men – Ngozi Ifeyinwa Razak-Soyebi
3. A Grain of Mustard – Spencer Okoroafor

1. Three Women – Bunmi Oyinsan
2. Waiting for Maria – Ifeoma Chinwuba
3. Yellow–Yellow – Kaine Agary
4. Echoes of a Heartbeat – Lilian Amah

1. Nine Lives – El–Nukoya
2. Dreamers – Femi Ojo–Ade
3. Vision Impossible – Isidore Emeka Uzoatu

1. Adventures of Bingo and Bomboy – Henry Akubuiro
2. The Chief of the Drums – Osarobu Igudia
3. Chike and the Pigeon and Other Stories - Uche Peter Umez

1. Yellow–Yellow – Kaine Agary
2. My Grandfather – Richard Ovuorho
3. The Activist – Tanure Ojaide

1. Tata Morgana – Chika Unigwe
2. The Keeper of Secrets – Ifeanyi Ajaegbo
3. Unbridled – Jude Dibia

1. Letter from the Earth – Albert Otto
2. Love Apart – Hyginus Ekwuazi
3. The Horsemen and other Poems – Obi Nwakanma

1. Idemili – Ahmed Yerima
2. Closed Doors – Julie Okoh
3. Futonje: Our Love – Ziky O. Kofoworola

1. Love Apart – Hyginus Ekwuazi
2. Tender Moments (Love Poems) – Niyi Osundare
3. The Horsemen and other Poems – Obi Nwakanma

Prof. Chidi T. Maduka - University of Portharcourt
Dr Muazu Maiwada - ABU, Zaria
Dr. Sunday E. Ododo - University of Ilorin
Prof. (Mrs.) Abiola Odejide - University of Ibadan
Dr. (Mrs.) Vicky Sylvester - University of Abuja


1. The Mind of a Child - Stella Obi
2. A Rope with Three Chords is Difficult to Break - Towunmi Coker
3. Grandpa’s Tales – (No Cover Page, No Name)

Omowunmi Segun – Ibadan
E.E. Sule – Nassarawa State University
Dr. Martins Akpan – Uyo

1. Odogwu Be Anyi - Perpetua Nnenna Ihebori
2. Onukwughaa - Wingate Emmanuel Onyechi

Mrs Carolyn Mbata – Alvan Ikoku COE, Owerri

Twelve (12) entries were received and are currently receiving attention with the judges. A shortlist would be out before the convention.

General Secretary, ANA
13th October, 2007

Would You Want To Give Yar’Adua A Third Term?

Published on the back page of LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, 28th October 2007

Would You Want To Give Yar’Adua A Third Term?

By Ibrahim Sheme

The original title of this piece was, “Hero of the Revolution,” but I was persuaded at the last minute to change it to what you see now. And you will know why as we approach the end of this column. To begin with, the question as to whether President Umaru Yar’Adua would want to have or should be given a third term in office will sound unthinkable, mischievous and, indeed, unpatriotic to all lovers of democracy. And I regard myself as one of them. No Nigerian leader should be allowed to rule beyond the tenure stipulated for him or her by the constitution, and no one should be allowed to tinker with the two-term limit in existence today unless of course if it is to reduce the number of years from four years to three in the first term or a maximum of seven years instead of eight for two terms. But in a country such as ours, where values are spelt correctly but read backwards, where compromises are made as easily as joining and quitting political parties at whim (and I am not referring to Abubakar Rimi’s sudden switch back to his original party), one shouldn’t expect any surprises. Political jobbers are always looking for cracks in the wall in order to sneak in their diabolical agenda because doing so would help guarantee their survival and growth on the arena.

Hang me if you catch me campaigning for anyone’s third term – because it is unconstitutional and, in any case immoral. I decided to re-headline this column out of a personal study of the debate on the Etteh affair. There is a clear link, even if at first imperceptible to the ordinary eye, between the scandal in the House of Representatives and the political future of this country vis-à-vis the role of the president in resolving this and similar crises. For at the height of the crisis, before Hon. Patricia Etteh shifted ground and agreed to give her opponents a chance to appoint a so-called speaker pro-tempore, not a few commentators did ask Yar’Adua to step into the crisis. Some of those commentators are some of the leading lights in our national consciousness. This makes it all the more disappointing because the task of leading this country out of the deep woods, where it has been stuck for ages, rests squarely on their proud shoulders.

They know quite well, probably more than you and I, that it is not the job of the president to delve into this matter no matter how bad it has become. They need not be reminded about the constitutional provisions that make separation of powers between the three arms of government – the executive, the judiciary and the legislature – an unshakeable pillar cornerstone of our brand of multi-party democracy. Yet they asked President Yar’Adua to ignore this all-important proviso and call Mrs Etteh to order and make her resign or “step aside” (whatever that means). I can’t remember reading any commentator pointing out any section of the constitution where the president is required by law to intervene in such constitutional crises. But yes there is no such section in the books. Therefore, since the constitution has made it abundantly clear that Yar’Adua has no business forcing anything on the legislators, why did our commentators, including my professional colleagues in the media, ask him to do so?

There may be other reasons, but the main ones are the Nigerian’s incurable incapacity to quickly remember events of the recent past as well as his cunning desire to cut corners in order to achieve short term, nay selfish, benefits. I shall elucidate. It is almost generally agreed that our democracy during the Obasanjo years (1999-2007) was an aberration, something akin to a sheep with a donkey’s (or a hyena’s) head. The body was that of a sheep while the head was that of Obasanjo. It was not what Nigerians voted for. They had voted for a system that would entrench respect for the rule of law while working in the interest of the nation, not self. But what they saw on their plate was untenable – a Godzilla which fed on lawlessness, fear and loathing, an unspeakable contraption that looked like a sheep but was in reality a hungry hyena feeding on the carcass of our collective fears and passivity. The simple reason was because the president believed sincerely that democracy bore the same spelling as his own name and that he it was who should set the rules of the game in Nigeria, not the legislatures. He turned the Senate and the Reps into his personal napkin which must take any of his dirt.

The hyena of that era had chopped many heads, including those of Evans Enwerem (now late), Audu Ogbeh and, a few rungs down the ladder, Ghali Umar Na’abba. The blood of those political martyrs was splashed all over the skin of that absurd system. Ogbeh was reported to have had a gun pointed at his temple when he became recalcitrant and told to sign a prepared resignation letter as chairman of the ruling party. An earlier chairman of the party, Anyim Pius Anyim, who fought gallantly, still had to leave his seat when the president continued to turn the screws on him; today as Baba continues to play big in Abuja, Anyim is battling harder than normal to realise his ambition of becoming the chairman of the ruling PDP as a result of his past tackles. Many other politicians are nursing the painful wounds of their opposition to Obasanjo in one way or the other.

It was the power that Obasanjo seized from the constitution, like a coup-maker, which gave him the chance to ride roughshod on our nascent democracy. The whole idea about securing a third term in office, which would have grown into a bigger monstrosity – the fabled life presidency – was inspired by lawlessness. And lawlessness was earned through subterfuge. Again, you know that subterfuge is got through various little devilish acts, one of which is intervening in legislative duties by a civilian president. Unlike Yar’Adua, Chief Obasanjo did start to delve in house matters early enough. That was because he saw the system in place as a result of events surrounding him, such as giving him the presidency on a platter off gold by some self-serving army generals. Having “been there” as a head of state two decades earlier had also made him paternalistic, regarding every elected person as either his son or his daughter. As such, any sign of independence by any legislator (ask Na’abba) would be regarded as a sign of child-like impetuousness and rascality. In most times, the child was flogged heavily.

To be fair to those urging President Yar’Adua to intervene in the house scandal, however, one would say that some are doing so strictly out of patriotic concern. They have watched how members of the house were acting like campus politicians with all the rambunctious razzmatazz, name-calling and overzealous schemes. They feared that things were getting out of hand and, if something urgent was not done, someone could get seriously hurt. One of those tiny political parties even warned that a military coup could take place. As it turned out, one of their worst fears had come to pass; a member of the House of Representatives and confidante of the president, Dr Aminu Shu’aibu Safana, a cardiac patient, slumped and died when he got worked up during a session of the house.

Nevertheless, I daresay most of those appealing for executive intervention in the Etteh affair are unwittingly or mischievously trying to create an Obasanjo in Yar’Adua. By urging him to scold Etteh privately or otherwise, they are telling him to break the law. Now that was exactly what his godfather, the former president, did and attracted opprobrium at home and abroad. As indicated above, Obasanjo’s carrot and stick treatment of the last National Assembly was responsible for making that tier of government subservient to him and its failure to impeach him on many attempts. During his presidency, legislators were at his beck and call. Many dirty things were committed, some of which are still being covered up by those involved. For a lot of Nigerians, the Nigeria of that era was a dangerous one in which to live as many found out when it was too late.

The problem with such intervention is that you do not know just when it will stop. We shouldn’t expect Alhaji Yar’Adua to get actively involved in this crisis and not expect him to participate in another. Nigeria being one of the most problematic countries in the world, soon enough he would find himself enmeshed in so many constitutional crises that he would find it near impossible to devote his mind to the serious business of administering the nation.

The constitution has created different ways of solving crises without the president’s personal involvement. If Nigerians are not satisfied with those provisions, they should canvass constitutional amendment as soon as possible. I tend to think that even where Etteh is concerned, his friends could have spoken to persons on both sides of the disagreement without being appointed his official emissaries. That is the African way working in a Western-type democracy. The PDP had begun to broker a truce in the matter which became messy because it was done the Obasanjo style. Presumably that intervention was not the president’s but the initiative of tireless old man Ahmadu Ali. If Yar’Adua had texted Ali and said, “Oga, pls talk 2 reps on etteh prblm.,” that should be fine with any democrat. In simple terms, that would be indirect lobbying and we would read about it only if Ali publishes his memoirs when he retires – if he will ever retire. But for Yar’Adua to extend his long arm into the problem, that would be unconstitutional. The same crowd which is barking at him to intervene would turn around and ask for his head.

Happily, the crisis is from the look of things ending. Madam speaker is leaving her seat on Tuesday to allow the house appoint a “temporary” speaker or chairman. The general thinking is that she would then be gone for good because no one has ever stepped aside and came back to their former position. Apparently Yar’Adua did not intervene the Nigerian way. The speaker must have been weighed down by the moral burden of the problem and decided to accede to the demands of her colleagues and other Nigerians. The drums of revolution in the house have finally reached a crescendo with this final decision by Mrs Etteh. But the president’s decision to sit on the fence while the crisis lasted has compelled this writer to regard him as the real winner in the tug-o’-war. Add this to his stance on the judicial process going on in the various election tribunals in the states, where his son-in-law and friends have lost their gubernatorial positions. The courage he has shown in the midst of intense pressure has tested the nation’s experiment with democracy. He is the hero of the quiet revolution going on in our polity, a revolution against the Obasanjo era’s self-centredness. He is gradually changing Nigeria for good. Yar’Adua should be encouraged to continue this way, for there are bound to be such cases in the future. That is, assuming that the Etteh affair will end from her stepping aside this week.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Sheme, Balaraba and Maje emerge winners

Here's a news feature in today's issue of Leadership:

Sheme, Maje and Balaraba at the award ceremony at the International Conference Centre, Abuja

Engineer Mohamed Bashir Karaye Prize in Hausa Literature

Sheme, Balaraba and Maje emerge winners


Three writers emerged yesterday as winners of the maiden edition of Engineer Mohamed Bashir Karaye Prize in Hausa Literature. The investiture of the prize took place at an impressive ceremony organised by the Abuja chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). Editor of LEADERSHIP, Ibrahim Sheme, took the first prize with his novel, 'Yartsana, while Hajiya Balaraba Ramat Yakubu and Maje El-Hajeej Hotoro came second and third with their novels, Matar Uba Jaraba and Kankana respectively.
The prize was endowed by the widow of the late Mohammed Bashir Karaye, a former commissioner in Kano State and an ardent lover of the arts. The widow, Mrs Bilkisu A. Bashir, who is the Executive Secretary of National Judicial Service Commission, Abuja, was inspired by a desire to immortalise her husband's memory.

The Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi; a former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais and a former minister and ambassador, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher were some of the dignitaries that graced the occasion that took place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

A university don, Prof. Anthony Chukwuemeka Oha, delivered the keynote address in which he traced the history of written literature in Africa and showed how literary competitions helped develop creative writing in Hausa. He lauded the Karaye family for supporting the cause of literature in the country.

Similarly, chairman of the panel that judged the books, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, highlighted milestones in the history of Hausa creative writing competitions from 1933 to date, showing how such milestones affected the direction and quality of the books produced. Commenting particularly on the current contest, he told the audience that the judges' panel had used a simple method in assessing the 19 entries for the awards, with a focus on cultural impact of the entries, themes, plot, style, etc. He was confident that the three winning entries were adjudged the best out of the lot.
The winners were given certificates and cash prizes of N150,000, N100,000, and N50,000 respectively - an innovation in Hausa literary competitions. They were invited to tell the audience who they were and what motivated them to go into writing. They said they were motivated by the desire to enlighten the public and influence the society for positive change.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Professor Hagher noted that the Hausa language had attained a position of acceptability that could easily make it the lingua franca of Africa. He also pointed out that the language had increasingly transformed itself to go with the times.

Justice Kutigi stated that the Hausa language contained ingredients of African cultural activities and had grown tremendously within the last three decades. He praised the organisers of the competition for a job well done.

Engineer Karaye was remembered by one of his bosom friends, Gen. Lawal Ja'afaru Isa, a former governor of Kaduna State, who recalled their days together with the deceased in secondary school and after. He said Karaye was a very humble and hard working friend of his, saying they had related with one another up till the time of his death. Isa was represented at the occasion by his wife Hajiya Zainab.
Karaye died on October 25 last year, and yesterday was the first anniversary of his death.

The sponsor of the prizes, Hajiya Bilkisu, had told reporters in her office weeks back that she was willing to fund the writing competition every year. And the chairman of the Abuja chapter of ANA, Dr. Emman Usman Shehu, revealed that the competition would be interchanged between the genres of prose, poetry and drama every year, hinting that next year's contest would be waged among Hausa poets.
The audience was entertained by a troupe from the Abuja Arts Council, who performed a Fulani dance.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

'Yartsana on the winning train!

I have just chanced upon the following notice in krazitivity, the Nigerian writers' chatgroup. Am I happy? Verrrrrrrrrry!

Hausa Literature Prize Shortlist

The Panel of Judges for the maiden edition of the Engineer Mohammed Bashir Karaye Prize for Hausa Literature has shortlisted the following novelists in alphabetical order from the field of nineteen entries. The launching of the Prize Fund and the Award of Prizes come up on Thursday, 25th October, 2007 at the Executive Hall, International Conference Centre, Abuja by 4:00 p.m.

1. Kankana - Maje El-Hajeej Hotoro
2. ‘Yar Tsana - Ibrahim Sheme
3. Matar Uba Jaraba - Balaraba Ramat Yakubu

Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu - Bayero University, Kano
Mallam Bello Sule - Nigerian Television Authority, Abuja

Emman Usman Shehu

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Funmi Iyanda & WS

Hey, hey some good news. Labari mai kyau. I have just bumped into Funmi Iyanda's blog; yea, the "new dawn" girl (?) is blogging at Got the link from Talatu's blog and simply dashed there. I wasn't disappointed. I told myself to be looking in once in a while to see what she's saying (and doing). Reminded me about a photo of Funmi and WS I have been keeping in a folder on my system called "Literary Stuff"; I don't know how I got it; it's just there. I hope I'm not breaching anyone's right (if yes, someone please help warn me so that I could yank it out before...! There she is with the famous (need I say so?) Nobel Prize-winning playwright.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Kaduna Sharia court bans book

An Upper Sharia Court in Tudun Wada, Kaduna, has today banned the sale, staging or any form of distribution of The Phantom Crescent, a play published by controversial civil right activist and poet Shehu Sani.

The suit, with number C/No/USC/TW/ KD356/2007, came as Shehu distributed invitations to stage the play which allegedly lampoons the implementation of Islamic legal practice in Northern Nigeria.

The plaintiff and leader of Members of Concerned Sharia Forum (MCSF), Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed, in a motion exparte, urged the Upper Sharia Court to issue an order restraining Malam Sani, “himself, servants, agents or privies from selling or in any way circulating the book titled, The Phantom Crescent.”

Alhaji Abdullahi also asked the court to issue “other orders as this honourable court may deem fit in the circumstances to prevent the defendant from circulating the book or staging a play on the practice of Sharia in the Northern states.”

The work of fiction is based on the circumstances surrounding implementation of Shari'ah in an unnamed state by the lead character known as Governor Yerima and social imbalance that followed it. Governor Yerima is portrayed in some scenes selectively approving amputation and stoning to death for Buba Jangebe and Safiya, respectively, while sparing Bala Dan'inna, deputy chairman of the governor's party.

In the end, there is a revolt led by Aminu, leader of the Redemption Front, who tells his excited followers: "They said it is against Sharia to take alcohol, while most of them take it. They said it is against Sharia to patronize prostitutes while most of them do it. They said it is illegal to engage in gambling while most of them do it. They said we cannnot listen to music or dance, while most of them do. Today is the end of their hypocrisy."

Shehu Sani is the controversial author of a 292-page book, The Killing Fields: Religious Violence in Northern Nigeria, published last year by Spectrum Books Limited, Ibadan.
MY IMMEDIATE COMMENT (More later): I can smell trouble. Allah Shi kiyaye!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Interview - Malam Aminu Kano

There Is An Attempt To Rig The Elections - Malam Aminu Kano


To many Nigerians, young and old, most especially those interested in politics, his name is not new. A highly admired man, Malam Aminu Kano, the leader of NEPU, was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1966. He was also among the 49 wise men chosen to draft the constitution of Nigeria in the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC). In the Second Republic (1978-1983) he led the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and was its presidential candidate. The acclaimed leader of the talakawa lived between 1920 and April 1983.

In this exciting interview with the statesman, philanthropist, selfless politician and, above all, an erudite teacher, we see how history sometimes repeats itself, sometimes overtakes or even projects itself into the feature. For in a part of the interview, it may seem as if Malam was referring to the political situation in present-day Nigeria. The interview was conducted early in 1978 in Jos by a seasoned journalist, the late Ibrahim Adamu of the NTA Jos, during Malam’s presidential nationwide campaign. I hereby present it in order to make it available, for the first time, to readers.

QUESTION: What will you say concerning the success of your party, so far, in your campaigns?

ANSWER: It might be a little bit selfish to be asked how successful I have been, somebody else should be asked that question in order to avoid any exaggeration. You see, what impresses me most during my campaign tour is that in almost all the 19 states, apart from calling people to join the party I belong, which is a second thing to me, I looked upon the society as a whole, how people are behaving, how they are conducting their business, their knowledge of what they had twenty years before. There has been a tremendous awareness, regardless of which party they are.

Secondly, there is a very large influx of young people who, perhaps, have no knowledge of what happened in the past and the tyrannical manner to which parties were treated both by the colonial governments and even during the First Republic. This awareness goes further than what you saw; it goes down into the purdah houses; women in purdah are not just cooking food and rearing children; they discuss things which was never expected before. This is a very healthy progress in the country. Progress does not mean wearing high-heel shoes, trousers and shouting in dancing clubs. It means overcoming those impediments that make men degrade: unhealthy crowding, poverty, illiteracy, etc. This impresses me the most.

Thirdly, I have learned a little bit more than I knew through comparative study, because this is the first time I toured the whole federation. Even during the alliance there were some areas I didn’t go. Now the interesting thing is this, when last month I was at the remotest part of the country, where people live in rivers and islands and so on, little boats and canoes are the means of transportation. Water is not their problem at all. And when I went to Borno, near the Lake Chad area, it was the other way round, you could drive into Chad or Niger Republic without really knowing it. The problems of the people there in terms of food, accommodation, education, communication, even village outlook and historic outlooks, their knowledge of one another, their awareness of what and how Nigeria is, these are very interesting things that make one to really want to govern Nigeria. And one should not go to these areas only to dismiss these problems as part of life, one should be sympathetic and try to find an answer (to those problems) whether there is going to be an answer within our lifetime.

Lastly, you see the people from different villages come on foot, naturally. Because the fastest means of transportation on land cruising are the camel and horses, and very few of them too, the means of moving about thus are the legs! (Laughs) People trekked (from distances) to see us, to shake hands with us, then you begin to wonder how did they know about this Nasara PRP. Then you begin to think of the business rendered by you, the media - radio, television and newspapers - and that is a very tremendous amount of job. It means bringing knowledge (though) not like literacy knowledge, but knowledge of awareness, that’s what interests me. Thus the reception we received, a lot of it might be out of excitement, out of sheer interest and a lot of it might be through the conviction of being a party member and all that.

Sir, since coming to power in 1975, this military administration has introduced many measures like the Land Use Decree, Import Restriction and the Exchange Control Decree, the Indigenisation Decree, all aimed at enhancing the economic growth of the country, with a view to making it a self-reliant entity. What does the PRP feel about these measures and what will a PRP government do to the Nigerian economy towards making Nigeria a self-reliant nation?

First of all, I must say that these measures are being discussed very seriously by the national directorate [of the PRP], which led to the setting up of a committee of men who really know the subject. We are not in a hurry to finish a manifesto, it is not politics to issue a manifesto one day to the election. First of all, the Nigerian government - even the Nigerian people - have been misled by the popular name of oil wealth. As a result, everybody became lazy, waiting for oil money to come to his pocket, as a result they come to work late because there is money, until it became a habit because there is money. Even the government was so impressed that it thought it could build a rocket and (send it) to the moon, etc., because there is money, not knowing that the economy is a living thing, if you play with it, it can kill you. So the result is that, one day, the military government woke up to find they are going down economically. So, I think, in a kind of hurry, unprepared hurry, they came out with the concoction of the Land Use Decree and measures against importation of this and that (laughs). But in a country like this, one has to be careful. All measures for correcting ills of a society, especially in a very large nation like ours, with lactiferous people, people I should say - whether economic, religious political and so on - ethnic groups, religious bodies and soon, with a tremendous amount of foreign legacies of education, of institutions of education, of language, of thinking, you would not know when you tell the world not to go about panicking. God! They go panicking.

When you begin mobilising people for reorientation, reorienting people’s mind to a direction, it doesn’t matter what measure is taken, it will work, it might work, but not as effective as you may want it.

I think what the government forgot to do is to reorient through our system of education, university syllabuses and even our religious institutions - mosques and churches - and do those things that will groom the nation for a direction. You can take many years to do so, but let us see first that we train the conscience of the people to understand the purpose of a measure before you take a measure, otherwise people will say, "Ah! Look at these people, they are doing this, they are doing that."

The Land Use Decree, for example, I don’t know the origin of it because I was not in government. You see, one has to be very careful, especially in the southern part of the country where even in the constitution, the right of inheritance is a religious affair, and since it is religious affair, the constitution says it cannot be touched, unless the person that inherited the land refused to work on it, then, one can interfere in the name of the nation, which is more important than his. But one has to be very careful by the way you tamper with it.

Secondly, the development, one should first of all take the human side of it. What Nigerians want is really very peddling things, now for example what is constitution, what is independence, what is 1st October if I go to bed hungry, or the next morning I wake up without breakfast, for my children to go to school without a meal? Now that is wrong!

We have to discuss how to eliminate hunger. By eliminating hunger, you have to make sure that a person takes at least two good meals a day. When I say good meal, I don’t mean eating gari twice a day! (laughs) They must have a good shelter, not a crowded one where sometimes an epidemic might break out. And then health. These are the three basic things. Of course, they need education, you need the capacity to govern. These are the other things.

So when the government came out with these measures, a mistake about it is this, we have to trust Nigerians. This is where we have been making a mistake, right from the colonial era to this day, maligning Nigerians that they cannot be trusted. now, if one man does wrong in an institution, or he cheats governmental institution, it doesn’t mean the other men will do so.

Give the job to the other man and try to see what he can do. But we malign Nigerians and say that they can’t do it, are incapable, they are this and that. so when we set up a body to check what should come in, we bring in foreign firms. what are they doing that Nigerian cannot do? how can they be more loyal to Nigeria than you and I? Secondly, if you put them to advise on what to buy, naturally, loyalty to their nations will come first, and the ship bringing in the goods will be that of their people, just like Nigerians. People are basically the same.

The PRP manifesto, which I think will be coming out on the 30th March 1978, will certainly come out with the stand we have here taken, because we have collected a lot of papers, we have studied them, so instead of coming out with a manifesto, especially written, it is in a simpler form, a much more to understandable form and the details will be in a position paper which will come out later.

The economic development of any country depends on the availability of adequate statistics of the country. All the five political parties have pledged in their own different ways to make the country great. This calls for a national population census. What will be the stand of PRP government on this issue?

Well, a lot of things need to be reversed. I don’t believe that we are eighty million. I don’t believe it.

Are we likely to be more, sir?

Oh yeah, we are likely to be more, but at the same time we have been so careless, we are more careless now than when we are counting. You see, go to Kano, go and take a car and cross to Katsina, to the border, come and see the number of people crossing into Nigeria. They come to Kano without any pass or documentation. Now, for example, they fill Kano with their dabinos, with their wares, and a lot of them become Kano men more than the Kano people and nobody cares. And with our kind of attitude to life, to pleasure, a lot of them are girls and they look more like the Arabs, more beautiful and they quickly get married. What to do? We are so relaxed, we are not serious in Nigeria.

PRP is going to make people serious, even if we are going to be unpopular. It is better to be unpopular and build a foundation than to begin to look good to people so that they don’t get upset. I am sure with eighty million people, a large number of them are not Nigerians. So what are we to do with that? At a certain time, we had a lot of people thrown out of Saudi Arabia and were brought to Nigeria, for example, they landed in Kano and many of them said, "Oh, my father was from Bidda, or Ibi, and was born there, but he died in Saudi Arabia and I don’t know how to trace my family, but he told me one day that I was from Ibbi." How do you deal with that? By the Nigerian law of citizenship, what is he?

Very recently, in fact last Sunday, some of the national dailies carried a story on the final list of names of presidential candidates - including you - who are vying for the office of the president, and are being screened and what not. Two have been cleared. Three - Dr. Namdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Waziri lbrahim and yourself - are still being screened for tax payment and so on and so forth. What is your personal view?

You see, Nigeria is a country of contradictions and we always like to work on emotions and unfounded things. We just want to say yes or no without regards to ethics. You see, the intensity about this is, you know till today FEDECO has not called for nominations, it has not called officially for nomination of candidates. Certainly there must be some forms that FEDECO will send or ask you to ask for, and [it is expected that] they will give a number of days with which to fill and do this. Now, they haven’t done that. If now they haven’t done that how come these things are being featured? Now Nigeria is out with a time table that is moving upside down, we are not moving upside down, it is not only FEDECO, we are [all] moving upside down.

The other day I went to FEDECO office to ask why are those things published in the newspapers? They are things we should know through correspondence. There was nobody there! The big men there had moved outside Lagos, gone around Lagos with the Mayor of California. What has FEDECO got to do with the Mayor of California? I know it [the issue of screening for tax payment] will come out, and some voices in the PRP are talking, but I am not going to say a word, because I have not been officially nominated and if FEDECO has not publicised or asked for nominations of candidates then what are they talking about? What is the whole thing about?

Secondly, officially speaking, administratively speaking, even if that is so, and FEDECO is scrutinising people through tax offices, then how come they released those things to the press? Who told them to do so? Is this not perhaps a way to malign some candidates? Is it not a way of making people accept the allegation currently going round - that there is an attempt going on somewhere to rig the elections?

All these things are very serious. If [for INS tax] I don’t contest the election, what is wrong with it? But at the same time, we should be polite, we should be decent, in dealing with things.

Kano-based Maryam Ali Ali is a member of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA).
Published in LEADERSHIP ( today

Film Burning In Kano

Sakamakon fushin da jama'a suka yi da 'yan fim kan majigin batsa da lalata na Maryam Hiyana da Usman Bobo, kwanan nan aka yi wani gangami na kona finafinan Hausa a birnin Kano.

A ranar 11 ga Satumba 2007 aka yi gangamin, a wurin bikin cikar shekara uku da kafa Hukumar A Daidaita Sahu (Kano State Commssion for Social Reorientation) wadda Malam Bala A. Muhammad ya ke jagoranta. A zauren wasa na dandalin Sani Abacha da ke Kofar Mata(Indoor Stadium) aka yi taron.

Bayan kammala bikin na cikar shekaru uku da kafa hukumar ne sai Mai Martaba Sarkin Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, da mataimakin gwamnan Kano tare da shugaban masu rinjiye na Majalisar Dokoki ta Jihar Kano da Alkalin Alkalan jiha (Grand Khadi) su ka jagoranci kona finafinan a wajen harabar wurin.

Manyan mutanen sun cinna wa finafinai fetur da ke cikin wani daro wuta da sandar da ke hannun su, tare da yin Allah-wadai da irin gurbata tarbiyya da cin mutuncin addini da aka ce finafinan su na yi.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Censoring Movies and Books in Kano

The following is text of a press briefing by the new, no-nonsense Executive Secretary of the Kano State Censorship Board, Malam Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim (PICTURED HERE), on the additional guidelines for registration of film production companies, artistes, internet cafes and publishers/authors. It is the biggest censorship operation in Nigeria, couched in the spirit of the Kano State Government's Sharia programme under the state Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. Both the appointment of Malam Rabo and these new laws were inspired by the heated reaction of Hausawa to the sudden appearance of the Maryam Hiyana sex video. Read it, then we'll talk later!


The Board was established in the year 2001, under the State Censorship Board Law 2001. This law mandated the Board to oversee the activities of film making, cinemas, viewing centers, internet cafes and all literary works intended for sale, distribution or circulation in Kano State.

Sequel to the happenings in the film industry in the state and as well the current development in change of management of the state Censorship Board. More so, the establishment of the task force committee on sanitization of film industry in the state by his excellency the executive Governor, hitherto the following requirements are put in place for the registration of production companies, Artistes as well the censoring of films.

· Henceforth, no producer will go to location for activities without his script being approved by a recognised consultant and vetted by the Board.
· Production companies shall have a minimum of 2.5 million as working capital, confirmation could be obtained from Bank statement of account of the company.
· All members of the productions crew shall have a minimum qualification of Diploma or certificate in related field from a recognised institution.
· The Board would now censor both films on CDs and VHS Cassettes and all films marketed in the state.
· Artistes are now categorised into three, with respective minimum qualifications namely:
a) Artistes in training must have a minimum of primary School Certificate or its equivalent.
b) Median Artistes should ahave a minimum of Secondary School Certificate or its equivalent.
c) Star Artistes minimum of a Diploama, Degree or its equivalent.
· Henceforth the Board has cancelled singing and dancing of any kind in Hausa Film.
· The board is also revisiting the issue of marketing of film s in the state especially in the area of marketer-producer relationship.
· Kano State Association of Printers are to make sure that before they print aany book or poster meant for public use must have clearance from the board.

Th requirments for establishing a film production studio in the state approved by the Board include the following for the mean time:

· A set of computer
· Pinacle Editing system.
· Monitors
· AVC/VCR Player.
· Digital Camera (HD with accessories)
· Two sets of earphones/Microphone.
· Tripod/Crane
· Professional Lights
· Reel.


The state Censorship board re-iterates its position on all the measures being taken to sanitize the film in dustry and call on the entire stakeholders and the general public to support the task force set up by the state government for the purpose of sanity in the industry.
In this direction, the board hereby extends the period of the suspension imposed earlier. The suspension of all location activities is now from three months to six months effective from 13th August, 2007 toFebruary, 2008.
This policy would be vigourously monitored by the board to ensure stringent penalty imposition on defaulters.

The wishes to this medium is to call on all proprietors of film production companies that are registered with the board to come forward for the revalidation of their registration on or before 30th November, 2007 and must fulfill the following requirements as stipulated by the law.

· Certificate of incorporation.
· Tax clearance Certificate for 3 years.
· Letter of in troduction from the Local Government Council where the production company is situated.
· Production Company shall employ the service of a film/Video Production Consultant.
a) Such Consultant shall be qualified from a recognised film institute within Nigeria or abroad.
b) Scuh Consultant shall have a working experience of Not less thatn 4 years in the field of porduction.

· All film production companies shall furnish their studios with the necessary facilities in accordance with the broadacasting standards or its equivalent.
· Production companies shall ensure that all technical production crew are registered members of Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of NIgeria (MOPPAN)
· Production com pany should have a clear office identification address.
· Must have a permanent office secretary.
· Production companies must register with Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives Kano.
· Production companies must ensure free office environment.
· The aforementioned guidelines are subject to review, depending on monitoring circumstances.

In line with the law that established this board as referred to above, and with particular reference to literary works, any person who produces a book, literary or dramatic work in the state and intends to publish such literary material, such person shall apply for Censorship license from the board as contained in the board's law.

It follows therefore that person who for the purpose of ditribution or public exhibiton, makes a product or has in his possession any one or more, a blasphemous, pornographic or obscene writings, drawings, prints, printings, printed matters, pictures, posters, emblems, photographs or any other object tending to corrupt public morals has committed an offence and will not be allowed to go free.
To this end the board wishes to the stakeholders is that their proucts must pass through this board before sale, exhibition oe even before going to production process to avoid wasteful expenses.

Therefore the following stakeholders are expected to register with the board in compliance with the requirements of the Censorship board Law 2001. They include:
· Authors
· Publishers
· Bookshops(Book sellers)
· Poster sellers
· Distributors
· Vendors

A person who therefore exhibits, publishes, sales or distributes in any manner whatso ever, a literary work without censorship board certificate shall be liable to wrath of the relevant provision of the law.

In conclusion, the board implors our stakeholders to view the content of this release with matured understanding and literary works.
Its our hope to restore public confidence in board forward quality and moral delivery.

Signed by
Executive Secretary
Kano State Censorship Board
Friday, 21 September 2007

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Ashe Narambad'a Bai Mutu Ba!

Wani manazarcin adabin Hausa ya na nan ya duk'ufa kan tattara kammalallen tarihi da wak'ok'in d'aya daga cikin shahararrun makad'an Hausa, wato marigayi Ibrahim Narambad'a

Daga Ibrahim Sheme da Ashafa Murnai Barkiya

Duk wanda ya san abin da ake kira “wak'ar Hausa,” to ya san Makad'a Ibrahim Narambad'a. Hasali ma dai akwai muhawara k'wak'k'wara kan waye ya fi fasaha tsakanin Narambad'a da marigayi Alhaji Mamman Shata. Yayin da wasu ke cewa Shata ya fi Narambad'a yawan wak'ok'i ne kurum amma Narambad'a ya fi zalak'a da fasaha, wasu na cewa ai shi Shata ya kere Narambad'a, musamman da yake shi wak'ok'in sa kowa zai iya fahimtar su – Basakkwace da wanda ba Basakkwace ko Bazamfare ba.

A bara, wasu matasa sun k'addamar da kammalallen tarihin Shata, wanda hakan ya k'ara taimakawa wajen fahimtar ko waye mawak'in. Shi kuwa Narambad'a, yawancin wad'anda suka san shi, sanin shanu suka yi masa. Kuma yawancin Hausawa sukan kasa gane wasu kalamai na wak'ok'in sa, musamman wad'anda ba su fito daga tsohon yankin k'asar Sakkwato ba. Bugu da k'ari, in ban da tak'aitaccen tarihin sa da Farfesa Sa’idu Muhammad Gusau na Jami’ar Bayero ta Kano ya rubuta a littafin sa Makad'a Da Mawak'an Hausa, ba kowa ba ne zai ce maka ya san tarihin wannan fasihin mawak'in.

To, yanzu dai an taki sa’a, domin kuwa aiki ya yi nisa wajen tattara kammalallen tarihin Narambad'a. Kuma sai aikin ya fad'a a hannun d'an gida, wanda ya san kan al’amarin, wato Farfesa Aliyu Bunza.

Shi dai Farfesa Bunza, fitaccen manazarci ne a k'asar Hausa. Ya yi rubuce-rubuce kan adabi da kuma al’adun Hausawa, har ma da wasu wak'ok'i na baka da kuma rubutattu. A yanzu shi ne ke rubuta tarihin Makad'a Narambad'a.
Shin yaya wannan aiki nasa yake ciki? A ranar Lahadi da ta wuce, an yi hira da Farfesa Bunza, wanda babban malami ne a Jami’ar Usmanu D'anfodiyo da ke Sakkwato, a sashen Hausa na gidan rediyon BBC. Wakilan gidan rediyon sun zanta da shi lokacin da ya je London kwanan nan. Mu a an Leadershi Hausa mun kalato muku wasu muhimman bayanai daga cikin wannan zantawa tasu ta musamman kan aikin da yake yi na rubuta tarihi da wak'ok'in marigayi Alhaji Ibrahim Narambad'a.

Tun da farko sun sako wak'ar Narambad'a mai taken, “Masu gari mazan gabas tsayayye, Sarkin Rwahi ya wuce a ram mai.” Idan kun tuna, a wannan wak'ar ce makad'in ke cewa, “Ga wani d'an sarki da kunnuwa da hwad'i...”

An tambayi Malam Bunza ya fad'i wani abu kan wak'ar. Sai ya amsa, “Sarki ne aka wa wak'ai na Kuryar Dambo, ba Kurya ta Madaro ba. Ma’ana, kurya guda biyu muke da su a Zamfara: akwai wannan Kurya ta Madaro, akwai waccan Kuryar Dambo. To hakimin Kuryar Dambo ne ya ka wa wak'a. Kuma wannan cewa ‘Da takobi da garkuwa da yak'i,’ daga cikin k'a’idar nazarin wak'a, “lugude” muke kiran sa, luguden tarihi. Wani tarihi ne ya narke wurin, tarihin wani sarkin d'an tauri ne da aka yi a Kurya mai suna Mamman Ina, da ya kashe wani Bature. To shi ya sa ya ke cewa ‘Kurya akwai mazan hwad'a da arna.’

BBC: Abin da ya sa na yi maka wannan wak'a, a da a Zariya idan muka ji wannan wak'a akwai wani gari Kauru a kusa da Zariya, mun d'auka shi ake wa wak'ar da ya ke cewa Makauru. Ashe ba Kauru ba ne. Wai me ake cewa ne a wurin? Ka san wani d'an sark'e-sark'e ne.

BUNZA: Ai da yake cewa ya ke yi, “Ai Kurya ta Dambo ta Makauru an nan, / Zamfara babu makaye kama tai.”

BBC: Za mu so ka d'an ba mu tarihin Narambad'a, watak'ila mutanen zamani ba su san ko wanene ba.

BUNZA: Marigayi Narambad'a shahararren mawak'i ne a duniya. Kuma idan za a yi tarihin Ibrahim Narambad'a, bisa k'a’idar ilmi sai an wa mutane da yawa tambaya wad'anda suka gabace ni a cikin wannan fagen, kamar Farfesa Sa’idu Muhammad Gusau, ya yi bincike musamman a kan Narambad'a; Bello Sodangi ya yi bincike musamman a kan Narambad'a; Sama’ila Yawuri Mazawaje shi ma ya yi bincike musamman a kan Narambad'a.

To sunan Narambad'a na yanka Ibrahim. Sunan uban sa Maidangwale, shi kuma Maidangwale mutumin Nijar ne, cikakken d'an kokawa ne. Amma Narambad'a ya gaji kid'i wajen uwar sa. Don haka shi karen makad'a ne kenan. Uban sa bai yi kid'i ba. An haife shi a garin Tubali, ya yi karatu a nan, ya rayu a nan, ya tashi a matsayin ba d'an gadon wak'a ba. Ya iske kayan kotson kid'in kakan sa na wajen uwa a d'akin mahaifiyar sa. Mahaifin sa mutumin k'asar Filinge ne, ya zo a garin Tubali, ya auri uwar Narambad'a. Kuma ga shi shahararren d'an kokawa ne.

Sai Narambad'a ya d'auki kayan kid'in mahaifin sa ya fara kid'an noma. To, wata shekara a fadar Sarkin Gobir na Isa ya yi kid'in noman k'auyen su. Da jin yadda dad'in wak'a ya ke da zalak'a da k'warewa, suka ce ya fi k'arfin k'auye, sai aka mai da shi birni. Ya tashi daga mawak'in noma ya koma makad'in Gobir. Ka ji tarihin zuwan sa.

BBC: Wato wannan ne kenan ya sa ya koma makad'i na fad'a, na sarakuna.

BUNZA: Gaba d'aya saboda an ga hikimar ta hi k'arhin ta manomi, dole sai an maida shi fada. Don haka ya dawo ya ci gaba da yi wa Amadu Sarkin Gobir wak'a.

(BBC sun sako wak'ar “Ya ci maza ya kwan yana shiri, uban zakara, dodo na Ummaru”)

BBC: To Farfesa Bunza, me za ka ce dangane da wannan wak'a?

BUNZA: Wannan wak'a ta Sarkin Gobir ta na cikin manya-manyan wak'ok'in da ya yi masa. Kuma wannan wak'a ce wasu suke ganin gabanin Narambad'a ya yi Bakandamiyar wak'ar sa. Don a ciki har Narambad'a na cewa duk abin da zai fad'a ga Sarkin Gobir daidai ne, ba kure ba ne:

“Na aje k'arya ko ina kid'i,
Na bar k'arya ko ina kid'i,
Nai sittin, saba’in ni ka hwad'a,
Mai saba’in yai k'arya ana ta zund'e nai,
Ko yaran da ag garai duw wawwatse mashi su kai,
Ya na yawo shi d'ai baram-baram.”

Saboda haka a cikin wannan wak'ar ba mu zaton mu ji abin da ya sab'a wa gaskiya. Don haka ne mu ke ganin wannan wak'a ta Sarkin Gobir na cikin manyan wak'ok'in sa. Amma dab baya da yai Bakandamiya, sai ta shahe hasken ta.

(BBC sun sako wak'ar “Batun da akai na yau babu Sarki yau irin ka,/ Jikan Bello arna suna shakkak ka”)

BBC: Farfesa, ko wanda bai san Narambad'a ba, ya san mutum ne wanda Allah ya ba basira. To amma kuma kamar yadda kowa ya sani, akwai shahararrun mawak'a wad'anda su ma sun yi suna. Ko dai kamar Narambad'an ko kusa da shi. Me ya sa ka d'auki Narambad'a a matsayin wanda za ka yi bincike akai?

BUNZA: Akwai dalilai da yawa. Na farko shi ne, fitattun mawak'an Hausa da mu ke da su k'asar Hausa an fara bincike a kan su – ko bincike ne na jami’a, ko ma na gida ne, duk dai an yi. Shata an yi aiki a kan sa. Farfesa Sa’idu Muhammad Gusau ya yi bincike kan Salihu Jankid'i. To, na ke ganin a dukkanin k'asar Zamfara ba a yi mawak'in da ya kai Narambad'a ba. Kuma ba a k'asar sa kawai ya ke wak'a ba. Ma’ana, duk duniyar k'asar Hausa. Amma abin takaici, idan an zo neman wak'ok'i nai babu, sun wawwatse, ba a samun su.

Ba a san tarihin sa ba, ba a san ina ya hito ba, ba a san hikimar sa da zalak'ar sa ba. Sai na ga ya na da kyau a yi wani aiki da ak'alla zai fito da shi, zai fito da falsafar sa, zai fito da wak'ok'in sa, da wad'anda ya yi wa wak'ok'in, shi ma ya kasance wani taska daga cikin taskar adabin Hausa da za a aje.

BBC: Ban tari numfashin ka ba. Wasu kalmomi da Narambad'a ke amfani da su a cikin wak'ok'in sa, idan ba fassara wa mutum aka yi ba, ba a fahimtar abin da ya ke fad'i. Ina ganin wannan ma ya na da mahimmanci a yi irin wannan bayani da ka yi. To zuwa yanzu ka rubuta wak'ok'in sa guda nawa?

BUNZA: Sai dai in ce na samu wak'ok'i guda nawa? In na samo su sai in rubuta su…

BBC: Ban tari numfashin ka ba, rubutawar ka na rubuta duk abin da aka ce a cikin wak'a?

BUNZA: E, zan yi k'ok'ari duk abin da ya ce, zan yi k'ok'ari in rubuta kuma a irin lafazin da ya fad'a. Kamar Sarkin Rafi, ai Sarkin Rwahi ya ke cewa. Ni ma Rwahi zan rubuta.

BBC: Wak'ok'i nawa ka samu zuwa yanzu?

BUNZA: Wasu su kan ce ya yi wak'ok'i sun kai d'ari ko d'ari da wani abu, amma iyakar binciken da mu ka yi, kusan sama da shekaru ashirin da wani abu, gaskiya ni hamsin na samu, wad'anda na rubuta da kai na, na saurara, na tabbatar sun rubutu, na ajiye.

BBC: Wad'anda aka d'auke su da faifai kenan?

BUNZA: Ma’ana, shahararrun wak'ok'in da aka sani a kaset, ba dab bakin wani aka ji su aka rubuta ba.

BBC: Dangane da wak'ok'i ko mawak'an Hausa, kamar Alhaji Mamman Shata ana cewa ya na tsayawa nan take ya yi wak'a, don an sha gwada shi, ba tare da ya zauna ya shirya ta ba. Shin Narambad'a ya yake tsara wak'ok'in sa?

BUNZA: Wato ko wane irin mawak'i da irin fasaha da hikima da zalak'a da Allah ya hore masa. Allah ya hore masa wak'a, amma shi (Narambad'a) ba a nan take ya ke yin ta ba. Idan zai yi maka wak'a, zai je gida ya tsara ta; a yinin da zai yi wak'ar, ba zai yi huld'a da kowa ba. Haka wasu yaran sa su ka shaida mana. In ya k'are tsara ta, sai ya kira yaran sa, sai su rera. Wak'ar Narambad'a in zai yi ta, zuba wak'a ake zube-ban-k'warya.

BBC: Kamar yadda ya ce ta Alfazazi…

BUNZA: Cewa ya yi:

“Kullum ji ni kai azanci na hudo min,
Sai zuba wak'a ni kai kama da ta Alfazazi.”

BBC: Rubutawa ya ke yi?

BUNZA: Narambad'a ba ya rubuta wak'a, sai ya samu gindin wak'a ya fara. Da ya k'are abi nai cikin zuciya, sai ya kira yara nai ya ce, “To, ga amshin wak'a kaza,” su rik'a yi a sannu ana maimaitawa. Sai ya k'are sai aje a yi ta.

BBC: Wak'ar Alk'ali Abu fa? Shin wanene Alk'ali Abu d'in nan?

BUNZA: Alk'ali Abu asali mutumin K'auran Namoda ne, alk'alanci ya kai shi Moriki, kuma daga cikin ’ya’yan sa akwai wanda ke raye a Sokoto yanzu. Amma dai zuri’ar na can a K'aura. Ba Alk'ali Abubakar Mahmud Gumi ba ne kamar yadda mutane su ke zato. Ya yi masa wannan wak'a a kan irin adalcin sa, gogewar sa da sanin shari’a.

(BBC sun sako wak'ar “Alk'alin Alk'alai ta aiki nai da tsari…”)

BBC: To amma akwai inda yake cewa “Narambad'a ba ya zuwa lahira...,” kamar ya bugi k'irji…

BUNZA: Ya ce ko ya je dawowa ya kai. Ya na da hujja a wannan wurin. Sai an kamo kan wak'ar za a gane me ya sa ba zai je lahira ba! Ya ce:

“Hwad'awa ku bugan in buge ku
Mui ta fad'an mu gidan duniya,
Kun san ba a hwad'a lahira,
Kun san ku ka zuwa lahira,
Narambad'a ba ya zuwa lahira,
Ko ya je dawowa ya kai,
Gama kun san d'auke mai akai.”

Maganar sa ta tabbata: fadawa ke mutuwa; da bafade ya mutu, a fada an manta da shi. Da Sarki ya mutu, a fada an manta da shi, an yi wani. Amma idan zakaran mawak'a ya mutu, ba mutuwa ya yi ba. Har yanzu ga Narambad'a ba shi duniya, ana maganar sa, ana jin maganar sa. Ina fadawa su ke? Saboda haka duk wani mawak'i da ya san kan sa, ya yi luguden wak'ar, to bai mutu ba, ya na nan a raye!

BBC: To, Farfesa Aliyu Bunza, mun gode k'warai.