You know how western people have white people problems (reason why a person will leave his 40billion naira inheritance to a bloody cat), well I have Nigerian problems

Top off the list; Electricity and sco pa tu maana!!!!! Where did you people get that phrase from? Don’t you think it’s enough? The poor thing is exhausted, come on. Can’t we just find a trend, use it for 4 days and dump?

Now electricity,  I panic when light stays on for 12hours, I pray the lights go off because I feel the longer they stay on, the more the chances of them staying off equally as long. Now that is saying something.

Then there’s lack of access to an essential commodity, chargerrrr, good charger. Good earpiece. Is that me asking for too much?

You’ll buy charger and after 5 hours it has started draining your battery life and sending the electricity back to ‘NEPA’. That’s betrayal!

So charger is misbehaving and electricity is having a permanent bout of depression. The only way to not be affected is to get a solar panel fixed, get a generator and an inverter and you’ll still suffer if you have no power bank.

Nigerian mentality is something else. A topic I have to research on first because it is wide and not-so-bad when you look at it. I mean is it bad that the answer to a question is almost always a question and choosing to not understand people and acting like it’s fine is norm?

In Nigeria raising your voice at others is the answer to 80% of your life problems.

Know when to switch from calm to razz

From civilised to agbero

From nice to rude. Can you do that? Then you’ll be fine.

In some situations and with some people, it is a life survival tool to exhibit madness when need be or else they for real drive you mad. Let’s take Lagos for example.

Simple things are considered big. 

As a lady, just pick up an umbrella when the sun is glaring so that your skin will avoid the harshness of the weather and go out; the looks you’ll receive! Who is this one forming for? 

Or even sunshades in some places.

Who said Kano?

Everything is considered vanity or extravagance in Nigeria. Even the most mundane things like stepping out nice, caring for your skin, hair etc.

Do you go out for date nights or eat in restaurants? How could you? Can’t you cook at home. It’s your hard-earned money and you should enjoy it but don’t eat in a restaurant because that’s extravagance (shoot me)

You are speaking good English? You are in trouble! You are just forming. Why would you even pronounce the words well isn’t that a crime?

BN has a car so NY must get it because BN can never surpass NY. There’s a certain group that requires material qualification for validation e.g a certain type of IPhone or Super wax every other day or different gold sets every event or else you don’t get to join the gang! Whose gratification are you seeking?

The most unimportant things are deemed very important and kids walking around barefoot on the streets? Well… it’s tradition now.

Tradition and culture have become signs of lack of civilization but being savage is soooo cool, just say something utterly stupid, immature and rude on twitter and oh how savage! (In my french accent)

Extravagance is a necessity. Let’s take our marriages for example…. you get the picture.

Having ambition is considered a curse and very so often, ambitious people in reality derail from the line, they lose focus, they get greedy, they crash because their main ambition was always money and fame not impact and productivity. But some actually just want to give in their best so with a crystal mindset, they push and strive against all odds (which are plenty) and they make it.

Reading and gathering knowledge is a skill for and criteria when it comes to getting a life partner, and only for that purpose. It’s a tool for showing off. Who am I to judge?

And of course vicarious achievements work well with our weather. My great grand uncles former gardeners ex-girlfriends cousin sister will be feeling herself in the village when my step Aunts brother-in-law becomes governor, because all na we.

Maybe it’s because my Dad is not ‘rich’ but I can never claim his wealth or achievements. Nor will I carve that of my husband and hang them on my neck like a locket. I’ll be my own person thank you very much.

Because of the diversity of cultures and traditions, we have diversity in everything including mannerisms. What’s odd in your place might be very normal in mine hence we tend to judge unfairly. Giving benefit of doubt is a sin and understanding, a much greater one.

My Nigeria has many problems, our leaders are ghosts, some teachers can’t write well and sometimes the Water Board can’t provide is with water for days not because we haven’t paid our bills but because the Water Board haven’t paid their electricity bills.

But will I substitute this country for any? Nah! I’m good.

 Saturday, 3rd of August saw the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Entrepreneurship Summit themed Entrepreneurship: ‘An Antidote To Youth Unemployment in Nigeria’.

It is therefore not a surprise that Yahaya Buhari Ali, one of the fastest growing entrepreneurs in Northern Nigeria with over 5 branches under the YB Groups conglomerate was presented with two awards.

The very business minded entrepreneur whose next milestone is to be on Forbes list of 30 under 30 African entrepreneurs was presented with the ‘Achiever per Excellence’ award by ABU Student Representative Council and ‘Fastest Growing Entrepreneur’ award by ABU GrandFinale.

The August occasion which was attended by a number of well placed panelists, prestigious speakers and over 500 attendees both as students and non-students was targeted at orienting young entrepreneurs in discovering the prospects that lay in the Nigerian business atmosphere, discussing the challenges involved and proffering solutions to such challenges.

In his speech, the CEO spoke about the challenges he faced and how he was able to brave it through thick and thin to become the visionary that he is today. 

This is evident in Yahaya Buhari’s uncanny ability to pinpoint many opportunities that only true professionals can and in an awe-inspiring manner.

There is undoubtedly no one more deserving of both awards than Yahaya Buhari as his entrepreneurial sixth sense and his willingness to always help up and coming businesses has been evident from the get go. 

Sir YB has been tagged as ‘The Next Dangote’ but in my opinion, he might well surpass the richest man in Africa as his ideas are more reformatory, digital and futuristic. He has excelled himself as a master of the game and at such a young age too. A pride to Kaduna indeed.

He forwarded a warm thank you message to all his supporters; his parents, mentors, team and clients with whose prayers and support he has been able to swiftly climb up the very competitive and daunting success ladder.

Yahaya is also part of the Local Organizing Committee of the recently organized Northern Youth Summit under the auspices of Northern Hibiscus Initiative and was indeed the brain behind the alluring theme of the event whose main purpose was to awaken the spirit of Arewa.

Rounding up his speech, he professed a singular aim at becoming better at what he does while thanking the organizers of the event and all and sundry that have partook in it. 

We are foreseeing more greatness for this young visionary In Sha Allah. It takes a mighty amount of not only vision but discipline, hardwork and dedication to arrive at this milestone which to him is just a stepping stone and we are willing to cheer Sir YB on all the way. 

Congratulations Sir. 

There’s a generous rise in the number of writing enthusiasts all over Nigeria. The passion is tangible but the opportunities are few. For a writer, it is reward enough to have an audience to his written pieces of art, but at some point, financial reward is always craved for and that in itself can serve as an incentive to urge them on into the wonderful world of writing.

As a budding writer, I know how pumped up I felt whenever I came across local contests, I want to give that feeling back to you too.

Flash fiction is what I consider a brain tester. Will you be able to tell your story in 200 words beautifully? What we need are unique stories, something different, something unexpected, we absolutely love cliffhangers and stories that will make the reader crack his brain for days. Dazzle us.

Hafsah Dauda is just a writing blog, where I share all the stories pent up within the recesses of my brain with you, I hope you appreciate that part of me. Do read up and drop comments.

Guidelines:

-In not more than 200 words, write a flash fiction that ends : ‘…. smiling, she pulled the trigger’.

-Open to all Nigerians.

-Send your submission to hafsahdauda@gmail.com

-Please include your name below your write up.

-Submissions close on the 15th of August, 2019.

-Voting begins on the 17th of August.

-You will receive an email with a link of your published story.

-Share same link with as many people as possible and tell them to vote.

-Voting ends on the 22nd of August.

-Top 20 stories with highest number of votes qualify for shortlist.

-Shortlist to be published on the site on 24th August.

-The winner will be announced on 28th August 2019.

When I received notice to attend ‘The Brief’, a programme organized by Farida Yahya, I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that from experience, wherever Farida Yahya is, productive things are. So I knew that I couldn’t miss The Brief… especially because it was generously a free session.

It took place at Exhale Training Institute last Sunday, 28th July. It was a closed network with few of us in attendance and I was thankful for that. It afforded us a chance to be individually well attended to. When I returned home, I told them simply that Farida Yahya is a doctor, a business doctor and we just has our various hustles diagnosed for free. We got to have conversations about the realities of running a business in Nigeria.

A major plus for me was that I met some amazing and driven women. I met the CEO of Sugar Rush, a cake business, the founder of a promising new Crèche in Zamfara State, My Little Sunshine and The Almajira, the brains behind a revolutionary page that is telling a strong Arewa Women’s story and many more amazing personalities.

We ended up sharing business tips and picking from the business guru’s brain. 

The brief has been organised in several states in Nigeria including Katsina, Maiduguri and Abuja. 

The Brief is not an opportunity any business owner can afford to miss. It was rich and informative- knowledge people pay lots for but we were lucky to get for free. And the most interesting part is that our business had not even been very much dissected and treated yet, it has only stopped at the consultancy stage. Imagine a full-on session.

My advice to any entrepreneur or business owner is to follow @thebriefacademy on Instagram so you can always receive notifications for future sessions and to go get you and your business doctored, because you need it.

Thank Farida Yahya for creating such an amazing platform.

The Brief Kaduna

‘If Maryam dares, I’ll kill her’ I mumbled under my breathe, rubbed my palms on my arms to heat it up and let out a shiver. 

If Maryam dares to end her marriage before I see her grandchildren, I’ll maim her, because I am in this situation of sufferness because of her wedding. I bobbed my head in the rain in affirmation of my conviction and looked on.

No car was even stopping. Imagine, stupid cars driven by undeserving people. They are not even fine cars! I hissed and looked down at my legs which were getting muddier by the minute.

That day was just unfortunate. I had dragged my last kobo,#1500 and had carried my two yam legs to the salon to stretch my hair because, team natural hair. Mama had already warned me to forget about it because the weather was unstable, one minute it will be clear, and the next it will be pregnant. But no,Amira didn’t listen, Amira had to slay.

My hair was hanging well below my shoulders after the yeye looking salon woman was done. I had already envisioned it hanging out of my gyale while I do rawan kai all over the wedding hall because the abokan ango were sure to be loaded. 

I mean his father was into oil, oily kids only hang around with fellow oily or political kids. Slayage was calling my name. And to top it all, I was going to be the MC to the event, all eyes were to be on me that night, looking drab was not even an option. 

So I had made my way against all odds because I couldn’t miss the golden chance to possibly get a good catch, they were going to be present, it was a shortcut and I was a booby trap in the making.

After my shrinkage and curls were straightened, I came out waiting for Napep without a kobo one me,I planned on asking Mama to give me the money after I reach home, like always. Story of a broke ass lady.

Imagine how my heart melted when I heard the rumble of thunder, I prayed harder than I ever had for that rain not to call but to no avail. I was scared of rains, I had rainophobia (if that’s something), the pelts of fat water felt like I was being stoned to death and I always felt claustrophobic no matter how open the space I was in. Rain suffocated me.

I had to look for a squattable tree to serve as shed as I didn’t find any building I could squat under but the rain was unrelenting. I felt every strand of my hair get wet and loose it’s strechiness until all I was left with was an empty pocket,a recently stretched hair turned kinky and a broken soul. 

Even the Napep men were running like crazy, clearly unwilling to stop, it was like they had x-rayed my wallet and had seen a fat zero.

About 5 minutes later when I had almost succumbed to the feeling of depression enveloping me, a car rolled over and stopped. The driver wound the glass down.

‘Get in’ he yelled over the rain. 

I was grateful. Even though I knew chances were he was a serial killer or kidnapper, I was still grateful. I’d take a human killing me over the rain any day and at that time, my breathing was already acting like a hormonal woman- moody.

As I stepped into the fine car (I have a soft spot for fine cars), I made up my mind that if he was a kidnapper, I’ll just tell him to kill me there. I know my Mama, she likes money too much, she won’t even listen to him not to talk of negotiating ransom, she will say she has five more kids, Allah ya sa na huta.

The man did not mind the fact that I entered the car along with enough rain water to fill a bucket and my shoes had carried almost all the mud of the world into the car, if he was a killer then he must be a nice one, and he wasn’t even bad looking. I peeked at his face again after my raspy breathing had almost returned to normal, you could even call him handsome if you are into that beardless look, I’m #beardgang forever.

‘Ina wuni’ I said after settling down. I have to showcase my tarbiya, maybe he will have mercy on me.

‘Lafiya yaya kike?’ he answered and started the engines.

‘Sorry about this’ I apologised for the mess I turned his front seat into. 

He smiled ‘No problem’.

Water was still dripping on the car seat. I resisted the strong urge to just wring my clothes in the car, he would have probably killed me early.

‘Are you from school?’ He asked maybe to break the uncomfortable silence.

‘No, the salon’ I answered.

‘Heading home?’

No I’m going to the abattoir. I thought sarcastically in my mind.

In reality, I merely nodded and gave him the address.

A few minutes later,he took a turn that was opposite mine. My heart skipped a bit. Calm down Amirah, I comforted myself, maybe he doesn’t know the way.

‘Ermm that’s not the turn. It’s the other way’.

‘Yes I know I just want to drop something at my sisters house. Sorry’.

I swallowed hard and let him drive on but a voice at the back of my mind was cautioning me that that’s how they deceive there victims. The moment he started taking some weird turns and going through some lungus,I knew I was in trouble. Just last month my best friend had been almost kidnapped, I never knew I was next…. this life!

‘Maybe you should just drop me here, the rain has even stopped’ my voice was obviously shaking and I could barely hear it over the sound of my heart beating 150km/minute. If I’m extremely lucky, a heart attack will kill me before he did. 

My fear was not of being murdered or kidnapped, it was of being raped. Dama Mama had warned me of the growing rate of ritualists disguised as kidnappers in Kaduna but did Amira listen? No. Now I am riding in a car with one, live and direct. Maybe the fine car was somebody’s destiny, or worse, blood money.

I tried to open the door but it was locked.

‘What are you doing?’ He asked with a frown.

‘Mallam dan Allah drop me here. I’m sorry for getting in the car. Wallahi my parents are not rich. You won’t even get anything from them’.

The problem with me is that I have a big, fat mouth but my panic always grows at an exponential rate so that the more I panic, the more I lose my wit and do something stupid. I didn’t even know tears were falling from my eyes.

‘Who told you I am trying to kidnap you?’

‘Mallam the nooks you are entering ai mun kusa barin Kaduna. You can kill me but please don’t destroy my dignity. Or please don’t even kill me’. I begged as a second thought. Call him Mallam, he might remember God and let you go.

At that point, I realised that I was scared of dying just as bad. Was I even ready to face God?

‘Look Mallama I was just trying to help you because I found you stranded in the rain. Ke ba ‘yar gidan Alhaji Zubair bace?’.

He even knew my fathers name. Maybe this was all planned. Maybe he had been stalking me.

He had probably noticed that my panic had renewed because he said ”Look maybe you don’t recognise me because you were younger when we last met, I am Anty Hassana’s brother and her daughter is getting married today. I just got some souvenirs and I am trying to take it there on time so that they can arrange it before the dinner then I’ll take you home’.

Then came a new rain, it wasn’t in it’s physical form, it was in the form of lasers of embarrassment. The kunya I felt could not be described. And it was after he said it that I recognized him. It wasn’t my fault, I hadn’t seen him in over ten years and the rate of kidnapping was enough to make me reach that conclusion. 

‘Then why are you following lungu?’ I asked in a small voice.

‘It’s a shortcut’. He answered, he sounded amused. Dafuq was he amused at?

‘Aw’ I mumbled. By the time we arrived Anty Hassana’s house, he was already laughing at me much to my chagrin. He didn’t even have the decency to pretend it wasn’t funny that I had made a complete fool of myself.

You know the worst part? It was the same wedding I was hosting and he attended the dinner. 

Throughout the wedding I was as uncomfortable as one with a diaper filled with poop because he was just staring at me and laughing. 

Did I slay? I didn’t even apply makeup oily children be damned. But I tried my best as a host despite the embarrassment eating me whole.

Bashir still never misses an opportunity to remind me of that incidence, and it still isn’t funny. 

He says ‘At least we have a story to tell the grandkids’.

‘The day you tell the grandkids will be the day you look for a new grandmother for them’. I always reply.