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You reading this can post all the things you wish to post about your life but I defiantly will not believe you because I’ve been let down so many times by people i thought had it together but are so full of it.

The reality is that It’s not all picture perfection and rosiness as is always the case on social media (I mean who will show you a picture of his failure and hard times?) because social media life and reality are as far apart as Spongebob and sense. 

Many events and people and situations were responsible for the reality check that knocked my sense to proper functionality because I too- like many others- had, once upon a time assumed that to a very large extent, the width of the smile on a persons face on his/ her social media pictures and videos are a reflection of reality. Boy was I  wrong!

Turns out for some, it was the only place they had to smile, it was the only way they could feel a flicker of happiness which soon dies and in a bid to revive it, they need to post more pictures, tell more lies, spread more rumours and pretend they are fine.

Social media (using term to refer to situations whereby people live-literally breathe on -and because of social media) is a sickness, a mental disorder and many are suffering from it directly or otherwise. 

Remember that Middle-Eastern British couple that were the perfect muslim couple personified? Remember the sham there lives were and how in reality, one had even attempted suicide? (Even though they are back at it now)

All because they had to portray a perfect life on social media and they couldn’t keep up because no one’s life is that flawless and in pushing to do so, they lose themselves .

There are the rich ones who are in fact broke or are fraudulent. Or the ones who body shame and flaunt their perfect bodies which in reality are photoshopped, or the ones who are easy-breezy-life-peasy but their lives warped AF. 

They are all masks, a facade; believe at your own risk. Social media profiles are in most cases the only aspect of people’s lives that they can control (before hackers come for that too), and of course they’ll paint it pink and lavender.

It is sad how we spend hours and money at the expense of a real social life all so that we can lose our souls to the internet in exchange for a clowns suit, because only in the clown’s world is it always full of laughter and merriment.

There are plenty more people I’ve admired, Nigerian socialites, motivational speakers, celebrities whose real lives look like a dull shade of black. 

Motivational speakers are the worse because behind all those words urging you on is a broken spirit roaming about a dark cage but the worse part of it is that they do not know. They see from the inside out so as far as they are concerned, you are the broken-spirited person in need so they try to heal you who needs little healing by giving you bits of the spirit they have left.

If social media where to be away for a little while and people are to try and really please themselves no matter the condition away from the eyes and expectations of others, then life would have been so much easier because many will find themselves.

I’m not painting social media bad, far from it; if you know how to utilise it for good. I’m not saying don’t post your pictures even if you are fake smiling (fake it till you make it right?). I’m not saying delete your social media account or don’t listen to motivation, I’m just saying; wise up, know what to believe, know who and what to emulate, do not compare yourself with others, do not kill yourself to measure up to those who probably have less. 

Be you. The people you see on Instagram should never be the scale to judge your life and successes on. Many are sham.

The relationship between myself and I is a love-hate one. I love myself, I absolutely do but there’s this lady, her name is ‘I’, she resides somewhere- I’m not sure where but I think it’s either my brain, my mind or my body. Sometimes I think ‘I’ is my shadow but then she lingers even after I can see no visible shadow. ‘I’ is more than the physical or tangible, in fact the fact that she’s not tangible makes her more powerful.

‘I’ is annoying, she annoys me to no end because she is too dauntless and daring and adventurous and she lands me in trouble all the time. Are you looking for bad advice cookie? That’s ‘I’. And she nags so much I find it hard to ward her off so to make her keep shut and have her off my case, I just go along with it… bad decision.

I want to lose weight so I try to cut down on food portions and avoid ‘bad’ food and even when I see a super juicy and cheesy chunk of junk, I direct my mind away by myself, but not ‘I’, ‘I’ redirects me. She comes with this super therapeutic voice and goes ‘do you really want to do this to yourself Hafsah? Do you really not want to indulge in this piece of edible luxury? You only live once you know’ and she is sooo good like an expert siren, I usually end up trailing her demands.

And later when I’m drowning in the guilt of it, she sits cross-legged on a plush chair by the side of the grey cube room that’s my mind and smirks to herself. She’s usually writing on a notepad- that’s one thing myself and ‘I’ have in common- and I think she’s scoring herself. By now it will probably read: ‘myself’ 7- 10834893 ‘I’.

‘I’ doesn’t like letting go of people so even when I have a crush on a guy and I want to move on, ‘I’ pushes me to just check his Instagram page one more time for updates, ‘It helps with the healing process’ she says. But she’s lying because I end up stalking him for three more hours….unhealthily.

‘I’ is (am) a hoarder. Like when she tells me I need stuff I don’t need. She’s like ‘Hafsah we are going to need this in the future, keep it’ and the future comes, and it goes and we never need it but we’ve kept it.

And she even hoards memories, some good ones- I must give her credit- but she hoards even the unnecessary, bad ones and that makes her hold grudges like an expert in the field of grudge keeping (there’s a pun lying here somewhere).

For example there’s a family gathering yeah? And I see that cousin and I’m approaching her because I want to catch up and… ‘I’ actually stops me. She says ‘remember when you were 4 years 7 months 1 week old and this cousin flicked a lit up match at you and it burned your arm? You still want to talk to her after THAT?!!! And the memory comes back anew, I feel the pain of the matchstick sizzle on my arm and I make a 360 turn away from the cousin. ‘I’, you are here on banned from interfering with my family life ever again.

When I learn a new song (which is usually some few lines), I don’t like letting ‘I’ know. Because when she gets hold of those lines, God in Heavens! It takes the whole spirit of the Earth to make her stop endlessly chanting them like a breathing mantra. And it annoys me because it’s stuck in my head every moment! But ‘I’ enjoys it. She just loves tormenting me.

You think you have naysayers? Mine resides within! This lady is my worse critic. Everything I do is subject to judgement. I can’t try to look pretty in front of the mirror, ‘I’ will start dissing me. And if so help me God I try to dance or worse sing, ‘I’ contorts her face like she’s smelling poop and grimaces, I’ll have to shamefully stop. That’s why I don’t like taking pictures because ‘I’ calls each of them ugly save one or two. Because of that, I may take 100 pictures and two days later, I’ll delete the lot to one or two. The ones approved by ‘I’. I hate her guts.

I know you are thinking I should let go of her and I’ve thought about it but even as I’m typing this right now, she’s in here laughing her heads off (wickedly) because she knows she’s here to stay. She knows she’ll outlive me, because I know that house, my mind will breathe and exists even after my body gives up the ghost.

And I can’t mute her because in between it all, she drops the most amazing writing and story ideas. She’s my perfectly ever-engaging muse. That’s where our love relationship comes in. I love her for the endless supply of stories she provides. Ever wondered why my stories are usually sadistic? Well….

And she’s my gossip partner, who else will I laugh about my boss with? Most times when you see me laughing to myself, it’s myself and I sharing an inside joke. And she spins the most romantic stories when she’s on her monthly’s. And she can be sweet in a mean way. She comes up plenty horrible ways to get back at people many of which I thankfully forcefully dismiss.

‘I’ is (am) a creative fellow, sometimes mean but usually to me and generally, there’s not a single dull moment between ‘I’ and myself.

By Jummai Umar

“Greetings, Jonathon.” She patted her purse, making sure all her belongings were inside and smiled. Jonathon was surprised to see her—how would she know his business at the port? 

“What a welcome surprise.”, he said in a friendly tone, trying to conceal his nervousness. “What brings you here?” 

“I never thought you would disrespect our mother so openly.”, she said, gesturing to the bodies on the ship, being transported to a life of servitude. 

“You know I have no choice. Business is booming, and you see what types of returns these good provide me.”, Johnathon said in a patient, yet condescending voice. He was the wealthiest man in town.

“Have you forgotten who we are? Those people are our brothers.” she said calmly. She looked into his eyes, searching for any remorse, any excuse for her to delay his fate. She adjusted her purse. 

“It doesn’t matter. Money is money.” He turned and waved as he walked towards his ship. 

“And your money– and life shall come to an end.” She reached into her purse. Her mother always told her that she would have no choices in life, just things she had to do. Smiling, she pulled the trigger.  

Kaduna was honoured to have hosted an event which is foreseen to be a milestone in the political, social and economic awareness for the progression of Arewa.

It is no secret that the people of Arewa have a fiery spirit of nationalism, leadership and of survival burning inside of them. 

It is no secret that a set of people instrumental to fighting for Nigeria’s independence and in fashioning Nigeria to become a great post-colonial country are majorly from the North. This much is evidenced in books of history and auto-biographical recounts of those who witnessed the birth of the nation.

But it is equally not a secret that that spirit of doing greater things innate in the heart of the North has fallen into a grave coma which threatens the stability and the core elements that make up the Northern part of Nigeria.

The 5th and 6th of July, 2019 marked the much anticipated maiden Northern Youth Summit themed; ‘Awakening The Arewa Spirit’. A product of the Northern Youth Initiative, the Northern Youth Summit was organised as a positive energy to jolt awake the otherwise comatose Arewa spirit.

I was privy to the first event, a networking and marketing program which chiefly featured an exhibition of a variety of wares, products and food from vendors from all over.

It was an event which fed the eyes on plenty colourful people some of whom were familiar social media faces, tickled the nose with wafts of sizzling aromatic chicken and other assortment of delicacies and gave a sense of delight with fragrances from different incense stands.

Many other things on display were clothings, accessories, arts and craft and other wares. 

If you’ve stopped by a stand were the most otherworldly and fragrant incense in glass where displayed for sale or you’ve seen two ladies going around (several times) with incense pots, chances are you’ve indulged in our decadent fragrance and if you’ve not bought it then you have a chance to redeem yourself by requesting below. 

All shameless advertising aside, it was a good way to network.

In recounting the 2nd day of the summit which was tagged “The Talk” (I wasn’t opportune to attend as I was socially unavailable), Architect Hauwa Musa, the CEO of Tahmys Spices and SOVs and a volunteer said ‘it was an insightful event that went for the jugular’.

‘It outlined the problems facing arewa: laziness, poverty, illiteracy, lack of discipline, lack of self reliance and poor knowledge of the institution of marriage as well as entitlement.

It was divided into three panels : 

Changing mindset’ which focused on the laziness of the arewa youth and our reliance on hand me downs. The proffered solutions were : The establishment of an all inclusive entrepreneurship program and center with satellite campuses in each arewa state so youths can learn skills that will benefit them, and a monitoring of these youths to ensure continuity and success.

Another action call is the creation of the Northern Hibiscus app to register and monitor arewa businesses to protect them from social media scammers and also help businesses save money (adashe), all for the betterment of the youth.

She highlighted the The 2nd Panel : Entrepreneurship from Zero to Hero where they talked about the steps leading to success in the entrepreneurship world. The panelists advised that there is no easy way to business and that steadfastness and patience pays.

And that entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs should refuse to give up and accept defeat in any chosen field of business they venture into.

On the last panel: the decay in our marital institution moderated by Ali Amin discussed the rising rate of divorce in arewa, it’s causes and probable solutions.

They discussed issues like : unrealistic expectations (fake portrayal), forced marriage, cheating and lack of preparedness of the youth for the institution of marriage and the patriarchal lifestyle of the north.

The rhetorical questions like “is the institution failing because woman are beginning to speak up?” were asked.The panelists pointed out that there was no full proof solution to this problem and different solutions for different problems and individuals but these solutions can go a long way in dealing with these problems.

Keeping God close and your family close, maintaining fidelity, mutual respect within the marriage, communication, constant feedback within the marriage and most importantly, knowing who you are marrying and expecting a spouse to change after marriage. They implored on individuals to understand the institution, the person’s vices and bring back the concept of marriage contract and also gain understanding of one’s rights and responsibilities towards a spouse.

Umar Buhari Ali summarised the whole Summit beautifully.

‘The Northern Youth Summit was organised to draw the attention of the youth with a view to reawakening the Arewa spirit. 

His Excellency, Ahmed El-Rufai , the Governor Of Kaduna State, happened to be an accidental guest at the occasion. Highlights of issues discussed include poverty, almajiranchi(bara), drug abuse, broken homes and marriages, gender molestation among other ills. It is very clear that the time is high for the Northern Youth to rewrite their story.

Gov El-rufai admitted the fact that the youth will have to get on the stage and pointed out how he has been encouraging and bringing a number of them on board in his government. 

Hon Abdulmumini Jibrin, a Kano state Lawmaker who was the main sponsor, in his keynote address emphasised the need for us to stop living in our past glory and face the future with courage and determination.

Hajiya Aisha El-rufai noted the unfortunate incident involving a Northern Youth Senator that has gone viral and offered some words of advice while the DG NBTI commended the governor for his bold initiatives .

Maryam Lemu other guests and panelists all made their contributions.

A member of the Local Organizing Committee and founder of Arewa’s top Instagram blog, Muhammad Awwal of Hausa Fulani said that been the part of the LOC is a huge accomplishment for me and for all. 

‘We all appreciate Aisha Falke for bringing this amazing idea of awakening Arewa to the table. Northern Youth Summit 2019 was indeed a glamorous success! 

The Summit was about changing our mindset for the better and how we can come together as a unit, empower, support and promote ourselves. It also highlighted how we can revive our values as a society and much more.

We need to start talking to ourselves about the series of problems  affecting our society; issues of insecurity, drug abuse, Almajiri, marriage problems, etc.

I strongly believe that this summit will surely bring positive changes as long as we can come together and work as one. 

And I’m certain this summit shall continue annually In Sha Allah.All thanks to the entire officials for this incredible event’ concluded Awwal.

With emphasis on how the Northern Youth Summit personally impacted her, Dr. Bilkisu Yusuf Yakubu had this to say, ‘The Northern Youth Summit was an amazing experience. I realised that Northern Nigeria has what it really takes to be a great place not a place where we are meant to suffer.

The third panel made me discover that we have a lot of work to do in the aspect of marriage. Parents don’t prepare their children for marriage and a lot of couples don’t really know what they are up for so most marriages are based on what people see on social media not knowing no two marriages are identical.

By and large I have been motivated beyond my imagination to pursue my goal of combining being a doctor , a housewife and an Entrepreneur In Sha Allah. DOCPRENEUR’.

Personally, the highlight of the event I attended physically was not only when we made sales or business contact but the interaction that came from it.

The highlight of the event I attended virtually was the impromptu visit of the most proactive Nigerian Governor and his wife Hajiya Aisha Ummi Garba who is easily the most stylish First Lady. Her dressing for both events were my favorite. 

So all said and done, a question still nags the base of my brain, what does this summit mean to Arewa as a whole, not to the organisers only, not to the attendees or participants but to the common man. The ones on the streets, the ones who had no idea the summit took place. Will it be a catalyst to a domino effect of restoration of the Arewa glory or a talk that was heard, applauded and photographed whose lessons are frozen in time and left in the venue of the summit.

Will it be the genesis of an annual awakening till we wake up from our developmental hibernation? Or will it be a written achievement attached to a paper stored in the archives of a passive history?

One thing is for sure. The summit happened, impact was felt, it is left for the ones imparted with the tools to make a change to do so. Because all talk and now work is a cause that has already been lost.

A suggestion I’d like to make to the organizers for the next summit is to work under the umbrella of the organising initiative, Northern Youth Initiative and not as a personal cause because the success of the initiative is a success to them and to all. I suggest they be more in the shadows, that will be more appealing to even international communities because NGO’s always attract more than individuals.

Another is to diversify the speakers. Get more speakers who are less in the public eye but equally, if not more experienced. And for the sake of inclusivity, people from different backgrounds , works of life and beliefs because what we lack more than anything is an understanding that the world is wider than our immediate and environment and that there’s a lot to learn from others than we realise.