How would you describe your childhood growing up amidst boys?
My childhood was very interesting because I was the only girl in the house, so I was pampered and got everything I wanted. Since I was the only girl in the house, I was like a spoilt brat.
In retrospect what do you miss most about your early days?
What I missed the most is my mother’s love and care. Growing up, I was always around my mum, and I got all I wanted. She always wanted to do everything to please me. Though she is still alive, she is not with me here in Bauchi and I missed that care from her. We talk regularly on the phone but it is different from when we see face to face.
While growing, how social were you?
My parents were very, very strict, so I didn’t go to parties. I was usually indoors and there was nothing I could tell my parents that would make them allow me to go out of the house for parties and stay there till about 6pm. It was not possible.
So, what did you always do to occupy yourself when you were indoors?
I was reading; I also watched television. On some occasions, some of my friends would come over and we’d be together but definitely not in the evening because I couldn’t go out by 6pm and nobody could come looking for me after that time.
At what point did you first have a real love relationship?
My first relationship that my family knew about was in my final year in school and that was in 1990. I was in a relationship, even though it was platonic. It was nothing really serious but people knew this was my friend, he could come to our house and my parents knew him.
When and how did you meet your husband?
I met my husband when I came to Bauchi for my National Youth Service Corps programme in 1991, after the Bauchi riot of that year. Immediately after the riot, many people were going to the Barracks. I was also on my way to the Barracks when I met him.
So, what happened?
I was just standing by the road and he pulled over and asked where I was going. I told him I was going to the Barracks and luckily, he was going there too, so he gave me a ride. I accepted the ride because it was about to rain. As soon as I entered his car, he asked for my name and I told him. Surprisingly, he said I would be his wife and I felt, ‘Where is this one coming from? And what is that supposed to mean?’ So, he dropped me off and I forgot about it but he found me again and somehow, we started dating.
What attracted you to him?
One thing that attracted me to him was his humility. Despite my unfriendliness and use of wrong words to him, he didn’t take any offence, he still saw me as a baby that he could pamper. He didn’t get offended by anything I said, and whatever I told him didn’t bother him as I felt he was too old for me. However, he didn’t mind and he was bent on what he wanted. At the end of the day, because he insisted, he won me over.
Did you deliberately prove hard to get?
Not really; I just felt he was too old for me but in the long run, I realised that the other one (man) that was close to me was quite bossy. When my husband was making advances to me, he pampered me, cared for me and gave me a listening ear. He just wanted to make me happy and feel good. So, I just felt that he would be better than the other guy that was bossy; who I feared could beat me up one day.
In the midst of your tight work schedule, do you ever find the time to pamper yourself?
Yes, because I like to look good; so most times, I find a way of making new clothes, buying myself something new. And if I’m out of Bauchi, I can go out to see movies, just make myself happy and look okay.
What are your hobbies?
I love listening to gospel music on my bed. I love travelling and watching Nollywood films. Oh, I love sending text messages to my husband and if he doesn’t reply, it is trouble. I like telling him how much I love him; especially when I travel, he gets plenty of text messages from me. I also love making calls and I like singing too.
For you, what does a typical weekend look like?
My typical weekend involves plenty of rest because that’s when I really have time with my husband because none of us goes to work then, so at least, we will have time to chat, eat together, and tell each other a lot of stories. Weekends are more of a bonding time for us, except when we have a wedding or an event to attend. But on a typical weekend when we have no event to attend, it’s just relaxation all through.
How often do you shop for new fashion items?
Very often; I can just walk into the market and see something I like and pick it up.
Which would you opt for without thinking – mobile gadgets or jewellery?
I am not a phone freak, at all. I prefer pieces of jewellery and clothes.
What did you find interesting about Bauchi that made you stay here?
It is peaceful here unlike Port Harcourt, Rivers State. In Bauchi, if I have lecture scheduled to start at 8am, I can leave my house five minutes to the time and get there on time because there is no traffic. Everything is quite peaceful here, even though things are changing now but I am sure it won’t get to the level of what they experience in the South.
You grew up in Port Harcourt and then settled in Bauchi; how did your parents feel when you came here?
It wasn’t easy at all because it was a tug of war for me to leave home to come to Bauchi for my NYSC programme. When I was posted to Bauchi, I cried my eyes out but somehow, I met one old man that I still can’t find till today. He told me to go because I didn’t know what God had for me there. So I decided to come. And as I hadn’t been to the North before, I felt that even if they wanted to post me to the North, why did they have to send me to Bauchi and not places like Kano or Kaduna that were more popular. But that man encouraged me to come so I decided to come. I told my mum to allow me to visit Bauchi but she didn’t want to allow me to come as she wanted me to redeploy but my dad said I could go. I enjoyed the orientation camp because it was a wonderful time. I was given the opportunity to redeploy after the camp but I didn’t want to do that again because I had met new friends. I saw a new life, everything was different. I felt I should just explore what was in Bauchi, so I stayed back and that was how I met my husband.
Do you have any regret coming to Bauchi?
No, not at all because Bauchi has blessed me so much that I can’t count them. I had all my kids in Bauchi and they all graduated here. God has really blessed me; I have no regrets. Even with all the crises in Nigeria, I have not seen any crisis in Bauchi. Things have been happening but I have not seen them, I only hear about them.
How supportive has your husband been?
My husband supports the work I do; as a lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, he supports me 100 percent. When I was a council member, dean and the Head of Department at the same time and I hardly had time for my family, my husband coped and he understood. Once in a while, if I am in the office longer than necessary, he comes to the office to see me and he would stay with me till I finish the work and that’s why everybody here knows him.
What are some of the challenges associated with your job?
The challenges include threats from some hoodlums; you know not all students are cultured, some of them are wild. When some of them are rude or don’t dress well to class and you ask them to leave your class, they’ll begin to send you threat messages. This is part of the hazards of the job, but it’s not new, we are used to it.
Are there special things you do to reignite the love in your marriage?
Yes, there are special days like my husband’s birthday, our anniversary, and so on; they are days I know I don’t forget. Even if he wants to forget (them), I won’t agree. So, we remember them and appreciate one another. We also buy gifts for one another from time to time. He could just see something that he feels would fit his wife and he would buy it for me. He does not wait till my birthday before he gets me gifts; he just buys them for me. We send messages and call each other. We could leave the house now and the next minute, we are calling each other to know how work is going.
How do you pamper yourself when you have the time?
I can make any dish of my choice and eat to make myself happy. I could go out to buy things just to make myself happy. I could buy gifts for myself, for my kids or I could just call them and their responses would make me happy.
What has been your experience like since you started work with the Polytechnic?
I started work at the polytechnic as an Assistant Lecturer in 1993. Over the years, I grew and later became the Head of Department, from there, I became the Dean, School of Business, and then, I became a Member of the Council. I have also worked in so many committees in the school. There is virtually nobody, including new lecturers coming in now, that don’t know me. This is because of the level of growth I have attained in the school, so even my colleagues accord me that respect. And these all happen by the grace of God.
Do you still find the time to prepare a special meal for you and your family?
Yes, I do that always, nobody cooks for me. Nobody cooks because my husband will not eat somebody else’s food. He doesn’t eat out and if it’s somebody else that prepared the food, he will know. Instead, he is ready to eat food from the freezer and if I am travelling, I have to cook different foods and put them in the freezer for him.
What special moments have you had in your life that you can’t forget?
One of my very special moments was the day I got married. It was a day that I didn’t see coming and it came suddenly. When I entered the church that day, the crowd was so much that I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw. It was one moment I keep looking back and thanking God for.
Do you have any regrets in life?
My only regrets have to do with two siblings that we lost within two to three years interval; I didn’t see it coming. It was something that was like a big blow and I haven’t been able to come out of it. Yes, I have moved on, but there is something that always reminds me of them, especially when I see their mates and friends. At such times, I remember them again. That’s one pain I can’t erase from my mind.
Your husband is a lawyer, how does it feel to be married to a lawyer?
Being married to a lawyer makes me understand law better; it makes me know my rights in the society because from time to time, we discuss these things and he gives me some of his books to read. So, I understand what my rights are and I know when to fight for my rights and when not to. To an extent, it gives me an idea of what law is about. Even though I know their flaws and I let him know their flaws, he’s sometimes handicapped about such things.