Naja’atu Bala – Of a Social Activist with a Heart of Steel
By Fiddausi Abba Wada,
As a child back then, my interest was mostly in reading story books that I often wondered why adults listen to radio or watch boring news on TV, thereby preventing us from watching our favorite cartoons like Tom and jerry, tintin and many Disney productions, then.
While the grownups listen/watch their boring programs, we engaged in what we deem fit for ourselves and mostly end up playing or in my own case, snuggle at a corner with my story book of the day.
It was on a fateful night during one of these radio programs ‘Kowanne gauta’ of freedom radio precisely, that I first heard that powerful voice. She had this thundering voice that I got to know was due to annoyance of what she was discussing.
Her speech was meticulous, precise and accurate. She was hammering on bad governance and calling out names, figures and instances without catching a breath. I was captivated. Not by what she was saying because I wasn’t really understanding but how she was saying it. I had a perfect picture of her conjured in my head sitting graciously and dishing out that perfect speech. I wanted to understand what she was saying.
She went on and kept elaborating on nuisances and how to tackle them. I remember the radio guy trying to cut her off in mid explanations and she was clearly not having it that way. She calmly but firmly asked him to let her land and that got me thinking who the heck that woman was. She exudes power, strength, wisdom and charisma combined.
Growing up some years later, I learnt who she was and what she agitates for. Hajiya Naja’atu Bala Muhammad was the wife of the famous Dr Bala Muhammad of Bayero University Kano, who was also a political adviser to the Governor of the Kano State in the Second Reepublic, Abubakar Rimi. And she is a politician too. She attended St. Louis Private School, Kano, and went to WTC Secondary School in Kano. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and was the Students’ Union President in Ahmadu Bello University during her days. Hajiya Naja’atu is the first female that was nominated for a Senate seat in Kano State. She is an unrelenting activist and puts great efforts in advocating for women empowerment, growth and inclusiveness in all the walks of life at her domain.
Barrister Sunusi Umar Sadiq wrote “Naja was a one-time president of the ABU student union. That’s in the ’70s. That meant she was no ordinary woman. But I do believe that it was the brutal assassination of her husband that emboldened her. A husband whose name she still refuses to let go even after going into another marriage”
I am not sure if I can site all her achievements so far but I know she has created a niche for herself and people know her for notoriously peppering and grilling politicians and other public office holders who succumb to mischief or tyranny. And this is what raised my suspicion about the fact that she is not in any way a woman.
The women I know in politics are mostly tough and brave but then there’s always that issue of dependency and submissiveness for male validation and it usually has a predicted ending, where they are given a pat on the head and shooed off to a corner with political appointments, contracts or national recognition to mention a few least.
Mrs Naja’atu Muhammad has defied all odds not to bow to these norms and has tirelessly stood out in her own way, instilling fear in the minds of men. She made them splutter and quiver in an effort to launch a counter-attack. Which woman does that effortlessly?
In my 29 years existence on earth, I have never sat down to stalk a woman virtually as much as I do in the case of Naja’atu Bala Muhammad, because whenever she talks about an issue, you’ll have a handful of knowledge about that issue to the point you can also raise arguments and give valid reasons as if the event unfolded in your presence.
The epic question of her being a woman keeps hammering at the back of my mind when I watch her grant interviews/speeches with that sophisticated aura of a fierce warrior, her bold and beautiful looks, her sense of fashion and how she weaves her exotic speeches with that commanding tone of a battalion leader whose might and stance makes you want to fade in the shadows.