A LIFE IN BRIEF
Hajia Talatu Dan Azimi is from Makurdi, the Benue State capital. She lives and does her highly successful masa production business in the city. She was married at a tender age and was widowed 11 years ago. She has eight children, five boys and three girls. She has become an employer of labour by diligently doing what she knows how to do best.
BY HEMBADOON ORSAR
My name is Hajia Talatu Dan Azimi, I live at Number 20, Kano Street, Wadata in Makurdi the state capital, I was born here in Makurdi and this is where I grew up, and got married to my late husband Dan Azimi. I can’t remember the exact year I got married But all I know is that I got married 30 years ago. I have eight children, five males three females. I am the second wife. In order to complement my husband’s efforts in taking care of myself and the children, I started the business of frying masa more than 10 year ago. In this business Allah has been helping me, little by little. The business has expanded, people have been coming from far and near to book for the masa for their occasions, I lost my husband 11years back but with this masa business I am able to train my children up to university level, four of my children are currently studying at ABU Zaria and another one is at the verge of entering the university too. The other three have just graduated from secondary school and it is this business that has brought me this far.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
When I got married to my husband at a tender age, and my husband had another wife and as I started bearing children I needed something that I will be doing to help my husband, by then his mother was alive and she was in this masa business, that was how I started learning this masa business from her and when she died I took over from her and started producing it on my own till today and during festival periods like in December, I used to have a lots of market here, I am really grateful to Allah, for his mercies on me.
To do business and win your customers’ heart is not an easy thing, but Allah has been helping me to at least satisfy my customers, that is giving them their taste and more importantly deliver on time because, most of my customers book for masa to use it as one of the food that will be served at their occasions so I try as much as possible to keep to the time I give to them, so for me that is what I can say is the story behind my success.
ANY REGRET SO FAR?
Why would I regret doing a business that I am into for many years which has been helping me over the years to train my children, clothe them and myself even when anyone is sick is the money from this masa that will be used in treating such a person, even if the government gives me a loan of N1million, I will use it to expand my masa business. I have come a long way in this business no need of changing it. I don’t even have the strength to start another business and begin to look for fresh customers.
In any business you are doing, you don’t allow customers anger to overwhelmed or discourage you, I believe in sincerity and to be focused on what I am doing. You can see I am also an employer of labour, I have like four to five women working under me, and I am paying them based on the quantity one is able to produce in three or five days, ranging from N3,000 to N5,000.
I don’t really have anything in particular or spectacular to call hobby, because for me any little time or chance I get I want to relax and sleep I don’t even watch television. I have high blood pressure so any time I am free, my own is to lie down and sleep, so I don’t know whether sleeping is also a hobby.
For me, I can say my mentor was my late husband’s mother, the late Mama Adama Inusa, because this masa business that I am into now, I learnt from her, and that is what is providing food on my table so absolutely that was my mentor.
YOUR MEMORABLE MOMENTS
My memorable moments are when I am able to give my customers their satisfaction in terms of quality and they get back and bring a lot of customers for me, and as a widow be able to put smiles on the faces of those who work for me and food on their tables. YOUR
My most embarrassing moment is when customers book for masa without bringing a cooler or container which the masa will be kept inside and in the process of serving those that brought their coolers a customer will just arrive with a cooler rushing you to abandon other customers and served him or her because he or she first came.
My advice to women especially my fellow widows is that they should look for something no matter how little and start doing because a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step rather than sitting idle, or resorting to begging or depending on men.