Zainab Marwa-Abubakar was born in Bauchi State and raised in a multi tribal and multi lingual family, with a father from Adamawa state and a mother from Imo. She is the last of her mother’s four children. She attended about 14 schools across Nigeria, the United States and the United Kingdom, including Essence International School, Kaduna for her secondary education. She graduated at the age of 19 from the University of Buckingham in the UK where she also did her Masters in service management.
My name is Zainab Marwa-Abubakar. I am a hardworking, committed and intellectually curious woman. I was born in Bauchi State and raised in a multi tribal and multi lingual family, with a father from Adamawa state and a mother from Imo. My father is Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd) and my mother is Mrs Zainab Marwa. I am the last of four children, with two older brothers: Abubakar and Mohamed respectively and one older sister Mariam, we all happen to be law graduates.
My father being a military man, we were blessed to move around a lot and immerse ourselves in different cultures in and out of Nigeria. I once counted attending 14 schools across Nigeria, America and the UK, including Essence International School, Kaduna where I had my secondary education. From there I proceeded to the UK for my foundation, degree and masters. I got my degree with honours from the University of Buckingham in the UK at the age of 19. I also did my Masters in service management at Buckingham.
I often try to pinpoint certain times in my life that have resulted in who I am as a woman today. I find that when I think about my humanitarian side, I recall my community service I did teach at a local government primary school. I recall that they had no chairs but there was an unspeakable joy the children showed upon our arrival. I remember our visit to ABU Teaching Hospital which was then in Kaduna. My heart broke at the sight of a young girl with cancer of the eye. I wept. What I remember even more is that something was lit in me that day, a need and yearning to live to help others, to make their lives easier, to serve. Like a small match causing an explosion, this fire burned in me till I finally launched my non-governmental organisation (NGO) in 2006. All these incidents led me and carried me to where I am now.
Funny enough, I recall my maternal uncle calling my siblings and me and asking all of us what we wanted to be when we grow up. I must have been about six years old then. My elder brother said he wanted to be a pilot, the next said he wanted to be a soldier, my sister said she wanted to be a teacher and when it came to my turn I looked my uncle dead in the eyes and said, I want to be a mother. Of course everyone roared with laughter as I threw myself on the bed and sobbed for dear life, till this day I don’t know what is so funny about such a lofty and honourable dream as being a mother. Unlike so many that had the dreams of going into space as an astronaut or studying dinosaurs as a palaeontologist, I, Zainab Marwa, wanted to be a mother.
As I said we moved around a lot. And when you move around a lot you are often the new kid, and that comes with a lot of issues. I recall some instances of bullying and some anti-social behaviour on the part of some kids. Bullying, although never physical in my case, is something that I think does scare you if left unchecked. I soon realized however that I had the gift of the gab as they say, meaning when I speak people tend to listen. I used this gift to bend the-would-be bullies to my will and we ended up being friends most times.
I had a blissful childhood I must say. When I think back to those childhood days my memories are scattered with jewels of family vacations, playing volleyball and basketball with my parents and siblings in the evenings, accompanying my parents on official duties and such. I think my most fond memories were those spent sightseeing. My fond memories are centred on family time and travel, creating fantastic memories and just living in the moment.
I consciously and deliberately devoted a decade of my life to having my babies and raising them the way that my heart desired before setting off for the exploits of my NGOs, where I generally devote my working hours.
This will sound really cheesy. But in all honesty my parents. My mother is the most kind-hearted and charitable person I have ever met. She is highly intelligent and yet sacrificed her passions for her kids to fly. My father is a genius, if I do say so myself, he is amazing, his intellectual prowess and ability to me is legendary. I find his light in his almost superhuman understanding of my psyche. He gave me a lot of confidence as a child because of this.
I think the main mistake I made in my younger years was putting my happiness in the hands of someone else. Giving someone else the immense power upon my life as to make me happy or sad, to control my moods. I think this is a problem a lot of people face. It took me a while to understand that I am the captain of my ship.
I will encourage the young girls of this generation to strive and make their efforts visible in most of the positive segments of the society in general. Our girls should also participate in the polity educationally, politically, socially, intellectually and also in the entrepreneurship sector of Nigeria’s economy.
Now this is interesting. I have failed. I only own up to this one failure, the rest I see as experiences but this I see as a failure. At quite a young age I wanted to go into a business which I did but I was met with so many road blocks, I promptly gave up. I had amazing ideas which by now would be worth millions in the bank, I know this because I have since followed the field and watched others excel at it. My attitude to failure since that time is to push through, never give up and never give in.
I am going into politics.
I relax by watching shows that interest me, reading novels or whatever interests me and also by taking time out of life, pausing, speaking to myself.
I absolutely detest disloyalty. That is a trait that I find most reprehensible. Disloyalty is a most repulsive character flaw and I pray for Allah to steer me clear of people that are disloyal.
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