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I Learn From My Mistakes – Zainab



Zainab Buba Galadima was born in Maiduguri, Borno State into the family of Engr Buba Galadima and Hajia Fanna Buba Galadima, the only girl among six children. She received her primary education at Maiduguri International Primary School and for her secondary school education; she attended Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Bakori, Katsina State. She holds three master’s degrees. She is a grassroots politician who once represented Wuse ward in the Abuja Municipal Area Council as a counsellor. Presently, she is working as technical assistant to the vice president on domestic and sexual violence.


My name is Hon Zainab Buba Galadima, I was born in Maiduguri to Engr Buba Galadima, a politician and Hajia Fanna Buba Galadima, a businesswoman and philanthropist. I have five brothers. I am the only girl in the family.

I’m married with two kids, I’m a grassroots politician, a youth activist and a businesswoman. I had my primary education at Maiduguri International Primary School, my secondary school at the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Bakori, Katsina State. From there I proceeded to London for my higher studies. I did my A Levels at Padworth College, Berkshire; my Business Admin Intermediary programme at American Intercontinental University, before moving over to Regents Business School, London where I got a degree in International Finance and Accounting. I have an MBA, MA in Management and Leadership and another MA in Information Technology Management.

I am a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA). I am currently doing a post graduate diploma (PGD) in Conflict and Peace and Strategic Studies in Nile University.

I was a counsellor here in Abuja between 2013 and 2016. I represented Wuse ward under Abuja Municipal Area Council. I was the only opposition and so I was the minority leader. I now work with the vice president.

I have a tea shop and a restaurant.


I was in Maiduguri till I entered secondary school. I have fond memories of those days. I remember Maiduguri as a very peaceful place. As I said earlier, I have five brothers, I grew up in the midst of boys. I didn’t have that girlish attitude, in fact then I saw myself as a boy. If my father buys them bicycle, he buys me one; if he buys toy gun for them, he buys one for me. It was very peaceful then and we had this sense of community life.

My father had some Igbo people that worked for him in his construction company; we had cordial relationship with them. It was always peaceful. I grew up with so much attachment to this kind of community life. There was a lot of peaceful co-existence between us and other people. That is what we miss a lot now.


I am the only one that took after my father in politics, all my other brothers are doing their own thing; they are professionals in their own fields.

Initially, the men tried to intimidate me, but they couldn’t because I have always been around men, and to be honest, I never see myself as a woman. Most of my friends are men. So, I really more or less think like the men do.

When I was running for the counsellorship, the men actually thought they could put me down, but then they realised that I had some sort of strength which they never thought I had and with my size, they didn’t really see that coming.

In politics, you have to have courage, you have to be determined, regardless of your sex, you have to stand for something, if not you will just crash.


I have passion for cooking, I make my own tea, I have my own recipe. I love tea and I love to cook. So, I decided to set up the business. My father supported me. I have closed the shop now, but we still produce from home, which is easier for me because of the high cost of setting up a shop.

I opened for business in 2014/15. It is actually a modernised version of the popular ‘mai shaye’ which we see by the roadside. I loved mai shaye, before I got married; I had a friend with whom I normally drove around. We would stop by mai shaye, sit there and take a drink.


I had this teacher, Mrs Udensi, in primary school, I have been looking for her. She was my best teacher. She was the ‘sisi’ of the school, with her jerry curls. She was really nice to us. We also had this other teacher, Mrs Sati, she is English. She really liked me and I always visited at her house.

Secondary school was the best time of my life, even though at that time I felt it was the worst, but looking back, I have this nostalgic feeling. We were very close to our physics teacher, Mr Muraino, he gave us extra lessons for free and each time we did anything deserving punishment, we ran to him for protection. He was a gentleman.

My Father

I love being my father’s daughter. We might disagree on issues, but everybody has a mind of his own, and I feel he has the right to express himself. I am proud of him for the stands he decides to take, I am proud of him because he is fearless, because he just has a mind of his own. We have a lot in common, but we don’t get along much, because we are the same person. I also try to maintain my own stand, if I am not doing something; I am not doing it regardless of the pressure.


I mean well for Nigeria. I want to be somebody that would go down in history as one who made impact in the Nigerian society. Really, I have no limit to what I want to become. I can be the president.


I am a workaholic. With two kids, it’s tough. Sometimes, I just love to drive around. I go to Katampe, I drive around, observing the beautiful houses there and come back.


Everybody makes mistakes. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and in politics. But the thing is, that is life. If you are smart enough to realise that you have made a mistake, you should be able to use that mistake to get yourself back on track and learn from the mistake. Some mistakes you may have to live with, but you have to step out of the box, look at the box and see how you can make the box fit you.


I don’t take life serious. Maybe sometimes I am too relaxed about things, I just let it go.

Maybe I would have gotten married earlier, I got married at 31. By now I would have finished having my kids instead of just starting.

I would have done something different from accounting. I just found out that accounting is not my calling. I love architecture.

Mentors/Role models

My husband, Ibrahim; Hon Mai Mala Buni; Prof Yemi Osinbajo; my parents.





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