Life In Brief
Mrs Fati Ali Ma’aji is from Kano Municipal in Kano State. I am a barrister at the Supreme Court. The ninth of her father’s 14 children, she attended Magwan Special Primary School and the Teachers Training College Mallam Madori before proceeding to the Bayero University, Kano where she obtained an LLB. She later proceeded to the Nigeria Law School Lagos. Fati who is married with children is a barrister of the Supreme Court.
Where and when were you born?
My name is Mrs Fati Ali Ma’aji from Kano Municipal in Kano State. I am a barrister at the Supreme Court. My father was the late Mallam G. A. Ali and my mother is Hajia Hawa Aliyu. I was born in Kano Municipal in Kano City on the 21 July, 1974.#
What position are you in your family?
I came from a polygamous family. My father had two wives. I grew up to meet all of them living together, so I am the ninth out of my father’s 14 children and fifth of my mother’s.
Where and when did you school?
I attended Magwan Special Primary School in 1974. My school was well known because of a popular restaurant near the school called Magwan. Then it was one of the best government owned primary schools apart from missionary schools like Kano Capital or St. Louis. Most of the Rich children around attended the primary school. From there I got admission into Teachers Training College Mallam Madori, when it was still part of Kano State now it is part of Jigawa; thereafter I gained admission to the Bayero University, Kano where I obtained my LLB. I immediately proceeded to the Nigeria Law School Lagos, it was my very first time of leaving Kano in fact I was even scared of taking flight to Lagos, that my sister had to help by accompanying me. I was called to bar a year latter precisely 9 December 1996, from there I finished my NYSC and served with the defunct Afribank Nigeria PLC. Immediately after my service I was retained in the bank and there I rose to the post of Chief Recovery Officer at regional level in Abuja.
When did you start building your career?
Actually I was a science student aspiring to be a medical doctor but since there was no career councilor then I ended up studying law and today as God will have it I’m a lawyer by profession. It all started when I applied for Medicine at the Bayero University Kano, when that didn’t go as planned I was then counseled by Professor Auwwalu Yadudu to take up the law admission. Then in 1991, I had already paid the fee of N35,000, so they sympathized with me because they knew my father was in the ministry of education and they were like how could you waste N35,000 just because you didn’t get what you applied for? They encouraged me that since I had a good result and since I could do sciences I could also succeed in law. I eventually took up the admission in law.
Who taught you?
During my primary school days there was this teacher called Mallam Mohammed. He used to encourage the girls to learn and even used to help us come out in front of the class to try and express ourselves and to have the confidence to answer questions in the presence of any body. Same for Hajiya Sade Babalola, my secondary school teacher. That helped me a lot as I went ahead pursuing my career.
Who is your mentor?
My mentor is Professor Auwwalu Yadudu, former Vice Chancellor of the Bayero University, Kano and dean faculty of law. He helped me a lot learning the ropes up to what I have become today.
What is your inspiration?
My inspiration and source of strength has always being my dad. All I am today I got it from my dad. He was an educationist. He had all the law books at home yet he wasn’t a lawyer. He had all the knowledge about police yet he wasn’t a policeman, so living around such environment that was virtually a library. I was inspired. Thanks to my dad.
What are your dreads and fears in life?
To be honest with you my fears while growing up in the North was the issue of marriage. I dreaded being seen with a man and I feared childbirth. I mean childbirth as in before or after marriage I dreaded the thought of it. But thanks to God I was able to conquer the fears with education, exposure and shared experiences of others. When people shared their experiences with me about what I feared so much it helped me build my own courage to face my greatest fears in life.
What were your challenges?
I think my greatest challenges then was the absence of guidance councilors; you are left alone to make decisions for yourself at that tender age. And of course my mum; my mother was not educated and as such never knew the importance of education as my dad. Had it being she bought the idea of education on time I should have been better. If I had her understanding and perhaps the support of a guiding councilor maybe I would have chosen a better career for myself. And I think I would have started earlier than I did in pursuing my dreams but I’m still thankful to God for everything.
Are you saying you’re regretting your chosen career?
I’m not regretting because as a Muslim and as a human being, whatever God has destined you have nothing to do than to accept it in good fate and pray to be successful and get the best out of it.
What are your regrets?
My regret was that my mum wasn’t educated and did not see any advantages in education, she wasn’t giving the female children the needed support to pursue education and you know we were always closer to her than our father so it really affected us.
How are you now different from other women?
I’ll be happy to say that I’m much different from other women most especially the ones that are less privileged to go to school, those that are not educated. I conduct myself, I pursue my business and even the way I run my home as a married woman, the way I train my children and the way I work and carryout activities in the society is way different from what and uneducated woman will do. if you went to school and learned definitely the way you’ll operate will be glaring.
What are your future plans?
I want to reach the climax of my profession up to the chief justice of Nigeria. That is my dream, that is why I left the banking sector and came back to my dream and for that fact I came to the Supreme Court to learn every aspect of the judiciary and that’s why everyday I’m in court to know the court proceedings, how the justices handle issues in court and what have you.
How do you combine your business, work and family life?
The most important thing about women from the North with husbands with more than one wife is, if you find yourself in such situation you have to work with the understanding of your husband, once your husband believes in you, you’ll give him the peace of mind that wherever you are he can trust you. Then you’ll run your business, home and career without problems. With understanding, my husband encouraged and supported me to even further my education and obtain a masters degree in International Relations.
What’s your advice to fellow women?
Women need not wait for anybody; wherever you are, you must make efforts to educate yourself. It is even very important in being educated to be able to raise your children in this modern world. If you’re educated even if you’re not a civil servant you can at least pursue any ambition and become a better person in life or even in business. Even at home even if you need to advise your children what can you tell them when you’re not educated?