Nine years ago, the farthest I’ve travelled in this country was Kwara state. First it was offa, then Oro and finally, Ilorin. Press the “fast forward” button to 2016 and I’ve known places. Well, it’s a privilege. Not that I’m a tourist who’s paying for the trips with his money.
I’ve been to the northern part of this country. In fact, I’ve been to the north and I’ve also been to the core north. Trust me, there’s a big difference between the two. If you’ve been to Abuja, Kaduna or even Nassarawa, you surely know the north. If you’ve however travelled through Sokoto, Katsina or even Kebbi, then you’re at liberty to talk about the core north.
Having spent all my life in the South, I grew up with some incorrect, sometimes absurd, information about the northerners. Permit me to highlight briefly the ten things you probably don’t know about the Hausas.
- All Northerners Are Not Hausas
Wrong idea! Many of you assume unnecessarily that anyone from the north is/must be a Hausa. Meanwhile, a Fulani man can beat you up if you refer to him as a Hausa man.
- Daura Is The Spiritual Home Of The Hausas
You know the relevance of Ile-Ife to the yorubas, right? Same applies to Daura (Buhari’s hometown). The Hausa kingdom began as seven states inhabited by Hausa-speakers. These are known as the true Hausas. They are: Daura, Kano, Katsina, Zaria, Gobir, Rano and Biram. The other half of the kingdom was called the Banza Bakwai (Bastard or Bogus seven). They are: Zamfara, Kebbi, Yauri, Gwari, Kwararafa, Nupe and Ilorin.
- The Core North Is Hot
Sokoto is the Federal Capital of Planet Mercury. And am not even exaggerating. Of course, this might not be a breaking news but trust me, the hotness is in HD. I once took a bike ride, expecting to receive fresh air (breeze) once the bike was in motion. OYO was just my case! The “breeze” hitting my body was like the steam of a locomotive train. When it rains, it herald heat, when it’s cold, it’s also in excess.
- An Average Hausa Man is Honest
Honesty is still a virtue to a typical Hausa man. While in Daura, I got to realize that you can call an Okada man, give him a download of groceries you intend to buy in the market, hand the money over to him and go to bed. He’ll surely bring your goods to you and hand over the exact change! Hypothetically speaking, the word Gaskia (Truth) is held sacred. When a seller tells you Gaskia, believe me, he can’t/won’t sell below that price.
- Don’t Drink But Smoke
Following the tenets of Islam, drinking alcohol is usually considered a taboo. As such, most beer shops are located outside the cities and towns. But Smoking is allowed. And people here can smoke the light out of a floodlight! I’ve seen a family where all the members share smoke sticks. The total number of people that smoke in the south east still won’t half the number of smokers in Kano alone. In addition, the constant abuse of codeine is a menace the government battle daily. Add Shisha, and the party is just about to commence.
- The 10:00am Golden Rule
Kano is the commercial center of the north. But business activities don’t start here till 10:00am in any given day. Forget the “Lagos doesn’t sleep” syndrome of the West or the “24/7 hustle spirit” of the East. Kano sleeps comfortably when it’s time to and guess what? Millions, if not billions, exchange hands in singer market and the other big markets daily.
- The Smuggling Business
In certain areas in Katsina and Sokoto state, the best buildings you’ll see in the towns are Filling Stations. Houses are built with muds in the villages yet “beautiful” filling stations are scattered all around. My curiosity led me to a shocking discovery. Most of the filling stations smuggle the fuel into Niger Republic and sell, thereby making a 100% increase in profit. The “Oyel blood money” is also been spent here and it’s the quickest way the elites are getting rich.
- Foreign Haven
You’ve been told that many foreigners live in Jos. You’ve also heard that it’s because of the cool weather in J-town. You should also know that many foreigners live in Kano too and they own almost all the eateries in the city. They mix with the locals well and feel safe. Unlike the South-South, the fear of kidnappers barely exist.
- Mutilated Spenders
If there’s one thing the Yorubas are good at, it’s the idea of rejecting the Naira note the moment a little dent is on it. “The #100 sign is not showing well below”, the old pepper-seller will shout at you. “Why is the CBN Governor signature not clear”, the Danfo conductor will scream loud. But a trader in the north will collect the mutilated money from you so far it’s a Naira and genuine.
- The North is Safe
Boko haram, Yes! I know. They kill, kidnap and rape girls but it’s majorly in Borno. The greater part of the north is safe. The people are friendly and quite hospitable.
Those are some of my thoughts for today. As usual, feel free to share yours with me in the comment section.