By Salim Yunusa
Whenever I proudly proclaim “Ni fa ɗan Tudun Wada ne” – I am from Tudun Wada, – people think I say that to sound tough, rough or somewhat a deviant. And they’re partly right, because being from Tudun Wada will make anyone dealing with you to know that you don’t take crap and you’re not a pushover.
Tudun Wada, Zaria, a place once known for thuggery, moral decadence and regression, has had an amazing twist of fate in the last few decades; the thugs have dropped their weapons and picked up tools, seeking gainful employment. Spots and sights that are notoriously famous for immoral acts have been converted to schools and trade sites. Of course, no society is perfect, but the progress recorded in our community is on the right side of history.
When I walk around the long roads of Aminu and Maje roads, I see the imprint of my childhood; of games played in filin Ka-ci-uwaka, of tyres rolled in the streets of Kugu road and playing “service” in the middle of Sabon layi. I see my peers, whom I once hid from due to fear as they sneaked for a swim in River Kubanni and Anguwan Ƙaya. As I walk around I pluck down memories of childhood from trees we once stripped off of their fruits and I see houses and faces that have weathered the weight of time.
But most importantly, whenever I say I’m from Tudun Wada – and I say it a lot, I say it with so much pride, encompassing the wholeness of it; of what it was, where it is now and where it’ll be. I am its people, its landmarks and its institutions. I am a walking encyclopedia of Tudun Wada, a reel of memories and a calendar of memorable dates and events. I am a visual album of its people, a hidden scroll of its past and a blueprint for its future.
I am Tudun Wada; the proud outcast son of Zaria, a son which traditional supremacists tag “baƙo” – a visitor, who has made his host and others proud. Taking on all the negative tags and ugly labels, I do not allow my past nor my origin define me. Like fine wine, I get better with time, constantly churning out prodigies that are putting not just Zaria, but Nigeria on the map.
I am Tudun Wada, the home of Muslim Refresher Course Program and its many offshoots – Muslim Special Training Program, ELSA and others. Refresher is the mother of all weekend lessons in Zaria and has successfully ran for 26 years and counting, producing professors, an appreciable number of PhDs and uncountable Msc and BSc holders in Zaria and beyond. Refresher is unarguably the pride of Tudun Wada, for it welcomes all students of knowledge from far and sundry has also been replicated in other areas of Zaria and beyond.
In my well-planned grid iron patterned streets, I contain historic and prestigious incubators of Islamic knowledge such as Higher Islam, Imamu, Nurut Tilawah, Darul Salafeeyah, the house of Sheikh Muazu, Dahleez, Markaz, Mu’assasah, many reputable Zaures and Islamiyyahs. In me are Niimah Jumuah Mosque, Eid Prayer Ground and many other prayer houses that people come to from far and wide.
I am the host community of many institutions; welcoming and making it a sanctuary for both staff and students of ABU Kongo, ABUTH Tudun Wada, FCE Zaria, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Queen FM among others. I contain the best secondary school in Zaria, Demonstration Secondary school, a melting point of great minds.
I am Tudun Wada, the proud father of illustrious scholars; from the learned Baba-Ahmed, whose teachings and progenies are a pride to Arewa and beyond; from establishing universities to conquering the media space and politics. I am the home of Abdurrahman Mora, who dedicated his life to the betterment of the community through knowledge, I housed Dr Abubakar Imam, a gifted storyteller, seasoned politician and a statesman Nigeria is still proud of, I am Adamu Dikko, Arewa’s first pharmacy technician. I birthed Namadi Sambo, a one-time Vice President of Nigeria and a one-time governor. I am Lawandi Tabaco, I am Maude and more. My story wouldn’t be complete without Hajiyar Makaranta, the female scholar who dedicated her life to teaching children.
I am Tudun Wada, who birthed Industrious sons and daughters; from Alhaji Banadeen, whose name is a household name in Zaria, to Alhaji Maje. I am the famous Shagalinku, who has a midas touch when it comes to commerce, to the large family of Baba Trader who are still standing tall to this day. I am Alhaji Haruna Ɗanja, whose mansion and mosque dots and adorn the Old Jos road. I am Hajiya Kaka, the story of my famous Masa has travelled far and wide. I am Ƴar Wali, the renown home of food for students and all. I am Alhaji Kilaco, whose sweetened yoghurt traveled far and wide.
I am Tudun wada, the home of tailors renowned for their expertise, interweaving the ancient skills of embroidery and design with modernity. I am the milkmaids of Bakin Kasuwa, traveling distant kilometers to satiate the thirst of hundreds everyday. I am the Igbo Spare Part sellers in Agoro. I am the home of insanely talented footballers and teams — I am Umaruru Zango and his brothers and the famous Hallirus. I am Salisu Yusuf D Black, I am Ibrahim Kwakwa. I am the past, present and future Nasara United — representing me both locally and internationally. I am a pool of energetic, ingenious youths such as Ibrahiym El-Caleel, Abdulhaleem Ringim, Ghazali Tanimu, Abubakar Sytees and more. I am a conglomeration of different tribes and cultures, living in harmony with all.
I am all I am today due to Allah’s blessings and the guidance and wisdom of our elders; Alhaji Ahmadu Ido, Alhaji Jibo, Alhaji Jafaru Mai Iyali, Baba Jafaru, Alhaji Shafi’i, the Musawas, Commissioner Jari and more, who pushed for education among their children and community. I owe my renaissance to Mal Aliyu Sabo and all the staff that dedicated their lives to educating the youth.
So, before you label and profile me, know that I am everything you could think of. I am all they say I am – and more. I am Tudun Wada and I am proud.
- Salim Yunusa,
Salim writes from Zaria and is the Founder of the PoeticWednesdays Literary Initiative.