Girl-child education has improved in the north – Christy Yakubu



Christy Sani Yakubu, is the Accountant, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS). She is a Kaduna state indigene of the Kataf tribe, from Zango Kataf local government area of kaduna state. The mother of two is the sixth born in a family of 12 children and three step mothers.
In this chat with ENE OSANG, she stressed the need for girl-child education, saying this would enable women cater for their family with or without their husbands

Who is Christy Yakubu?
Christy Yakubu is an accountant with the National Centre for Women Societies (NCWS). I am of the Kataf tribe in Zango Kataf local government area of Kaduna state. I came from a family of 12 children because my dad married three wives and my mum is the forth wife but apparently I am left with just my mother because I lost my father and my step mums.
My mum is the person who catered for  all of us 12 children we were eight females and 5 males but unfortunately we lost two males last year so we are now 10 in number

How was it like growing up in a polygamous family?
Though from a polygamous home, we are a very happy family and we associate as if we are from one mother because if you say you want to fight the father is not there mother is not there so who are you fighting for.
We are all married and so we needed peace to be able to share our problems like when your husband tells you something and you need to sought mothers advice, it is only one mum left so we are all happy because atleast we have a mum to talk to.

When did you lost your father and how did you cope growing up without him?
I lost my father since 19 years now, and growing up without a father is not something to talk about because whenever I think about it I feel bad. I feel bad in the sense that he loved education so much and he wanted all his children to go to school, but I lost my dad when I was in my first year in the polytechnic at Zaria studying accounting. When he died I wasn’t too exposed because I was a ‘daddy’s girl’ and when I lost him I was almost going backward but with encouragement from friends I picked up because at least I have a mother, some don’t have any parent again and they are succeeding so I believed I can still move ahead though not easy because our mother was not so educated yet had to cater for 12 children. I am lucky to be the sixth child and my elder ones had something doing so they suPportive, including the little property my dad left behind which they collected rent to pay my fees even though house rent in Kaduna those days was very cheap it helped and I thank God for where I am today.

You studied accounting, was that your childhood dream?
Yes being an accountant has always been my childhood dream because I remember always telling my dad that when I grow up I would be an accountant and buy him a house and many other things, and I was focused on becoming an accountant and that is what I am today.
I studied accounting in the polytechnic in Zaria, Kaduna state, did my B.SC in same accounting at the University of Abuja and presently, I am doing my Masters in Accounting as well in University of Abuja, all to the fulfilment of my dream because that is all I have always wanted to become

How did you succeed educationally, considering that you are from the north where girl child education was not encouraged then?
Girl child education in the north then was backward but I came from the Christian home where the girl is also allowed to go to school unlike the Muslims of those days who don’t allow their girl children go to school.
Though, now they encourage girl child education because even if your husband won’t allow you work, the fact that you have your education you will be able to help your children if something happens tomorrow and your husband is not there to help.
There are offices you go to today where the husbands would die and they would ask the wife if she has any qualification so she can replace her husband and the woman won’t have but if you have, in such situation you present it and continue from where your husband stopped to help your children. It is sad that a lot of women will lost their husband and they are not educated, they begin to suffer and make the children victims of suffering because nobody can cater for your needs when your husband is not there, today in the north parents are wiser and both Christian and Muslim families wants their child to be educated because gone are the days when the women only stay behind and watch, it is women that make the names now.
If you want to address the First Lady today you won’t call her fathers name but her name so women have gone far and that is why we want our own office, even the Nigeria’s First Lady wants her own office though not allowed by the Senate yet but we pray they allow that to happen.

Do you face any challenges working as  the NCWS accountant?
When it comes to my job, I am a very hard working person and I don’t compare my job with my home because they are two different things entirely. I have been working with the women council since 1999 that is (14) years now so I have worked with different presidents of the council with lots of experience from here. I got married from the council, had my children in the council and I am still in the council.
Ii started working here from when the Minister of women affairs Hajiya Zainab Maina was president of the council infact she employed me here, I have worked with Dr. Kekebu Nwokeafor who is now an ambassador to Polland, Hajiya Ramatu Bala Usman mni who is now the liaison officer to Nassarawa liaison officer and the forth person is the current president in person of Chief Mrs. Nkechi Nba and they all have been really good people to work with, they are like mothers and I feel happy working with women because they all treat me like their daughter unlike how people complain about working with women.
When you work with women you don’t have issues when you respect them and show them they are your boss and when you don’t show logger heads with them you will enjoy working with them.
All my bosses have been helping me when it comes to my marital home, they always tell me to finish my work on time and go back home to my family, if I come to the office looking worried they ask me and they advise me and this has really been helpful so that is why I don’t compare my house and my marital home because they are two different things.
Any woman that wants to succeed must make sure that whatever happens, she should try and keep your family separate from your work, but when you take your house problems to the office and office problems to the house you are really going to break down and this is the secret to my succes, including my husbands support.

How does your husband support you?
My husband supports me a lot because he knows that anything about my career I don’t joke with it so he encourages me in whatever I am doing so that I will be successful.  Without a husband’s support I don’t think a married career woman will go a long way because you will break down in frustration in one way or the other. Also because of my husband’s support, my children are also supportive for example whenever I have programmes I list them down, write and place them on the notice board in the house and my little baby will come and remind me ‘mummy next week you have this’ and this is part of support, and so my family is always aware of what I have, what I am going to do always so I don’t take them unawares except for an impromptu occasion which I make them understand and they all support me.
Working with the council has taught me a lot in life and am so proud here because I am the second oldest person in the council apart from the head of admin who is Mrs. Lohol whom I met when she was six years old in the council already so, she is 20 years old in the council now, while I am 14 years old here.

Do you have any regrets in life?
The only regret I have in life is for my dad to have died before I became who I always told him I wanted to be so my dreams are not complete without him seeing that I became the accountant I have always told him I wanted to become, and that he also did not see my first salary as I promised him. It is now my mum who wasn’t my friend initially that is enjoying that now because she has to be my friend since my dad was late already.

How do you manage work and home front successfully?
I achieve that by God’s grace and diligence. When I wake up in the morning, I do all my house chores before coming to the office and as am leaving the house, I leave everything concerning my house and when I come to the office, I finish up whatever I have to do and go back home so I don’t need to pick any work from office to the house where I have my children to care for, so don’t do such because office is office, home is home.

As an old staff of the council, are you aspiring to be the next president?
No. Being the President is a tough sit and I don’t envy the President when they occupy the sit because working with women is not easy.

Don’t you think you are contradicting what you said earlier that you like working with women?
Working under a female boss for me is fun but getting to work with other women like in the council where we have different calibre’s of women is not. Working with the rural or community women  is not funny and I see what they go through everyday.
In the council the Presidents are on the tough sit because we have a lot of more educated women, more of less educated women and yet more of women who don’t know anything so, combining these three categories and keep them together is not easy.
When one group is saying yes another group will be saying I don’t think so, while another group will be saying no, so you get stressed up with managing the women. No NCWS President has not  had tough time on the sit.

Where do you see yourself in the future if not on the NCWS accountant sit?
I just pray that after here I should go back to my house, establish a small business so I can take good care of my family. I don’t pray to go to government job, rather to open an NGO to help the less privileged.

How would you assess women’s progress since the past 100 years?
Whether we like it or not we have been making progress though a lot of women don’t feel so but a lot has changed. In the north where I come from, women were not allowed to come out let alone go to school but today we mingle, we contest and when it comes to politics we are out to contest, there are female Ministers, Directors jut like the men though we can say we have not reached where we should be because we only have about 32.5% of the affirmative action and now that some Ministers were dropped we have dropped to 15% so we have not gotten to where we want but we are progressing.

What would you say you have achieved in life?
I have achieved a lot in life and for me giving birth to me is an achievement, I am educated, I am married, I socialise with people of any pedigree, I also see my work at the NCWS as a great achievement because I have learnt  a lot. The greatest of all my achievements is that I am now a mother with two kids my first is going on nine while my second child six, I have achieved a lot and I am so proud.

What is your advise for women?
I would advise women to follow things calmly, respect themselves in the sense that they should not go to the extreme like using their body to get something. If you are well learned you will know  how and the manner to get your need.
Secondly, we should try to be our sisters keeper because it is women that destroy, a lot of women are pulled down by women. We talk about the pull her down syndrome.
It is not only in Nigeria that women pull their fellow women because when I went to the UK for a conference I heard women talking about it so it is a global problem and we need to figure out how to help ourselves and we should stop pulling our fellow women but support whoever is leading because if we can’t support ourselves is it the men that we expect support from?

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