Hadiza Aliyu Gabon, 32, was born in Libreville, Gabon; she obtained a diploma in French from Ecol de Francaise Gabonese in Gabon. She tells ALIYU ASKIRA in this interview that she came to Kaduna in 2006 to further her education, but developed an interest in acting.
According to her, she then approached Kannywood king Ali Nuhu to assist her to join the industry in order to raise money to set up a non-governmental organisation (NGO). This, she said, was to enable her to help the less privileged considering the fact that she came from a humble background.
Hadiza Gabon also spoke on other issues including using film to unite African countries, marriage, challenges as a single lady and many more.
When you came to Nigeria in 2007 after completing your diploma programme in Gabon, you couldn’t English or Hausa. How were you relating with Nigerians?
First, when I came to stay with my sister in Kaduna, I already had a diploma in French. I did not come here to waste my precious life, and as such, I contemplated continuing with my studies up to degree level, but I discovered that only few institutions here offer French courses. I have this desire to set up an NGO and help the less privileged especially Gabonese nationals that are staying in Nigeria that are poor. Basically, I want to be a diplomat and an ambassador of my country, but I had financial limitations; therefore, I decided to join Kannywood to raise money and establish myself as a business woman, get married and settle down permanently in Nigeria.
You now speak both Hausa and English fluently, how did that happen? Did you engage people to teach you the languages?
Well, honestly, I did not have it easy, but because I also wanted to act in Kannywood and I must speak Hausa fluently because there are some words or terminologies in film script or interpretation that one can find it difficult to adopt if your Hausa is not good, I went to Kano and stayed briefly with H.R.B., the popular Kano-based film producing company, to learn Hausa and also to appear in films from time to time. However, I did not make any impact and so I left, and later Ali Nuhu assisted me and linked me with Yakubu Lere, the chief executive officer of Lerawa Films. In 2010, he featured me in his famous and popular film, Wasila. Before then, in 2008, Ishaq Sidi Ishaq gave me a role in a film called Artabu where I featured alongside popular actors and actresses, but I faced a lot of challenges even as I did my best not to be intimidated.
Today, you are the face of MTN, you are also doing commercials for other companies, and you are equally one of the sought-after actresses in Kannywood. You are also very beautiful; did you ever zip down in order to be successful?
Well, today I can mention four to five films that made me not only a household name, but that has also fetched me a fortune. The one is Babban Zaure; that film as far as I am concerned is still my best. Some people were not happy when I was given a lead role in that film. Then there were Basaja, Gwaska, Yar Maye and Mijin Biza. These films were so successful in the market that they also gave me the financial resources to also invest in other films.
I am very proud of my roles in Yar Maye and Basaja where I was given the task of arresting an international fraudster; a role played by Adamu A. Zango. The film took us to Niger Republic and Ghana and other countries. As we speak, by the grace of God, I have performed lesser Hajj (Ummrah) several times. I have also performed Hajj. I now have where I can call my own, I mean my own house. I have good cars to ride; I have a very big boutique on Waff Road, Kaduna. My prayer now is to get married and settle down and have children because as a 32-year- old woman, I am not growing younger.
Do you have enemies in Kannywood? I asked this question because recently, you had serious problems with Nafisa Abdullahi and it took officers of MOPPAN Kano state chapter to settle the two of you.
Yes, we had a misunderstanding with my sister, Nafisa Abdullahi, but we have settled our differences and we are now best of friends. As for enemies, Hadiza Aliyu Gabon is like holy water, I don’t have enemies. In fact, as a Muslim, I am not supposed to have enemies and that is why I don’t get into any relationship in Kannywood. Although you will hear stories, I have the desire to continue producing films even after I settle down as a married woman. Already, I have businesses here and there, but most importantly, I want to thank Nigerians for accepting me to be one of them and today, some of them love my films more than even those of the actresses that are from Nigeria.
I also mind my business in order not to embarrass my country; this is because I am supposed to be an ambassador to my country in Nigeria. Kannywood today is a very big industry that everybody can come and make his own impact. On the issue of sexual harassment, no lady can be sexually harassed if she is not interested in first place. We are in a civilised society; nobody will harass you if you don’t give the signs that you are ready to play ball.
Who do you admire most in Kannywood?
If you are talking of those I admire their acting skills, honestly, they are many. Initially, I prefer to always mention Aminu Sherrif Momoh, but over time, I discovered that we have a lot of other talented actors and actresses in Kannywood. Let me mention some and those that I will not be able to mention here should know that I also like their acting skills. Those whose skills I admire most are: Aminu Sherrif Momoh, Ali Nuhu, Adam A. Zango, Sadiq Ahmad, Nuhu Abdullahi, Sadiq Sani Sadiq, Ibrahim Mai Shunku.
On the side of the actresses, I admire Hadiza Aliyu Gabon, that is my humble self; Rahama Hassan who is now married; Mansura Isah who is also married; Halima Atete; Nafisa Abdullahi; Fati Washa; Jamila Nagudu; Hafsat Idris and many others that time will not permit me to mention here