Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Why I Have Just One Wife'' --- Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu Tells His Love Story And Talks Private Life

•The Aliyu family

It is not always easy for people, especially those at   the helm of affairs like president, governors, senators, ministers, commissioners and many others to discuss their private lives particularly their families…..Governor Mu’azu  Babangida Aliyu of Niger State and Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum is an exception.

In an interview with Vanguard, to commemorate his 59th birthday, the governor, who calls himself the Chief Servant of the people, says he is a “very very romantic man”.

Answering  a question on when he got married, and how he has been coping as governor, an activist, Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, ,a husband and a father, Aliyu said he got married at the age of 23 barely four months after his National Youth Service in Lagos while his wife was 19...

“Luckily for me, I married a woman I love and a woman I pursued for more than four years. It was like a prophecy that i was going to marry her. I made the prophecy myself. I actually went to a girl friend’s house and I saw the picture of my wife and I looked at it and I said to the senior sister to my girlfriend in form of prophecy that ‘this  is my wife’ and I asked, ‘who is she.?’

“They tried to describe her and I never knew I was going to meet her. Honestly, with her photograph I saw, I just fell in love with her. When I eventually met her, she was more beautiful than what I saw in the picture,” the governor stated.

“Most people would want to know the rest of the story. I want to confess to you that I am a very very  romantic man and, because I am a little straight forward again, polygamy was not and still not attractive to me and that is why probably I have only one wife.”

Aliyu has been a very busy man right from school. He was a class monitor in primary school, a prefect in secondary school, a unionist, an activist and Chairman/Secretary to about 10 clubs in school before he joined the civil service and rose to the post of permanent secretary in many ministries at the federal level and now governor for almost eight years, and also Chairman, Northern Governors Forum for over seven years. These are responsibilities he sees as a routine and has successfully combined with his family affairs.

“I make sure I have time and discuss with my wife and children. We are always together. Whenever I travel, I buy books for my children and I usually commit them to reading them by placing prices and other gifts for whoever finishes reading the books first. This is just to make them vast in reading and to make sure they read the books. So, we relate very well and discuss a lot. As you see me outside, so you see me at home and, in terms of romance, I am very sure my wife is very happy with me. I am very sure of that one,” Aliyu declared.

He said being the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum is an added responsibility which has not hindered his affairs at home.

The governor described the group as an association where governors collectively discuss the problems of their states and proffer solutions.

He said the job is made easier by the secretaries to the state governments who meet ahead and discussing vital issues leaving them as governors to only ratify at their meetings.

“There are some of us with abundant energy and, most of the time, I do not expend too much energy at home but on responsibilities bestowed on me. If I have four wives, by the time I jump from one room to another, I would have exhausted my energy but thank God I have only one wife and I have abundant energy for other jobs!”

Some of our leaders are born with golden spoons in their mouths while many passed through thick and thin to their success stories today. Aliyu went down memory lane saying as a child, he had no permanent room in his father’s house because the family house was more or less designated for visitors who were accommodated even without any notice.

“I grew up in a house where any stranger that came from any part of the world would be directed to our compound. So, I grew up without a room to myself that I could call my own because a guest would come whom nobody knew his background and we would be told to leave the room for him and would remain there until he decided to leave. I grew up with that life style and that is why indigene or non-indigene is not in my dictionary because everyone to me is a Nigerian and should be treated as such. The only time my administration can show discrimination against anyone is when residents in the state exhibit criminal tendencies,” the governor said. He said Nigerians no matter which state they come from should be accorded any status in which ever state they find themselves.

“The Constitution of Nigeria defines who is a Nigerian. My belief is that if you pay tax here in Niger, you are therefore part and parcel of the state. If you make anybody think he is different then, one will be behaving differently because ‘you have told me that I don’t belong here and if I make my money, I will therefore take it to where I belong’. That attitude will not encourage perceived strangers to contribute to the development of this state which I stand against as governor.”

He said during the civil war, all the properties of the Igbo that were given to his parents and some others in Minna remained intact and given back to their owners when they came back including what accrued from rentals on the properties.

“If today you find any person in this part of the world discriminating against other people, it is as a result of ignorance because at one time or the other, we were also strangers in the state because it is only a matter of how long one has stayed here.”


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