Today, I wanted to share with you a story about a family in northern Nigeria. I do not know them by any means. I heard it from a very heartwarming conversation between two friends and I thought I would share with you. I hope you enjoy it!
I shall always remember my old friend, Tanko. Tanko’s father, Alhaji Ibrahim Nuhu was the District Head of Yandaka District, near Katsina. Tanko was the eldest of three sons and he and his brothers all worked on the Alhaji’s farm.
The Alhaji had about six hectares of manure farmland near the village. On this farm he grew groundnuts, cowpeas, cassava and early millet. In addition, he had a bush farm of about five hectares, about three kilometers from the village. On this farm, he grew late millet, more groundnuts, cowpeas and guinea corn. Every year, the Alhaji paid some Cattle Fulani to bring their cattle to the bush farm to manure it. Tanko worked hard on his father’s farm and when he was about twenty four years old his parents helped him to marry. His new wife came and joined him on his father’s compound and Tanko continued to work hard. He helped to cultivate his father’s land. He was very good with the ox plough. During the dry season, he worked as a labourer and also began to sell groundnuts. So when his first child was born his parents did not have to pay all the Naming Ceremony expenses: he paid for some of these himself.
Tanko also found that he could make more money by selling boiled cassava in the nearby market. After a time, he and his family moved to another house in the village. His father lent him some money to help. Tanko’s wife began to trade from the new house, selling roasted groundnuts, groundnut oil, different kinds of cake and tuwo. Tanko too became a well-known trader in grains, groundnuts and cowpeas. He usually bought these at harvest time and stored them for some months before selling.
On the death of the Alhaji, about three years ago, Tanko and his brothers each inherited some of the Alhaji’s land. But by then Tanko was rich enough to buy another farm of his own.
Last year, I went to visit Tanko in his village.
“Tell me, what are the reasons why you are so successful?” I asked
All things are possible by the will of Allah,” he replied. “But a good father, hard work and a good wife also help!”