…runs shift with husband
…begs govt for support to own a tricycle
…I’m 100% behind her-husband
…female driving school coming —TOKAN Chair

By Bashir Bello, Kano

THIS woman is a history-maker already and has broken tradition and culture of the Hausa tribe. As a tradition, a typical Hausa man prefers his wife to be a fulltime housewife, who is kept in the background and saved from close contact with strangers.

But in Amina Ibrahim’s case it is different. She is an outgoing breadwinner and does so with a sense of pride, contentment and excitement as she ferries passengers around Kano metropolis just as a man would do and renders the service politely, respectfully and with some level of feminine gentility that men brush aside.

Amina, 40, and mother of six, rides the ubiquitous tricycle in a bid to help her husband raise enough money to keep their family and send the children to school. She is also reputed to be Kano’s first known commercial tricyclist in recent history and does it without any sense of fear or ill-feeling. Apart from the joy and excitement she derives in the process of carrying people from one point to the other on a daily basis, the business is strictly for survival and she has no regret doing the job that is mostly undertaken by men.

As she moves her machine with gait and dexterity, she becomes a show-maker, a cynosure of some sort and a centre of attraction on the way as people talk about her in hush tones. Others  clap and applaud her for taking up the gauntlet in a profession that has been dominated by men for ages. She is even about to change that history as more women are planning to emulate and join her in the trade.

Amina told Arewa Voice that she does not care about what others would say about her as she believes no job is specifically meant for the male or the female. She said: “My name is Amina Ibrahim, 40 years old. I’m from Unguwar Deniji, Kano Municipal in Kano. I’m married with six children. I picked up the job of commercial tricycle operator just to support my husband in the home front. I feel there is no point sitting down at home and doing nothing. That is why I decided to undertake the trade and to give a helping hand to my husband, who is also into the same business with me.

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“After the day’s job, my husband retires home to rest while I take over from there all in a bid to assist in raising enough money to keep our family. I started the job about a year ago. But long before now I had developed interest in the job right in the days of the Governor Shekarau’s administration when he shared tricycles to indigenes. No job is specifically meant for a particular gender. But my passengers are all female and school children.

“I feel happy when I am working on the streets. People are usually surprised seeing me riding the tricycle. When I get to the traffic light, people even give me money while some praise me by saying ‘woman like man’. The tricycle is not ours. It is on hire purchase. It requires that we work hard to meet the terms of the hire purchase and also make some returns. We run shift at times. That means if my husband goes to work in the morning, I take over from him in the evening when he retires home to rest.

“In the past I engaged in petty trades such as satchet water, ingredients, food stuff, but the cost of living has soared and we need additional income to keep the family going and pay children’s school fees with ease. Only two of them have completed secondary school, while three are still in secondary school. The smallest girl who is eight years old, is in primary school. I am currently training my girl who has finished secondary school on how to ride the commercial tricycle and we know she will succeed. The proceeds we get from the business on daily basis vary. At times, I meet passengers who pay higher as compensation due to what they perceive as good conduct or good driving while some pray for me, etc.

“When I first started to ferry passengers, people used to mock me by saying all sorts of nasty things against me but today I am happy that a lot of those people want to join me in operating commercial tricycling. I am attracting attention of a lot of women.

I’m 100 per cent behind her — husband     

The female tricyclist’s husband, Mohammed Saidu, said he supported her picking up a job in the business of commercial tricycling to help the female folks.  He said: “I am 100 per cent behind her picking up a job in commercial tricycling business. She started the business with my full consent for us to assist one another. I am also a tricyclist. I’m among those drivers who benefitted from the tricycle empowerment programme by Senator Ibrahim Shekarau. It is one tricycle that we share and it is gradually getting old and giving her tough times while plying on the road.”

Plans in top gear to establish a female driving school – TOKAN Chair

Chairman, Kano State Tricycle Operators Association, TOKAN, Sani Saidu Dankoli, said already plans were in top gear to establish a female driving school where more women will be trained to go into the business,  adding: “a company, Bajaj, has shown interest in supporting her towards establishing a driving school where she can teach other women to operate tricycles in the state.”

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