I am North
I run from the far Sahara
through the Sahelian Kano
to the fertile lands of Benue

I am North
A spring of wisdom
I fed the brave Sardauna
And the eloquent Tafawa

I am North
A home to the Hausas
The Fulanis and Kanuris
Beroms, Tivs and Idomas

I am North
A generous mother
For I betrothed The Niger
To a beautiful bride – The Benue

Painting by Toby Emmanuel

In me are a people
From diverse places
Adamawa speaks beauty
In Kaduna, it rains intellect

Sokoto narrates legends
Of Shehu Usmanu Danfodiyo
And his conquest of Argungu
down to the villages of Ilorin

In me were blacksmiths
From the ancient town of Bidda
Tell me about the town of Hadejia
And fishes in its mysterious River

Plateau harbours minerals
And abundance dwell in Kano
Maiduguri was a home for all
In the days of Ajami scripting

My youths are not Islamists
I am the groudnut pyramids
I am Yakubu Gowon and Abacha
I am Mamman Shuwa and Murtala

When the sun rises
My markets get saturated
With hardworking merchants
And traders from beyond me

I am North
The stout Maina
The arid land of Gashua
I am vast farming and Pottery

I am North
a cave that echoes
All sounds of Dan Kwairo
I am the strings of Dan Maraya

I am North
Arewan Sarki Dikko
I am Mamman Durugu
I am architectural prowess

I am North
I am the wealthy Dangote
I am Okene and Ajaokuta
I am Damaturu, Jos and Lafia

There’s more to me
than the stories you hear
I had noble Queens and Kings
Towns within me, far and near

I am North
Of various faiths
Muslims and Christians
Of churches and mosques

Do not try to slander me
False tales don’t define me
My offsprings are not terrorists
For I am North, I am hospitality

In me are age-long festivals
And some colourful durbars
My Yankari is a sight to behold
Come! Do not wait till you are told

Mambilla touches the skies
“Awara” is sweeter when fried
I heard Gurara has tasty waters
In me are brothers without borders

Bauchi devours Maasa
Fura is an anthem in Gombe
There are morsels of Tuwo in Daura
Hadejia is well known for Miyan Kuka

All hail Mamman Shata
who rose from ancient Funtua
Our Queen Amina was a heroine
She fought wars for old Zazzau

I am North,
I am Bayajidda,
I am Atta and Bayero
I am Ladi Kwali and Sawaba

I am North
The seat of The Caliphate
The Birnin Kudu paintings
I am culture and heritage

I am North,
I am milk and meat
I am cows and camels
I am grains and bounty harvests

I am North
An abode of the Gwaris
The Jukuns and the Zurus
The Ebiras and the Igalas

These rains will go
This blood will wash away
These cries will fade slowly
For I am North, Arewan Ali Makaho

I am North,
A place of love
For myriad centuries
Where peace had found shelter

They call me North
My children call me Arewa
But then, to me, I am a home
For men, women, young and old.

©Shehu Mubarak Sulaiman |2019| Published in Nigeria Daily Trust Newspapers

The views of the author are a mere expression of the North – northern Nigeria as a geographic entity, not as a political unit, nor does the writer aim at being politically correct.

Photo credit: The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II

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