The inaugural edition of Hadiza Aliya Schools Festival (HIASFEST) was undeniably a positive spectacle for the moment. This is because it came as an antidote to the almost creative dearth and death already inhabiting the minds of secondary school students in NigerState. It will be recalled that in the past that The “Annual Schools Carnival of Arts and Festival of Songs (ASCAFS) was the most significant event which brings students from the nooks and crannies of Niger State but it’s unfortunate demise due to issues beyond reportage broke the hype of creativity and competitiveness within the students of Secondary Schools in Niger State. Without mincing words, HIASFEST chiefly sponsored by Alhaji Bala Abdullahi Kwatu in honour of Late Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu came as consolation to this intellectual quagmire evident among the students.
The competition held from 13th to 15th of June 2019 was a three day event and each radiated in its most inclusive manner. The day one began with registration of schools and the opening ceremony. It was recorded that a total of seventeen schools participated in the inaugural event. They are:
Diamond Global Academy, Minna.
Father O’connel Science College, Minna.
Government Girls Secondary School (Old Airport), Minna.
Day Secondary School (Limawa), Minna.
Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu), Niger State.
Zarumai Model School, Minna.
Government Day Science College, Tunga, Minna.
Hill-Top Model School, Minna.
Army Fay Secondary School, Minna.
Army Day Secondary School, Bida, Niger State.
Himma International College, Minna.
Maryam Babangida Girls Science College, Minna.
Government Girls Secondary School, Kafin-koro, Niger State.
Capital School, Minna.
Nasfah Academy, Minna.
Bosso Secondary School, Minna.
Government Science and Technical College, Kuta, Niger State.
During the opening ceremony, Mallam B.M Dzukogi in his welcome address unravelled the event that triggered HIASFEST ascribing it to his Facebook post where he stated that instead of politicians designing colourful T-shirt, it could have been more beneficial if they print “Do Not Steal”, Do Not Take Hard Drugs”, “Road to our village is not tarred”, “Our Classrooms have no chairs”, Exam Malpractice is bad”, “Almajiri system is a nuisance” etc. Benevolently, the sponsor reached out to the Hilltop Creative Art Foundation and HIASFEST is the offshoot. While he appealed for more support to make the festival a national one, he also pleaded with individuals to support the Art centre so that a Writers’ Residency can build and publications of over thirty manuscripts of teen authors present at the Art Centre. In his closing, he appreciated everyone and wished the contestants a fruitful contest.
The Chairman of the event, Professor Mohammed Kuta Yahaya in his remark, mentioned the Hospitality of Hajiya Hadiza in whose honour is HIASFEST. He described her major attraction as friendliness. He concluded that “Whatever you do, you shall reap” adding that as Dzukogi is positively touching the life of other people’s children, God in his infinite mercy is touching his.
Similarly, the sponsor Alhaji Bala Abdullahi Kwatu in his speech posited that the Social Media today is full o f rubbish but one can always create some good from its heap of rubbish. He mentioned that the HIASFEST platform has come to say. Likewise, He will like to see how he can support the publications of those manuscripts, the creation of a website, the institution of a National Prize and partnership of the Art Centre with other International Foundations of like-pursuit.
Furthermore, He stated that:”A good child is known by the attitude to displays to his father’s friend”. He Quoted Napoleon Bonaparte who said “Give me a platform, I shall shine”. He revealed that twenty seventy (27) years ago, the family of Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu (Sardauna Minna) provided him a scholarship which covered his SSCE, B.sc and M.sc adding that it is one thing to be sponsored and another to be employed. The family gave him both. From an ordinary platform, he is now on a diamond platform. He also eulogized Hajiya Hadiza for being the brain behind his M.sc quoting her words thus:” Bala go and pursue your Masters, you must do it, put everything behind you and consider this first”.
He concluded that HIASFEST is an opportunity created for students to shine; it is strictly to create bread winning champions for the state, Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. He advised that while the students are creating a future, they should be original. He implored all the students to see themselves as winners, wishing them the best outing.
After his speech, a keynote address was delivered by the representatives of the Rector Federal Polytechnic Bida, Alhaji Idris Yabagi, The Heads of Department Languages in the institution. In discussing the Concept of Creative and National Development He commended the tireless of the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation towards giving the young people directive, confidence and a chance to showcase their talents.
He went further to explain the concept of creative as it relates to National Development quoting Robert Franken. “Creativity is the tendency to generate or reorganize ideas, alternatives or possibilities that may be useful in solving a problem. He added that creativity is not only about thinking but also about creating things of value in real life. This is in consonance with Sharp (2004) who asserted that the creative process includes imagination, originality, productivity, problem solving and the ability to produce an outcome of value. He posited that creative when properly utilized can bring about significant National developmental strides in Nigeria. He acknowledged the Hilltop Creative Foundation’s effort to the growth of Art in Nigeria and wished them the very best.
There were also goodwill messages from guest at the event. Mallam Muktar Aliyu in his goodwill message stated that any event that celebrates the human mind and intellect is very important. He mentioned that his mum placed a major premium on education; she championed knowledge, speaks multiple languages and was always improving her skills. In his view, he hoped that by putting events like HIASFEST, individuals will be inspired to follow this path adding that if we desire a better society in the future, education must be promoted; creativity and ingenuity must be honoured. He concluded that we all must live to this historical standard and he prayed that our school will someday be well funded. He encouraged all to seek knowledge wherever knowledge can be found.
The representative of the Emir of Minna also gave his good will message eulogizing Hajiya Hadiza. He quoted the late emir Ahmadu Bahago who said “If you have done well and you are not rewarded, it only means you have not done well enough”. He prayed for the repose of her soul and wished all well.
Hajiya Fatima Madugu the former Commissioner of Education and a colleague of Hajiya Hadiza while in Primary School also gave her goodwill message. Finally Awwalu Sakiwa, The Director of the Art Centre said the vote of thanks.
At the close of the event, various contests were held in Contemporary Song, Painting, On-the-spot Poetry and Short Story writing. A total of eleven (11) Schools participated for Contemporary Song category, nine (9) participated for Painting, fifteen (15) for Short Story Writing and thirteen (13) for Poetry Writing.
On the second day, the Quiz and Spokenword category was held at Niger State Book Development Agency. Fifteen schools with two students each participated for the quiz category meanwhile thirteen (13) schools participated for the Spokenword category.
The third day which was the closing ceremony, early in the day Cultural dance and Craft was held. Fourteen (14) schools participated in Cultural dance meanwhile Four (4) schools participated in the Craft category. There was also a display of sky photography by Architect Nathan Galadima outside the venue of the event. Likewise a girl from Everygreen International Academy as performed a Spokenword.
The closing ceremony began by 2:00pm. Guest at the event include Prof. Muhammad Bashar (Shettiman Minna), Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu (Sardaunan Minna), Hajiya Asabe Aliyu, Engineer Yahaya. D. Daudu, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, Members of Association of Nigerian Author, Trustees of The Blue Revolution (TBR) and other well wishers.
In the opening remark, Mallam Dzukogi emphasized the need for mentoring explaining that the Art Centre’s goal is to help young people become professionals. He asserted that the event is a continuation of the literary heritage connected to Nigeria mentioning Mamman Vatsa and Abubakar Gimba. He added the essence of the event is to help the child grown through helping the child to attain excellence and creativity in the Art.
He posited that it is not official engagement that grows the society rather it is the sense of volunteerism by its citizenry adding that if the society is growing, it is because some people have voluntarily choose to stand for good, if not the society will remain backward. His speech and that of others were full of emotions.
The Chairman of the Occasion Prof. Bashar Nuhu celebrated Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, appreciating his humanitarianism. He considers him as his mentor. He also paid tribute to the exceptional attributes of Hajiya Hadiza.
After his speech, there was a Song, Spokenword and Cultural Dance performances. Painter’s Parade and Craft Display followed.
Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu the husband of the deceased who was been celebrated in his speech expressed his gladness about the excitement it has created among the students. He tied his life success to his grandmother, Hajiya Asabe his first wife and Hajiya Hadiza. He affirmed that “Hadiza in 1981 said she will not work, she wants to a housewife one hundred percent and look after her children one hundred percent” and of course he had to respect her choice but he does not mean young women should not work. He added that all good societies are made up good families and she produced an exceptional family. His speech was with many emotions.
After his speech, the results for different categories were announced. They are listed below:
Third position- Himma International College, Minna.
Second position- Zarumai Model School, Minna.
First position- Government Day Science College, Tunga, Minna.
No 2- Craft
Third position- Sheriff Aliyu of Government Army Day Secondary School, Minna.
Second position- Ikechukwu Livinus of Federal Science and Technical College, Kuta.
First position- Ruth Abu of Maryam Babangida Girls Science College, Minna.
No 3-Cultural Dance
Third position- Government Girls Secondary School, Kafin Koro.
Second position- Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu) Niger State.
First position- Zarumai Model School, Minna
No 4- Painting
Third position- Keturah Gana of Federal Science and Technical College, Kuta
Second position- Godfery Mathias of Army Day Secondary School, Minna
First position- Shalom Elkana of Himma International College, Minna
Third position- Government Girls Secondary School (Old airport), Minna
Second position- Doreen Samuel of Hilltop Model School, Minna
First position- Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu)
No 6-Contemporary Song
Third position- Bosso Secondary School, Minna.
Second position- Hilltop Model School, Minna
First position- Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu)
No 7- Short Story Writing
Third position-Aisha Alajiki of Bosso Secondary School, Minna
Second position- Aisha Ibrahim of Zarumai Model School, Minna.
First position- Jemima Gana of Himma International College, Minna.
No 8-Poetry Writing
Third position- Zafira Ahmed of Diamond Global Academy, Minna.
Second position- Mercy Oguche of Government Girls Secondary School (Old Airport) Minna.
First position- Salamatu Abdullahi of Himma International College, Minna.
Most Valuable Contestant (Girls)
Jemima Gana of Himma International School
Overall Third Best -Army Day Secondary School, Minna (98 point)
Overall Second Best-Government Girls Secondary School (Old Airport), Minna (103 point)
Overall First Position- (Himma International College, Minna(108 point)
Scholarship- Khaddija Saed Jagaba won herself a tuition fee scholarship of one hundred thousand naira (N100, 000).
There was no winner for the Most Valuable Contestant “Boys” as the medal table was totally dominated by girls. Likewise no one applied for the scholarship for the engineering category. The vote of thanks was said by Mallam Isyaku Bala, a trustee of the Foundation.
In conclusion, one can deduce that it was a worthwhile event, the euphoria will continue to trigger creativity and competitiveness once more among Secondary School students in Niger State and perhaps Nigeria since it is expected that will become a National event. The winners celebrated and the other contestants will prepare well next time. HIASFEST has come to stay and it can only become bigger and better.