Hajiya Kaltume Sule was born in Sokoto, and has lived many decades in Enugu, where she has had many beautiful experiences.
The lady is fluent in Igbo, but she says she is not when asked about the extent she has mastered the language. She can cook many Igbo meals, and knows a lot about Igbo Culture, and she has lived in the South East since the 50s. Except you are told you may not realise that she has Hausa roots. Then when she speaks the languge, it is really a flawless, very impressive performance. Her original Hausa accent blends with Igbo in an unforgettable way. If Nigeria were to collapse as many are fond of proposing, then where would Hajiya Kaltume Haruna Sule and many others go to? Where should they go? I was in Enugu on the trail of another story when I came across Hajiya Kaltume, first wife of Sarkin Hausawa, Enugu. She hails from Sokoto state, had part of her upbringing in Ghana, and marriage to Sarkin Hausawa brought her to Enugu in 1952. She says “I am also from Ghana. My mother and father are in Ghana.They migrated from Sokoto to Ghana many years ago.”
Next she speaks on her movement to Enugu “I came to Enugu in 1952. My husband married me and took me to Ngwo, where I had two children. Later, he took me to my parents in Ghana for a visit. After a while we returned to Enugu.”
Her life was one filled with travelling and exciting adventures in many parts of the south. She speaks of a time when her father- in- law took her to Sapele, in present day Delta state. This occurred in 1955, and she resided there till the year 1961, when a return to Enugu was made.
According to her “We stayed there and had six children, before we returned to Enugu. “Turbulence in the South East in the mid 60s made the family to pack and leave for the north. Her words ‘Then we packed to the north. We didn’t go to Kano, but stayed in Kaduna. After the war, our father died in Kaduna. Then when everything finished, we came back to Enugu.”
Not many people would return to the East after the war, she agrees, and proceeds to explain why they all resolved to return to Enugu when hostilities ceased. Her words “Our father built thirteen houses here in Enugu. On Tailor street where we are now, we have eight houses. On the neighbouring street we have two. It’s because we have property here that we came back. We don’t have anything in the north. When we came back we settled into the cow trade, that is, bringing cows from the north to sell here in Enugu.” Hajiya Kaltume speaks of a warm relationship existing between the inhabitants of Ngwo, where late C.C Onoh hails from, and the Hausa community. According to her “The people of Ngwo gave our father land to build all these houses .The father of C.C Onoh was very kind to us,and he played a big role in helping us to get the land. There is a special connection between we Hausas and the people of Ngwo.” She adds that her husband was born at Ngwo. “We have no other place than Enugu.I am a woman from Enugu state.They always give me work and whatever I ask for.” But she says that today society has changed in remarkable ways. According to her, “Before Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba were equals. We used to live peacefully and the Igbos liked us, and we liked them. We are one, but the troubles of the present time upset us a lot.” But no matter what happens in the country, she insists she has nowhere to run to, saying she will remain in Enugu.
Her words “I love southern Nigeria. They love everybody. Now nothing can make us leave Enugu,except death. Now, I have a wound. The people of Ngwo came to me to greet me. They have just left, and they brought some gifts for me.” So, where do the proponents of a breakup of the federation locate Hajiya Kaltume who is fully comfortable with her position in the South East. One whose family has more properties in the East, than in the north, one whose horizons and accents are more Eastern than Northern?