Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the Tafidan Adamawa, is an 85-year-old popular politician, technocrat and successful businessman. He is a man that has excelled in many spheres of life. In this interview, Dr Maryam Tukur Shagaya, the daughter and 18th child of the former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, spoke on the exciting times she had with her dad as a child and how his work ethic is something she also shares.
As a child, how would you describe your father?
Maryam Tukur Shagaya: Being one of the youngest of the 19 children, I came into my dad’s life at a time his political career had taken off and he was very busy. However, he made time for his family. He would be at the end of the phone line every evening to chat with us and ask if we had eaten.
While growing up, you must have done a lot of things together, what do you miss doing with him as a child?
My father used to organise a contest amongst some of my siblings to measure who had the biggest stomach. It was always an enjoyable time.
Which aspect of his personality do you think you have inherited?
His work ethic. My dad has good work ethic. He believes in making great efforts to achieve his goal. As a doctor, this is something I share with him.
Are you under any pressure to always live up to the name, Bamanga Tukur?
Well, I have some big shoes to fill, but he has prepared us well to handle whatever comes our way.
Has being a Tukur opened or closed doors for you?
My father has built a good reputation, so I will say most times it is a blessing being a Tukur.
Describe your dad in three words.
Hardworking, ambitious and kind.
How would you describe your dad’s relationship with his children?
He is nurturing and kind towards his children, especially as he is getting older.
If he wasn’t a politician, what other career do you think he would have excelled in?
He would have been an excellent farmer; he loves nature.
While growing up, children tend to be mischievous and need to be constantly cautioned; what phrase did your dad use to caution you or your siblings? Can you relate one of such experiences?
In our family, my dad does the least scolding, but if we misbehaved he would normally say a phrase in Fulfulde, “A tsaran te ma,’’ meaning, “You will shit your pants.’’ One of those times was when I was meant to be in bed and he caught me watching a late night movie.
What actions or punishment from your dad did you dread as a child?
I can’t recall ever being punished by him.
How does he relax?
He loves the outdoors and animals, so he will normally stroll around his garden or swim.
What’s his fashion style?
His style is more of a ‘traditional gentleman.’
What is his favourite sport?
He loves swimming
What is his favourite food?
Tuwo with miyan kuka (pokko in fulfulde)
What’s his favourite book and television programme?
He enjoys watching the news and nature shows. He also enjoys reading newspapers and biographies.
Tell us one positive thing people don’t know about your dad?
He is an optimist. His glass is always half full.
As a mother, what parenting method of his have you imbibed in your family?
I teach my kids the importance of hard work and taking time out to enjoy the moment.
What is one misconception about your dad you would like to set straight?
People assume that being the child of a well known politician means you are spoilt. My dad is disciplined when it comes to his children; you can’t get away with behaving badly.
Would you describe yourself as a ‘daddy’s girl’?
My dad has 19 children and I am the 18th. Of course, all the girls are known to be ‘daddy’s girls.’