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I’m fulfilled, says Jos woman who named son after Buhari

Lami Sadiq, Jos Five years ago, Khadija Auwalu took a risk when she returned to her polling unit at Anguwan Rogo Primary School to cast…

Lami Sadiq, Jos

Five years ago, Khadija Auwalu took a risk when she returned to her polling unit at Anguwan Rogo Primary School to cast her vote for the then presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Muhammadu Buhari. Khadija, who had put to bed a bouncing baby boy barely 15 minutes earlier, said she took the risk squarely because she believed in the change that Buhari could bring at that time. But her sacrifice did not materialise into a win for Buhari, who lost to immediate-past president, Goodluck Jonathan. Despite Buhari’s loss, her words didn’t portray any regret as she then said: “I have exercised my franchise and history will have it that I made an effort to bring change, and I believe that change will come one day.”
Fast-forward today, roughly four years after that sacrifice, Khadija’s change did come in 2015, as her candidate emerged, beating an incumbent and her joy knew no bounds. She and her husband, Auwalu Jibrin, had named their April 2011 baby Buhari, a namesake of the current president. Her overwhelming courage coupled with giving President Buhari a namesake had earned her a phone call from then-candidate Buhari.
Khadija’s husband Auwalu narrated to our correspondent how the call from Buhari came about: “Some people called me to Sharna Hotel in Jos a day after the naming ceremony and they took my number and told me to expect the General’s call. When I got home, the people called me again to remind me to expect his call. I was excited at the same in disbelief, when he finally called. He spoke to me and my wife and expressed his gratitude. He told us he was travelling to Daura and by the time he returned to Abuja, he sent me a text. That was my last correspondence with him until 2013 when I met him in Kaduna with the late State CPC Chairman, Alhaji Mudashiru Aliyu and we took some pictures.”
Khadija says she never regretted returning to the polling unit to cast her vote for Buhari in 2011: “It was difficult for me going up and down since our home is located on top of a rock but at that time I feared that my single vote could cause Buhari to lose the election, he may not have won then. But today, he is president and that makes me happy. I’m fulfilled,” she told Daily Trust.
Khadija who had seven children after the famous circumstance that heralded young Buhari’s birth has since put to bed two more children with her youngest barely a month old. Her family still resides atop a rock in the crowded area of Yan Zuma in Anguwan Rogo, Jos North local government area of Plateau State where five-year-old Buhari goes to school at Anguwan Rogo Primary School. Coincidentally, it is that same school where his mother’s labour pains started while queuing to vote in 2011.
Daily Trust however noticed the five-year-old was being cajoled to go to school, a task his mother says happens frequently as he is unhappy with the school he attends. “He doesn’t like it there, and his father cannot afford a private school, so most times we have to persuade him to go. Our neighbour’s kids go to a private school and he has always thought his father would take him there, but as a kid, he’s unaware of financial realities.”
While he was too shy to speak to Daily Trust, young Buhari was willing to pose for a picture in his school uniform. When asked if he knows he bears the same name with Nigeria’s president, he only nodded.
Khadija believes great things will come her son’s way as she describes his character as exceptional among her nine children. “He is the most patient and compassionate, anytime he sees me lying down in the afternoon he becomes worried and keeps asking me to go to the hospital. He will never rest unless I assure him that I am fine or I decide to go to the hospital.”
Buhari’s dad says he often cries when too many people call his name, insisting that the name ‘Baba Buhari’ should always be mentioned with respect. But naming his seventh child Buhari came at a price for Auwalu, who is popularly called Auwalu German because of his expertise in working on German-made lorries. He says he was working as a mechanic for one Isa in Nyanya, Abuja, while his wife was pregnant with Buhari and had planned on naming the offspring after his boss. “I didn’t do that because my wife gave birth on the day of election and based on her sacrifice, I felt we should name the child Buhari, but that angered my boss and it became the basis for us to part ways.”
Auwalu says while he’s not oblivious of the hardship currently in the country, even with Buhari as president, he expressed optimism. “This is the man who has restored peace to our country, and that is everything,” he said.