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Meet Kano councillor who combines tea selling with lawmaking

Dayyabu Lawan Bala is the councillor representing Sabon Birni ward in Gwarzo Local Government of Kano State. The deputy speaker of the council is also…

Dayyabu Lawan Bala is the councillor representing Sabon Birni ward in Gwarzo Local Government of Kano State. The deputy speaker of the council is also into tea business. In this interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, he spoke on how he combines the business with his duties as a lawmaker. He also spoke on what motivates him to sustain the business despite his political position.

How would you describe your childhood?

I was born in Bagawa village, where I attended Bagawa Primary School and proceeded to Government Junior Secondary School (GJSS), Getso, then Government Secondary School (GSS), Gwarzo and left in the year 2000. After about 17 years, I proceeded to the Federal College of Education, Kano, where I read English/Islamic Studies and graduated in 2020.

When did you join politics?

Dayyabu Lawan Bala

I started politics since I was in school, about 30 years ago. Then I was not even eligible to vote. I started during the days of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the National Republican Convention (NRC) in the early 1990s.

When did you first contest for an election?

I contested for councillorship in 2007 but lost. I continued the struggle since then. I was appointed a special assistant on revenue to the chairman of Gwarzo Local Government. I served for three years and was also made a caretaker councillor.

How long have you been selling tea?

I have been selling tea for about 10 years now, even after I contested for councillorship position and served as special assistant.

People will be surprised to see an elected councillor selling tea. What actually motivated you?

There are many factors. Before this business, I sold oranges after secondary school. There were times I travelled to neighbouring communities in Katsina State to hawk when school was on break. That was when I started knowing the value of business.

Also, after my tenure as caretaker councillor and special assistant, I realised that politicians used to find themselves in financial crisis. Some would even go bankrupt because they are used to spending money and sharing to people. So I felt that one would not stay like that. That was why I found a shop close to Gwarzo General Hospital and started selling blouses and other commodities. But I realised that the business was not the best in that location and that tea would sell more there. So I went back to selling tea. I thank God that I have been using it to sustain my political activities and even my family.

How do you combine your job as a councillor with tea selling?

First, I am the head of my tea business, so I go there every day. As an elected councillor, one is not expected to be at the council secretariat every day. Sometimes you receive complaints from people and wait for the day the council would sit to present it there. Some will even follow you to your shop and lodge their complaints to you. So it even brings me closer to people.

The tea business is a way of interacting with people because the location of the shop (Gwarzo General Hospital) is very strategic, even for people from the neighbouring Katsina and Kaduna states.

What is your relationship with other councillors? Do they look down on your business?

Not at all. You see, all of them have their individual businesses. Some are into farming, some are into other businesses. It is just unusual to see a political office holder in this business some may see as too small. But personally, I am proud of it.

When I was not holding any position, it helped me a lot. Whenever I am not available, my workers will be there. The business runs for almost 24 hours weekly.

How many workers do you have in the shop?

Well, apart from those who have opened other places, there are four of us presently running the place; and all of us rely on it.

What is your dream in this business?

I hope this business would take me to wherever any human being goes. I will keep this business no matter the position I find myself in. I can go as far as another country to sell tea.

What is your most interesting experience in the business?

Two things interest me the most. First, I interact with people directly and know their problems so that I will be able to help them. Secondly, I use it to get money to run my daily life.

Do you face any challenge in the business as a result of your political position?

Honestly, I don’t encounter such problem. In fact, we often get that problem from strangers, not those who know me. They just want to cheat people, irrespective of who they are. But this is not something that will discourage me.

As a politician, what is your dream?

I will continue politics till the end of my life. I will keep serving people. What I don’t want is a position I will not use to help people.

What advice do you have for youths?

They should understand that business liberates human beings. They should understand that whether big or small, occupation will help a man stay peaceful. Staying without any business could lead one to idleness, drug abuse or any form of social vice. An idle hand, they say, is the devil’s workshop. If with my position as the number four person in Gwarzo Local Government I would engage in tea selling business, I see no reason why a youth will stay jobless.

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