Fifteen-year-old Mujeebat Ismail Aromaradu is one of the youngest publishers in Kwara State. While waiting to fulfil her dream of studying medicine, the graduate of the Muhammad Kamaldeen College, Ilorin, has published only four books out of her numerous manuscripts because of funding limitations.
The author, from the revered Alimi Dynasty, told Daily Trust Saturday how she was able to accomplish the feat, among other issues of interest, despite being a science student.
Mujeebat, who is the eldest of five siblings, has put her family in the spotlight through her literary prowess.
Already, there are calls from her parents and educationists for states and the federal government to adopt her books and recommend them for use in secondary schools.
Her parents, Alhaji Ismail Aromaradu and Hajia Ramat, both teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies, said such a move would not only serve as a source of motivation for their daughter, but would also inspire other students to develop the reading habit that might change the narrative in the education sector in the country for the better.
They said they struggled to produce 50 copies each of the four books at the cost of N100,000 to serve as support for their daughter.
Mujeebat’s mother, Hajia Ramat, who explained that the whole thing started when she was about 11 years old, said, “At a time I went to check on her in her room at night and saw her writing at the back of her notes. I queried why she was repeating what she had read at the back of about four of her exercise books. But she replied to the contrary. My finding was corroborated by a relative who was staying with us who said she had followed and read the captivating fictional stories she usually scribbled on paper after reading a book.
“After several failed warnings not to allow the situation to derail her quest to study medicine, I took the materials and showed them to her dad, who advised that we allow her to continue.”
After Mujeebat’s junior WAEC, her performance ensured she was placed in a science class, and her mother’s attempt to convince the principal otherwise only wowed the latter.
Speaking about what could have influenced her daughter, Hajia Ramat said, “Sometimes she may be playing with her classmates and suddenly leave the environment to write down stories before returning to continue. But I was surprised when I first read some of her works, how she titled them, the arrangements and her storylines surprised me; at her age, which amazed teachers in her school also.
“What I observe about her is that she loves to go to the library to read and jot down things. We refer to her as our calendar in the house. Whenever we are trying to recall the date of an incident, not only will she inform you when it happened, but go ahead to give specific instances in relation to the occurrence. We have five children, but she is the only one that has shown this prowess so far.”
Her father, Alhaji Ismail, said, “I believe our decision to stop her from using a phone assisted her,” adding that, “We plan to give her quality education.”
Mujeebat told Daily Trust Saturday that when she started observers thought she was copying from somewhere until they discovered that it was raw talent.
She said her intention to study medicine was borne out of her love and passion to save lives.
Asked how she could reconcile being a science student but making waves in the arts, she said, “I will just say it’s talent mixed with passion, and in this case, through reading.
“I just find myself always attracted to reading story books and I fall in love with them. I discovered that after I read any book, I am inspired to write down something, not necessarily to repeat what I have read, but another story concept, and ideas will just be coming. I believe that is part of the divine touch that assists me. I get easily inspired after reading by the things that happen around me, whether at home or around the community. I began to put down my write-ups in pieces till it became obvious that books were being written.
“At times I can wake up from sleep with inspiration about a story idea and begin to write, especially at midnight.”
She noted that writing would not affect her quest to be a medical student, adding that she was on the verge of doing a fiction that was science-related.
She said, “My initial fears were that this writing might affect my performance in the sciences in secondary school. But I eventually passed out in flying colours and my outstanding performance made my parents take the bull by the horn in sponsoring the publishing of the books despite their meagre salaries and incomes.”
For the challenges so far, Mujeebat said, “Sometimes I may start a story but get stuck at a point and not even remember what to right again to end the story. At that point I will just leave it and move on with another one, and because of this, there are lots of uncompleted titles that I have done half way. Apart from the four that have been published, I have just completed another one and still have two that are yet to be published but completed aside from several others that I have done half way.
“The issue is that sometimes when I am half way through with a book, the inspiration for another one that I consider more compelling and relevant will just crop up and I will be forced to abandon the one I was writing. But I know I will still complete them.”
Talking about how significant the environment she found herself is to the whole project, Mujeebat said, “I will not really say the environment contributes to my writing ability, because my parents are not like me on this at all. Both of them are not even English teachers but Arabic teachers, and my inclination to read and then write has really assisted me in my educational pursuit in terms of ability to recall and note taking, and even in terms of financial support.
“At a point my parents, because of the kind of upbringing they gave us, queried how I got the money to buy the exercise books I was using to write down my story drafts. But what I did was that I started renting the books of some of my completed stories to my classmates who had developed interest in my works at the rate of N10 each and I reinvested the money in the project.”
Mujeebat further said that the four titles published so far, all written in conversational prose, addressed issues that were relevant to everyday situations in many homes.
She explained that, “‘The Blood Behind’ is an epic which captures the struggle of a royal couple that has been married for 23 years without a child at a time their lineage is entitled to produce the next king. ‘Because of Success’ talks about the travails of a student whose father threatens to stop her education if she fails to improve her grades, while ’Wait For Your Time’ chronicles the life of a brilliant student whose education is being threatened by lack of funds owing to the poor status of the parents. The fourth publication, ‘The Lazy Wife’, is about a spoiled lady from a very wealthy home who also marries a very rich man but is haunted by her lack of good upbringing promoted by her mother.”
She urged the government to come to her aid to produce more copies of her books for a larger readership and advised youths who found themselves in “my situation to be focused, know how to marry their talent with passion and look for people that would encourage them apart from their parents.”