Emerging Northern Nigerian Female Poets to watch: A Prognosis (Final part) ~ Paul Liam

3. Nasiba Babale

Tell them

If they ask you
That I only have words
Crawling at my feet
That I am their master
And they must race
To kneel in my shrine
Tell them
I only sing songs
Listened to with the heart
That my voice
Is the envy
Of the Nightingales

Tell them
I am a wanderer
My feet know the way home
But not my soul
It roams these realms freely
Not caring for a shade

Tell them
I am a conqueror of souls
I never have to wield my sword
When they see my light
They gather
Like the moths they are
To worship my flames.


They say my poems
Speak of love
With an ecstasy that
Pulls at the heart of men
They say my lines
Paint love in colors
That make the rainbow drool
And that my stanzas
Tell of love in words
That hit the soul

Yet, I am nothing
But poison
Running in the veins
Of men.

Nasiba Babale also known as the The Poet of Light, is a graduate of Medical Laboratory Science, from Bayero University Kano, and currently a Masters student in the same institution. She's a budding poet and Secretary of Poetic Wednesdays Literary Initiative. She won 3rd place in the poetically written prose contest organized by PIN in 2018, and moderated the 2019 edition of the contest. At her leisure time, she loves to read, write and travel.

 4. Amrah Aliyu


You spilled ink
Dripping blood
Upon my sweaty palms

So, I write
Here, it gets so cold
Not the sun, not the moon
Not even coal can
Give warmth

Hear the thunder of bullets?
North the rich, north the poor
North even Jah can stop this storm

We are but pieces of meat
To be stolen from pots of soup
We are but lambs for sacrifice
To be chopped, diced and dished to the deity

Commodities to be bargained for
In cash, kind or bitcoin

Hear the cries of many
Struggling to come out sane

Baba has a defect in his ear
So, he cannot hear what we hear
Perhaps it is music to his ear

There lie the souls of those who are pure and those who are not
There lies the soul of your mother and mine.

Not silence, not words
Not even cloak can give cover

Baba hides behind integrity's fur
We hide with him.

Me too

I asked mama
About all the tales
I hear about me.

There are tears in her eyes.

She says, “the sun will rise for you
“Someone sweet will take you.
“He'll make you forget the world behind you.”

Beauty is the thought of being a star,
Looking down on you at dawn.

Who will want
To grab a still beating heart?
I have waited too long,
Listened too much

Still mourning the death of my innocence,
At least I won't fear alleys,
Christmas, or candies.

How do I forget the sorrow at six,
When candy on Christmas eve
Became the dusk of innocence?

Who should I pray to?
So I never open my eyes again?
"The world is cruel.
“But you'll come out strong.
“People speak their truths and feel better.
“So why can't you?"

AmrahAliyu is a winner of the 10 days poetry challenge organized by PIN. She has a collection of poems coming out in 2020. Her essays, prose and poems have appeared in print and online newspapers and magazines. Aliyu is an Event Planning and Media Assistant for TEDxMinna. She is a Global goodwill ambassador and holds a B.Tech in Agriculture from Federal University of Technology, Minna. She volunteers as a Bilingual Presenter & Reporter at search FM, she also reports for Neptune Prime Network. She is passionate about Journalism and activism. She volunteers at the Regional Centre for Expertise Minna where she has contributed to planting of over 2000 trees across Niger state.

 5. Hajaarh Muhammad Bashar
From the time the sun learned to smile
When they called her a woman
They simply meant an entertainment in the midst of

A company among guffaws and wine clicks.
Hands loitering around the body - a lice.
She's a lady only when adorned in veil.
Head clocking demurely at the wing of men.
A puppet of the opinions that sealed her fate.
Her voice was loudest only when
On a tombstone.

The one whose buttocks touch the golden seat,
Was more than a mere woman.
They called her the chosen one.
The face of royalty.
The owner of the goblet with the breath of
As the world became a whirling masquerade,
Things revolved - dancing to a different tune.
And woman fought for her name.
If she’d be called a woman,
She would not house lice.
She would be a woman who answers to her
And stands on a pedestal to gain her fame.


‘We are leaders of tomorrow’ is a song.
It has been the song of many years.
We were told we would be leaders holding the flag of our country,
But in yesterday our heels burrow, our claws digging into its soil.
In yesterday the fortress of our hopes went downhill, crumbling, spraying like sand dunes.
In yesterday our voices died, our stomachs were filled with cuisines of bribe.
When shall we journey and march into tomorrow’s hut?
When would we choose the flag of our country to the rumbles of our bellies?

Ask my father what it takes to be my country,
He’d tell you it’s just a bowl of hope around children’s neck.
Their shoeless feet trailing a mark of their stolen future
And the pot in their stomach darken from emptiness.
He’d tell you the roofs under which their shattering bodies lie are rusted from affairs of yesterday,
Or that yesterday had been a slut who sprawled her thighs
Letting those men stick within her sweet deception.
Their moans are songs of their corrupted minds.
My father would tell you those leaders hold tomorrow in palms of manipulation.
They stalked her days and nights to taste her juicy flavor,
But unlike yesterday, tomorrow was wise and never appeared.

My mother’s snort rings a bell when she hears the song.
It’s a shame! Tomorrow was a damsel chased away by men of yesterday.
Ask my mother and she’d tell you what my country is good at.
They are carpenters of lies and bearers of fraudulent smiles.
Flimflam is their talent, an artistry molded in their hands.

My country is blind to the wail of the land, to soil’s rejection,
To the clicking heels of poverty and starvation,
To the long chiseled face of our dying hope,
To the bowls that still sit around our necks with a pint of faith.
Blindness is what it takes to be my country, corruption is its flag.

Hajaarh Muhammad Bashar is lives in Minna, Niger state. Her works have appeared in Good dust magazine, The Arts-Muse Fair, Voice of the aspirant anthology, Late night blues anthology, SetuMar19 anthology of women, power and creativity, Amaravati Poetic Prism 2019 and others. She emerged the first runner up in the Sevhage short story Prize and the second runner up in the Poetically Written prose contest by PIN in 2019 respectively. Her short story '3 shade of darkness' was published in ANA Review 2019.

6. Aisha Muhammad Danpullo

My Husband
“This poem is a gloss. The first stanza is extracted from a poem by Chinenye M Anichiebe 'My Last Husband'.

"Dangling breast of horror
Breath taking sight
Ocean tears of disgust
Belly filled with the white charm"

Do not tell me love is all I need
I can still taste bitter past
My head still whirls in the dance of lies
Parading the ugly body of memories with
Dangling breast of horror

I do not eat love, so do not tell me to be mute
When my belly cries of hunger
And the sun shows off her naked self
Yet my man still sleeps what a
Breath taking sight

Love is not this silent treatment
I cannot stand the fatigue of your insolence
Nor the slaps you let loose from the bags of raging emotions
Love is not me drowning in the
Ocean tears of disgust

I could just tell you what love is
Ours wasn't love, for
My husband was a demon
A perfect illusionary beauty
Belly filled with the white charm


Flirt with the moon
Let her hold your hands
With the power in her light
And the chains of her beauty

But do not be eluded
In the captivating images
In her dance steps
As the clouds make love to the sky

Flirt with the moon
And listen to thunderstorms
For they warn you each night
Of the end, of the sands
The sands of time.

Aisha Muhammad Danpullo is a poet from who is passionate about African literature. She studied English/Islamic in Federal College of Education Kano. She has written a few poems, mostly free verse. She is an avid reader and is hoping to be a writer herself someday.

7. Sumayya Adam Ahmad

so be it
amidst stars, you were my sun
i gave you my whole
dusked for you to dawn
when the path was hazy
never for once did i turn
when the rope was thorny
stubbornly i tightly held on

You promised never to let go
but you turned and left
buried your head in sand
to the creaks of my cracking heart
to the shrills of my rejected dove.

i burnt for you
you burnt for her
So be it!
these wings shall once again fly
and for you it shall be too high.


Her fragile body laid
Her heart, a train
Pounding down its tracks.
The fire of aching burns
Of dark monster
Suffocating in hurt
She wished it will stop
But walls are too strong
Stronger than a teak tree
Powerful than hydrogen bomb.

Black and blue fear
Pain tearing down her spinal cord.
That the wall could choke and drown
In raging seas of her tears
The storm could lose its strength
Compared to darkness of her pains
The earth could freeze
from the shrieks of her inner soul

If she could once again
Fly and live
to illuminate paths of love
She must soar above the buried
white elephant in her living room.
She waits for the twilight to give way for dawn
for the day to shutdown,
a path to night.
for the moon to sleep
so that Sun can wake up
For her to catch her breath
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow"

Until then, only Silence remains...

Sumayya Adam Ahmad, holds a  B.Sc. and M.Sc. Economics from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria. Sumayya first encountered poetry about ten years ago and has been an ardent fan and student of poetry since then. She is a member of various poetry forums such as Poets in Nigeria and For the Love of Poetry. She has served as a member of Organizing Committee of some poetry events and conferences such as the 1st Bilingual Poetry Contest, and also served as a critic/judge in some of them. She edits literary works and is presently the English Editor of the online literary platform, Muryar Adabi. Sumayya believes that words are weapons that can be skillfully handled to shape the mind. She currently works with Jaiz Bank Plc.

8. Mariya Abdullahi Sidi

He discovered me

My unnamed mountains
And uncharted seas
Unearthed pains
And unmined love

He tipped over my rocks
And sifted through my beach sands
Found the gems
And polished the stones
Adorned the regal crown
Now sitting noble on his head
Sire to the kingdom beneath this skin

He sails the waves of this heart
The Sinbad of its storms
The Hercules of its monsters
Keeper of keys
Hades to my darkness

He holds the map
In his words, the latitudes
In his hands, the longitudes
I'm his Atlantis
Submerged entirely in his existence

When your muse shuns you

Coax her
Offer her your memories in shiny wraps
Lure her to the tip of your fingers
And guide her steps to your paper

Offer her your pain
If it’s not enough
Cut open the scars
Drag the blade a little farther
Just so you'd bleed some more
What's a little blood
In exchange for her mercy

Blackmail her
Make her listen to the beat of silence
Show her the blank spaces
The void she has left you with
Where the letters are meant to be
But all that's left is a gaping emptiness
Waiting on her generosity

You could take her by the hand
Drag her to the dance floor
And make her sway
But stiff words and reluctant lines
Never step in tune with the band

If all fails
Sit beside her cold shoulder
Then listen
Translate her averted eyes and raised chin
Write about her folded arms and pursed lips

Paint a portrait
Of how she has shunned you
In vivid colours
With deft strokes, colour in your patience
And add thick lines
On how she, your muse
Fills in your spaces
And you fill in the spaces she leaves
With her

Mariya Abdullahi Sidi is a 26yrs old Medical Doctor who was born in Kano, where she lives. She is the Founder of For the Love of Poetry (a spoken word platform in Kano) and is the author of Theories of Me.

Works cited:
Asma’u, Nana. Wikipedia entry, https://en.wikipedia.org-wiki-Nana-Asma’u, sourced on May 5, 2020;
Azuah, Unomah. “Reshaping Obliterated Faces: Ten Female Nigeria Poets” published by Praxis Magazine, www.praxismagonline.com, January 1, 2016;
Bala, Ismail. “Women Poetry from Northern Nigeria: A Bibliographic Note” in Gender and Behaviour (Journal), Ibadan, 2010;
Imam, Abubakar. Wikipedia entry, https://en.wikipedia.org-wiki-Abubakar-Imam, sourced on May 5, 2020;
Raji-Oyelade, Remi. “Notes toward the Bibliography of Nigerian Women’s Poetry (1985-2006)” 2008, PDF.

Paul Liam is a poet, author, Critic and Associate Editor at The Arts-Muse Fair