For this week’s Bold & Beautiful, Indy Press correspondent, Williams Owoeye, interviewed Abdulharirat Ajuma, a 300-level student of medicine and surgery and a tenacious entrepreneur. In this interview, she spoke about herself, school, combining her business with academics, Afghanistan, colourism, and a host of other things. Enjoy!
First of all, introduce yourself so the audience can get to know you better.
Okay, hi. So, my name is Abdulharirat Ajumaat. I’m 20 years old. I am from Kogi State. And I speak Igala. So that’s basically about me, and I’m a UIte, then I’m a student at the Department of Medicine and Surgery, 300 level. I think that’s just all I have to say.
Oh, you speak Igala, that’s interesting. So now I’m kind of curious. What was growing up like for you? What was your background like?
Okay, I was born in Kogi State, the state capital. That’s Lokoja. I grew up there. I had my primary education there. I also had my secondary education there. So basically, the first time I left Kogi State to stay in another state was going to university, that’s Ibadan. But that doesn’t include travelling for vacations. So, the first time I had to move down to another state and live there was school in 100 level. So growing up for me, I grew up in a small city. Lokoja is a very small town. So I won’t say I had so much fun. I wasn’t quite exposed to a lot of things that most people had when you were growing up. But it was fun. It was great and I was kind of this kid in primary and secondary school, I went to competitions; I was representing my schools; I was a stargirl (kind of). So, I think that gave me this kind of confidence that okay, I’m this, I’m that. So growing up? I think growing up was okay. I wasn’t the child that gets to play with other kids and all. My dad basically made me study a lot, tutorials and all. So I went from school to extra lesson, then I’m a Muslim so I will have to go for my madrassa. I was that kind of child; I did not really explore. I don’t think I had major events in my life apart from the time I had an accident. I think that is one childhood memory I’m gonna live with forever. Then for a while I couldn’t walk. I had to take exams in hospital. Even when I resumed school, I still couldn’t walk. That was like the only bad part I can remember right now.
Yes, University of Ibadan is filled with many people that are stars from their primary and secondary school. So, let me let me have one foot in the past now and another in the present. Looking at your background, especially looking at the fact that you were not given the liberty to socialise that much, how has that been reflecting on your personality right now as a young adult?
Yes, it has. Till now, I don’t really have friends. I have people I talk to, classmates. But it is hard to say this is my best friend or this is my padi. This is my person, like I don’t really have those people because I find it hard to keep the relationship after a while. Like, you know the consistency that you need to build relationships, friendships and all. I find it hard to because I just get tired of talking to those people after a while. So it takes those people that really want to stay. And actually, I’m not putting effort in those things so I don’t blame people. And I think I’m okay with it even though it gets really boring and lonely at times. But yeah, it did affect. I find it hard to form new friends when I’m in a new environment. And I think that’s the reason why it’s like I’m introverted. But you know, being an introvert. I don’t know if it’s the right word to use for someone like me, because when I need to speak, I’m not shy. I can talk when I need to talk. And I can be noisy atimes. I think just depends on people I’m with. I’m not going to be the loudest person in the room. But when I’m with people I’m comfortable with, you know I’m around like, yeah, I talk.
Alright, that’s totally understandable. To my next question; it appears that it’s the trendy thing for students to be juggling their studies with one business or holding leadership position. Can you tell us what you do part from being a medical student?
Yeah, in 100 level, towards the end of first semester, I actually knew that I could not keep on doing just this school thing. It was really boring. Not like I really have friends I hang out with or something so I was really, really bored. So I thought of what I could do. I don’t really have talents. I can’t sing; I can’t do anything. And I’m not a very social person. I don’t think I can speak, I can’t write. I’ve like given these a shot actually. So what can I do? I know I like business. I like money. So I thought of what I can do that will not affect me preclinical school then. So the best option I had was to go into the sales of wears. So that’s how I started selling wears in second semester 100 level so that is what I do till now.
So what can you say about the progress of the business so far, especially when you look at how you started and the current status of the business?
I think I should add that the break during COVID was like a breakthrough for me, because I really had time that time to do a lot of things. There was no school. So adverts and all I was able to push more on social media, I think that was when I was able to gain followers and gain ground on social media, actually. That was the time that I really like upped my game. I have grown obviously, like I’ve grown, despite the fact that I took a very long break in April/May. I took a long break because I had to prepare for my MBBS exams. Looking at it from when I started that time till now, then I, basically was selling in the hostels. Just things that females could wear. I go from rooms to rooms, I try to get people’s contact and all but I knew that that cannot last for a long time. So that was how I started. But then I grew from there, then what sells for me basically now is social media. I have a good number of followers on Twitter, I sell on Twitter, Instagram, also then WhatsApp. So, basically, so I think I’ve grown like from just selling with ordinary nylons to having branded nylons and having a business card, having a business name. But still, it’s been growing and God has been faithful.
Yeah, I guess most of us still have that silver lining to look at despite the fact that 2020 which was the COVID year was generally catastrophic in a number of ways. So looking into the future now, where do you see your brand in this in the nearest future, say 5 years from now?
I’m looking forward to expansion of course. I really want to do it big. It is not something I want to do for fun or for the short term profit. I like money you know, honestly, I like money. So I look forward to making it big, big big because it is not like there is future for Medicine in Nigeria like that. So for now, what I sell is limited to just foot wears so I look forward to getting more suppliers and then expanding my horizon getting more audience and branding and all it takes to just get to that point. You know, I have people I look up to in the business world. Like, I see them on social media. I am really like, I really want to get to this place. So in five years time, God-willing I should have gotten to those places he God wants sha but I’m interested in putting effort to get to those places.
Alright. See, we’ve really gone deep into the serious topics now. Let’s just try to tone it down. As you said you love money. The honesty is appreciated actually. What I would like to ask is if you should go out with your boyfriend or your spouse will you be willing to split or foot the bills?
I wouldn’t mind actually that’s what stars do.
Wow. I think that will be pleasing to the ears of our male audience. Are you receiving applications, you know, applications for partners…
I’m too broke for that actually that’s why I’m just staying on my lane for now.
Okay. We have no access to your bank statement so I guess it will be hard to pin that one on you. So, going back to more serious question now. I believe you must have heard about the things happening in Afghanistan with the Taliban and the oppression especially with women and the violation of human rights. What do you feel about all these happenings? Especially the fact that you’re a Muslim and a woman
As you’d expect me to say it’s really sad like very very sad and I don’t really have anything to say like it is totally sad. I actually plan to read more about the history and even know what the whole thing is all about know more about but then I’ve not really had the time because I just finished my exams and everything. Apart from not having the time I’m just like trying to avoid the whole thing I can just send them my prayers. That is the only thing that I can do from here right now.
If you’re offered a $1 million to live in Afghanistan, will you take it?
No dear, I love my life. My life, my freedom. How do you live in a place like that? How do you sleep? I can’t, no. Afghanistan is even an exaggeration. I can’t live in a place that I won’t have peace of mind because of money. I think the whole love of money thing…I sha have priorities. There is money that is around the top but before money, there are things that must be settled. I can’t.
There’s this thing about colourism that ladies that are fair in complexion get some privileges over their colleagues with darker skin colour when they are in a competition. Being someone who has a fair complexion yourself, do you think this is true?
Hmm. This is kind of a deep question. Why? In all honesty, I don’t know. The question you asked is kind of in two phases. I think the first phase is the colorism part. I think it was bad that talked about it one time. Where we feel likelight skinned people are kind of favored in competitions? Well, it doesn’t make sense but that is the truth. That’s what happened most times. I’m gonna use ladies as an example, because I’m a lady. So, what we say when a girl is light is “that fine girl” Like people automatically say you are fine. So when you have a light-skinned girl and maybe a darker girl competing for a particular stuff. People tend to, you know, just see the beauty in the light-skinned girl at first, even before checking into any character, because you know, it isn’t about being beautiful. Like, it kind of covers most things that people may not even check the character or anything. Like, I don’t know, the first thing that catches on attracts people. So people try to look at the good side of everything that you do, or everything that follows. So I think the reality is, if you’re going to be very, very honest, it happens but it does not make sense. It shouldn’t be. I do not support it. Then about thinking I’ve been privileged because of how I look physical. Well, I don’t know if those things are called privileges. But I’ve had people saying, “Oh, fine girl, you don’t have to pay” “Oh, pretty girl, you can step forward” but I don’t think they are anything serious. I don’t think they are privileges in quotes. And then these things happen, but not like I’m supporting it. But I’ve had this privileges if you call those ones privileges.
We will be wrapping up the conversation now. So let’s go to the financial sphere. Looking at the race between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who is more likely to win?
Elon Musk. Yeah.
Why Elon Musk?
Elon Musk is more diversified and the fact that he is a tech guy and tech is the future. Do you get?
What will be your word of encouragement to the audience especially to ladies trying to make money? And also share your social media handles so people might want to contact you can reach you.
Okay, so I just love to tell people that you don’t have to let yourself get pressured by the fact that everyone around you is into something so you also just want to do something. You have to come to terms with yourself and be realistic. Can you do it? If you can do it why not go for it. My social media handles: IG is @reerahsworld, Twitter is @AbdulNafisat_ and WhatsApp is 07087722880
Alright. I swear to pass by indeed. So how would you say goodbye in Igala?
Okay. Me che gba tu gba.