Maryam Sa’eed Otuh is from Okene, Kogi State. A graduate of Biochemistry from Nasarawa State university, Keffi, she was born on the 25th of September 1995.
She attended ASCOS Nursery School in Ajaokuta, Kogi State. Then moved with her parents to Abuja where she completed her primary school education at Al Ihsan Nursery and Primary School (Now known as Al Mannar), Life Camp, Abuja. Her Junior Secondary School was at Unity Int’ernational School, Gwarimpa Abuja , before she proceeded for her Senior Secondary education at Government Girls Science School, Kuje ,Abuja.
She currently lives with her parents and siblings in Abuja. She loves reading, writing, and hanging out with friends.
What made you choose your career path?
Well to be honest I was one of those people that were quite indecisive as kids. There were so many things I wanted to become then, so many things I really loved to do that I couldn’t exactly single out what I wanted to major in.
So ,when the time came for me to choose a career path, as a science student I decided to choose something that has a mixture of everything: Biochemistry. And I sure don’t regret it.
What are your other interests?
I’ve always loved reading since I was little but I never knew I will come to love writing as well.
I didn’t discover I had writing in me until my Junior secondary . Back then, we were made to read a book titled “West African Verse”. I still have it. I fell in love with the book;its sheer brilliance and artistry. I think the poets of those days were in another universe. The likes of Dennis Osadebe, Gladys Casely hayford etc. They made me fall in love with what I’ve now come to see as one of the most brilliant ways of passing a message.
And that’s why I started writing . And I am completely in love with it.
How do you think the North can move towards sustainable development?
First of all, there is so much illiteracy in the North and it is one of our major problems.
When I am referring to illiteracy I don’t only mean lack of education alone. I mean lack of exposure which equals lack of experience and that in turn leads to some sort of blind ignorance that affects a person’s behavior.
Some of these people hold strongly to customs and self made beliefs that prevent them from actually learning and becoming useful to the society. However, this can be dealt with by good governance. Appointing good district heads and community leaders that makes the welfare of his people a point of concern will do the trick ,especially regarding education.
They will help in creating awareness on the importance of education, exposure and give opportunities of actually going into the outside world.
To curb ignorance, we need to explain clearly the difference between religion and culture and draw the line that will separate one from the other.
Secondly,there is no doubt that the north is the most populated region in Nigeria. So more population should equal more empowerment opportunities, right?But this is not the case.
We need empowerment programs that will empower both the youth and less privileged , an example is what Kwankwaso (former governor of kano) did in kano. He started an empowernment program for the less privileged that later on created tailors, cobblers, hair dressers etc. We need more of this .
Are there areas in your State you wish are better?
Kogi state has raw materials for example The Ajaokuta steel Company that provided employment for hundreds of people has been flushed down the drain. Kogi has no production now whatsoever.
Lands are rocky in most parts and therefore discourages farming but even the few people that do venture into farming have no support from the government.
Then there is poor health care facilities which is inadequate to properly render services to patients. Doctors are not being paid as expected and this might sufficiently affect their work. Doctors need the support of the government to go for medical researches and training. This is important as every year, new discoveries are made. Sometimes a drug becomes unsafe to use, sometimes the mg or the dosage is changed, sometimes better drugs that could treat the same disease faster and with less side effects are discovered. This is why wrong prescriptions are made to patients that could possibly kill them because doctors do not expand their knowledge due to bad maintenance of the health sector.
Also,up to date Laboratory equipment should also be made available in hospitals and federal medical centers for proper tests and scanning to prevent wrong diagnosis.
And then,there are bad roads. The Okene to Lokoja and the latter to Abuja express way is a nightmare for motorists. Earlier this September, about 25 people died in a car crash involving a tanker and a bus carrying passengers. People travel everyday, from North to south and from South to North. This is the road that links the two regions but nothing is being done about it.
These are important things that the government really should handle them effectively.
What are you doing to change the narrative of the North?
I believe as an ambassador of the north, we must portray the positive. The aspect that says hope, that indeed there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe it’s a stage in growth, sometimes there is regression before progress,and that’s just how this growth of a thing is. Perhaps,this is the stage the North is in right now.
When people ask me, why are you proud to be who you are, or where you are from? I say because I have an incredible story to tell, a story that no one else but me will tell. I knew I wanted to do something for the North but I didn’t know how to go about it, until I became a part of the Jaruma team. It’s the perfect platform.
Jaruma magazine aims to create awareness by means of enlightening the general public on the different problems women in the North face. The stories that no one else wants to tell. We believe that in order to change, one must first know. You cannot cure a disease if you don’t know the cause of the disease . Women are the soil on earth: water them, and plants grow,if you fail to water them, we all die.
What makes you a proud Northerner?
First, I am proud to be a northerner because that is where I come from. It only makes sense to be proud of your origin.
Sometimes people like to say I am from the middle belt and I am not really a northerner and I tell them I am more inclined to the North hence that makes me one.
The North is my home . I can travel to places across and outside Nigeria but at the end of the day, I would still want the comfort and peace that only home gives.
If you have just one wish for the world right now, what will it be?
There is already too much suffering and heartache, it’s high time we all lived in peace.
What three words best describes you?
Strong, Determined and Kind.