Hansatu Mustapha would not forget in a hurry her experience of 2015. Then, her husband, the former Deputy Governor, Zannah Umar Mustapha died in his sleep!
With a Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mass Communications from the University of Lagos, the mother of three, spoke to MediaroomHub on how she coped and survived the two years of being a widow.
Your late husband was the former deputy governor of Borno State, how has life been like after his demise and how have you been coping as a single mother of 3
First of all, I will like to say that all praise is due to Allah. My late husband was more than just a husband to me, he was my best friend, my confidant. He was God-sent, after God he was next. He was my semi-god. We were so close, you can imagine what it’s like not having him around. He had really spoilt me (laughing) that I still keep imagining if anyone can fit into his shoes. Honestly speaking, in the beginning it was not easy to believe he was gone, because myself and the children were on vacation in America when we got to see the news on Facebook it was so devastating and it was the biggest shock of my life. I couldn’t believe it because I spoke to him that night and to wake up to such sad news on Facebook was definitely unbelievable. Before we got back he was already buried, so it was difficult to believe he was gone.
It took me almost two years to get on my feet again. I was so lucky in my marriage and having him as a partner. I will say I’m one of the few women marriage favoured. He did everything for me. I never lacked anything. He was really caring and loving. He was a family man, for him family comes first in as much as he was busy he always created time for family vacations and can call you 20 times in a day to know how you are doing. He wanted the best for his family. We were the cynosure of all eyes. He was three years gone on 15th of August. We were married for 20 years and for those years he had been the breadwinner. As I earlier said he provided everything hence it took me that long to get back on my feet, but we thank God.
God has been faithful and merciful to me and the children. We are doing fine by his grace, I am learning and growing stronger and taking each day as it comes. When life throws you lemon you have to make lemonade out of it.
Rumour out there is that, your husband didn’t die a natural death, it was said to be pre-empted. How true is that?
Well, from Allah we come and to him we shall return. As a Muslim the 7th article of faith which is you believe in either good or bad. Whether killed or not I believe it was his appointed time. If it is your appointed time you cannot delay it for a second and if it is not your time even if the whole world was to gather to take your life it won’t be possible unless Allah permits. Every living soul shall taste death.
How did you meet your husband, was it love at first sight or you were introduced to him?
It’s a long story. We were destined to be together. We were not introduced but for him I think it was love at first sight. At the time, there were so many suitors coming for my hand in marriage, I just said this must be my true love for someone to love me since I was a little girl nobody can beat that, and that was how we became one and the rest was history. He was a goal getter, that’s one of the qualities I loved about him. Whatever he set his mind on, he went after it and got it done . We were ordained from above.
When you are not busy, how do you relax?
I relax at times by listening to the recitation of the Holy Quran, watch TV, read books and also go to the spa .
What’s the biggest sacrifice you have made so far?
I think one of the biggest sacrifices was not fulfilling my childhood dream as a newscaster. As the saying goes, “catch them young,” my hubby caught me young. I got married early, though I have my BSc and MSc in Mass communication from the University of Lagos, I also did my youth service at Channels TV. After all the schooling my hubby said I would not work. He never wanted me to do anything, he said we both couldn’t be chasing money at the same time, that I had to be at home to take care of the children. I think that was the best decision so far. If I have to do it all over again, I will do it the same way.
My first child is a graduate from the university, those that don’t know him thinks he is my brother. So staying at home taking care of my children was worth everything. I don’t have any regrets and the sacrifice was worth everything.
Through your journey in life as a wife, mother and a business oriented woman, is there anything you do wish if you had the opportunity, you would have done differently?
Yeah, what I would have done is to at least put more pressure on my hubby to be self reliant, that would have been difficult though because I had everything at my disposal and was too comfortable and lazy (chuckles). As much as one is comfortable I think one should have something doing especially when the children are grown.
That is why it took me two years to get on my feet. I had to close the business for a year because I did not know where and how to start. A woman should be productive even if you are married to a billionaire. You should keep yourself busy, have a knowledge and experience on how the business is being run so that in case of any uncertainties you know how to manage the family, business and have something to fall back on if not people would want to take advantage of the fact that you have no idea of what you are doing. If you have all the businesses and money and you don’t know how to run it within the twinkle of an eye everything will be gone. Someone told me it’s quite unfortunate your northern men don’t want you women to work that is why it’s so difficult for you northern women to pick up. Even the prophet’s wife was a business woman. So for me, I think every woman should be enterprising and up and doing.