Hajiya Mariya Abdullahi also known as Inna Mai-Kosai is a popular Kosai (akara or bean balls) seller along IBB Way in the capital of Katsina State. She has been in the business for 28 years now. Inna started with a capital of only N5 but through the business, she now owns a 4-bedroom apartment at Unguwar Na Huta da Haya quarters.
66-year-old Inna told Weekend Extra: “I started the business of frying Kosai in 1984, shortly after General Buhari took over power. I bought two measures of beans at the cost of N5 with which I started the business and since then I have not looked back. I am well known with many coming to me to buy Kosai for breakfast and other occasions. I consider it as my full time business.”
“To me Kosai means everything because courtesy of the business I have achieved so many things in my life; I have built my own house, gave my two daughters and a granddaughter’s hands in marriage and I am still taking care of my family despite my age,” she narrated, with satisfaction and pride.
“I bought the piece of land at the cost of N4,200 and it took me years before I completed my house, in 1997. The apartment comprises of four rooms, a kitchen and a toilet. The expenses of the land and construction works were all from the little profit I was generating from Kosai.
Though it took me some years saving the money, but Alhamdulillah I was able to accomplish my mission,” she said.
Hajiya Inna explained further that she developed the idea of having her own personal house after she was ejected from a rented house at Unguwar Alkali quarters in the state metropolis. She recalled that, “I rented a room at Unguwar Alkali when suddenly the owner issued me with a 2-week notice to vacate the room.”
One interesting thing with Inna was that despite her economic status, she said she had never borrowed, not even a kobo while executing her project.
Inna also recalled that, “I was forced into the business of Kosai after my former husband, Malam Isan Isa, travelled to Lagos in search of job.
“He left me with four children. I shouldered their responsibilities after he left. I was also saddled with the responsibility of paying our rent because my husband was not sending money to us. At that time, I was paying N20 for the room monthly.”
Hajiya Inna, Weekend Extra observed, lived a simple life as she depended less on government. She revealed that “right now I am not enjoying electricity in my house, though initially I was connected to PHCN, but when the PHCN’s officials issued me with an outrageous bill, I asked them to disconnect the house because I could not afford to pay them the amount they charged and since then I have relied on my local lamp which I bought during the regime of late General Murtala Muhammad.”
For water supply, Inna said, “I solely rely on a well which I have been using for the past 15 years. I am not using tap water not because I have no access to it but because supply is not reliable. In fact whenever I am travelling, I ensure that I carry along my drinking water in a gallon.”
She explained with that exception of the road which every other person was using, she was not enjoying anything from government, saying, “I don’t have a radio, TV, fan and or refrigerator in my house for me to bother myself with electricity and yet I am contented with my life style.”
Hajiya Mariya said: “I am contented with what Allah provides to me. He is my provider; He provides me with all my needs and I am thankful to Him. Whoever believes in Allah will never bother himself with living a high life style because Allah is the provider, He gives to those He wishes. Therefore if you are lucky to be among the rich then you thank Allah and if you are not you should also be thankful to Him and forge ahead with your life because He knows best why He chose to make you what you are.”
However, she told Weekend Extra that, “the only thing that is disturbing me now is lack of moral upbringing among the youth because I have noticed with dismay that the youth in our society today are no longer respectful. The future of any society depends on the youth and it is only when they respect their elders that the elders will serve as guide for them.
“The reason is obvious, if you respect elders they train you to grow up morally sound but if the trend continues, I pity our future.”