Author: Haruna Kakangi, May 19 2016 - On a Thursday morning in the ancient town of Bauchi in north-east Nigeria, I’m sitting with a group of 10 men and seven women by the side of a road in a quiet neighbourhood. The sun is bright and hot, but we’re sitting on mats in the cool shade of a tree, and it seems like the perfect place to discuss a radio programme close to all of our hearts.
I’m a presenter and assistant producer on the Hausa-language radio magazine show Ya Take Ne Arewa (What’s Up in the North). YTNA, as we call it for short, covers a range of mother-and-child health topics: medical care for mothers during pregnancy, diarrhoea and malaria prevention, and other simple measures that can prevent unnecessary deaths and help people live healthier lives. It airs on radio stations across northern Nigeria, where rates of maternal and child mortality are high.
The people I’m with today in Bauchi are members of a listening group devoted to YTNA, organised by a man our team calls ‘the superfan’: Umar Faruk, aka ‘Gambo’.
“I never miss the programme,” he says with pride. “That’s the reason I carry my radio with me everywhere I go.”
Gambo, 35, is married with two children. His wife Shafa’atu is a regular listener too.