She seems to live a life that appears “strange” to an average digital native. She neither likes photographs nor does she record a video of herself. She attributed that to her religious beliefs. However, she uses the internet to write fictional stories that promote Islamic values. She commands a huge following online using her blog to write stories that examines concepts and values that her religion preaches. Meet Kafayat Jayeoba who studied Electrical/Electronics Engineering but write stories that showcase Islamic principles and ethics.
When asked to introduce herself, she said “My name is Kafayat Jayeoba with the penname Ummu Abdillah, married to Sulaiman Dasuki. I studied Electrical/Electronics engineering, majored in Electronics and Telecommunication engineering in Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin but my vocations now are writing and teaching.”
For me as a journalist, I became inquisitive wanting to know how an Electrical/Electronics Engineer turned a writer. Kafayat went down the memory lane tracing how she found herself writing despite being in the technology space. She related “thinking about that recently I think right from my basic education, I have loved art, I have loved stories. I’m a person that stammers so I find it difficult to express myself in words. It’s sometimes difficult and most times when I do, I’m not always satisfied whenever I look back at whatever I’ve said. Then, we used to illustrate stories in pictures, depicting actors and characters.
Doing that, it was always fun to narrate an action movie I had watched and imagined and my classmates did flock around me to listen to my narrations and they did love my drawings too. It was always explicit. That was in primary 1, 2 and maybe 3. When I got to Jss3 class too, there was a trend among girls in my class and that was writing an interesting short story. I also wrote two, very interesting ones that almost all my friends borrowed and read them till it got lost. So I can call all those experiences a flinch of passion. I was always aspiring to go into science, to even become a medical doctor.
But as Allah has destined it, I attended the polytechnic to study engineering.” She then added “during my courses in the higher institution, I picked up my pen to write again but on social media. I should say, that’s where I first discovered that my voice could reach a large audience through my pen. Then, I founded an online forum in a group I created on Facebook. I called it Marital Forum. There, I started delving into issues relating to marriage and I compiled articles which attracted many readers. It was during this article compilation that I thought of writing a novel, which gave birth to my first novel on polygamy. It is titled How Will I Cope?
Further interaction with the young writer shows that she does most of her writing through the Android phone. When prompted to speak further on this and how technology has helped her, she posited “I write on my smartphone. I even find it easier than using a computer. It has helped me a lot. The internet made me realize that I also possess the power to wield a pen just like a warrior wielding his sword. My first readers are my friend on social media. Also, that’s where I got the motivation to make my first story into a book. It has been an avenue where people can find my stories and link up to me directly too. For instance, my blogging journey led me to my second story titled Escape From The Bottomless Pit. It was a series I was sharing online before I decided to compile into a book. I also have a global following through the internet. That is why I’m still learning to use it effectively. Recently, I learnt how I could make banner advertisements, sell my story in soft copy and many more. So, writing on my phone and using the internet has been very helpful and I’m sure it’s going to help a lot in the future.”
Having a conversation of this nature with the budding talent is a reflection that Nigerian youths have the potential to excel if the will is there.