Truly, we can all be heroes as Martin Luther King said but it is all dependent on the decision we make in life. A Nigerian political activist and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girl (BBOG) campaign, Aisha Yesufu who spoke up for the abducted 276 Chibok schoolgirls in 2014 made decisions that brought her to the limelight against all odds.
Growing up for Yesufu was synonymous to the tale of a black sheep as she saw things in a different perspective to others. She was determined to go to school despite her poor family background and how difficult it was for a female living in Northern Nigeria to get western education.
Her life took a turning point when she made some decisions different from other girls in the ghetto area she was brought up in Kano state. Girls living around her during her teenage years were all obliged to get married very early and end education after secondary school level, but she decided to go beyond that.
Yesufu furthered her education to tertiary institution beyond the norms of her culture, and that was when the activism spirit kicked in fully. She was nicknamed, “big mouth” because she was always up against injustice and due to her bluntness.
Her first protest happened at about age 18 when she got into Uthman Dan Fodio University in 1992 – the protest led to the school’s lockdown for about a year.
Due to the lockdown, Yesufu left Uthman Dan Fodio University to enrol as a medical student at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, as part of her determination to study beyond secondary school. She continued her activism in ABU, where she and some other students held about three protests during her time – so regardless the environment, Yesufu never shied away from speaking truth to power.
While schooling, she tied the knot with Aliu Yesufu at age 24, but marriage did not burn down her activism spirit, as she continued even after graduating. Yesufu became a nationwide figure when she joined the Bring Back Our Girls’ protesters, drawing global attention to the plight of the kidnapped Chibok girls when the Nigerian government was paying lip service to the Chibok girls’ safe return.
Her most recent activism was that of the EndSARS protest when she joined Nigerian youths to protest against Police brutality within the country. She has become a symbol of hope to the youth in Nigeria after she stood still with her fist up in front of police officers shooting at protesters during the EndSARS protest in Abuja.
Despite the crackdown on the EndSARS protesters, she has remained vocal against police brutality and other ills in African society on every platform she features on.