Hajia Maryam Abubakar, New Beginning

1Hajia Maryam Abubakar is from Auchi in Edo state, a mother of four; two boys and two girls. She worked with Eco Bank, South South region.

She attended Apepe Primary school in Auchi, Edo state form where she proceeded to Abraka Grammar School in Delta state. She later came back to Edo state to finish up her secondary school education in 1986.

Soon after then, at the age of sixteen she got married in 1987 after her secondary school education. She had her kids and proceeded to the University of Uyo where she had her first degree in Sociology and Anthropology and graduated with a second class upper.

Afterwards she went for her Masters degree in ESUTH, Enugu where she had a Masters degree in Business Administration in 2009.

She started her banking career during her service year in All States Trust Bank, after the NYSC programme she was retained as a permanent staff. After some years, she moved to Zenith Bank and from Zenith Bank to Oceanic Bank now Eco Bank.

She enjoys what she does so much and derives great pleasure from delivering the best customer service which puts smiles on the faces of her customers, I’m sure banking is all she enjoys doing as she is seen not to have any other business at hand. She has been described by colleagues as someone who has great love and passion for the banking profession, “when Clients come with issues and go away smiling, that gives her great satisfaction” says one of co-workers.

She has been quoted to saying” Though I am a marketer, but customer service is an integral part of banking whichever the department, your diligence to customers is what keeps a bank afloat irrespective of your position, whether you are a regional manager, branch head or zonal head, you must be a good customer service provider”.

She considers her greatest achievement in life to be her family, her kids, this is evident in how she manages to create special time for them despite her daily tight schedule and that I must say has paid off for her as her first daughter graduated from Igbinedion University and now happily married, her son graduated from Birmingham University and her last child just gained admission to Coventry University in England.

A few months after she joined Zenith Bank in 2006, she was awarded “the best new breed staff of the year” based on her superlative performance. In 2007, she got another award from Zenith Bank as well called “the highest deposit mobilization staff” for South South region. And In 2008, she was also awarded “the best income staff of the year” South South region also from Zenith Bank.

After a while she moved to Oceanic Bank now Eco bank in 2008 and since then it’s been success all the way for her. She was nominated for the ELOY awards in 2012, a huge surprise to her, I guess that’s due to the fact that she lives a very quiet and not so sociable life. She didn’t consider herself as someone who is that popular, hence her shock at being nominated

One of the things one would notice about this wonderful woman is her fashion style which is very unique, modest and captivating. She keeps it simple but elegant; to top it all she’s not the type that is into expensive clothing.  Her style is simple, classy yet comfortable and very easy to emulate. Above all, everyone around her knows she is a woman that eats healthily and takes a lot of rest considering her busy schedule. A good life style I will say is her secret weapon.

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Hajia Maryam in 10 minutes

When and why did you leave Eco Bank?

I left in May 2013, to start my own business and concentrate on it. I ventured into oil and gas, more downstream oil and gas. It’s a new domain for me but very exciting and interesting.

Did you know about the oil and gas business?

Well, It is something I always wanted to do outside banking, as I think it’s very interesting . they are two different kinds of businesses though (banking and oil & gas).

How are you finding the business environment since you started?

Doing business in Nigeria is different and difficult. We have HR issues, although it’s not too bad, but okay. Didn’t expect it to be an easy ride. Then again, I am dedicated & focused.

Did you have to do any training?

A bit of training was done in the States, just after I left the bank.  I took a course in basic processes in the downstream (finished products) of the oil and gas sector

Plans 2014.

Laughs, to expand my business by collaborating with like minds to grow the business. I am not interested in being an island, would like to bring in big players who understand what they do

Relationships?

(Laughs hard). I have male friends, very good male friends. Nothing serious yet.

Is marriage still on the cards for you?

Yes why not, my first marriage was at a very young age. I had a great time in my past marriage with a lot of learning experiences. Yes I would like to get married again if the opportunity presents itself.

Tell us about your style

I wear anything that suites me

Favourite fashion item

I love everything. Anything good I like. I like them all and I wear them all. Although, I love perfumes and bags.

Favourite designer

Calvin Klein. I love almost everything CK and of course Gucci.

Best holiday destination

Miami – That place keeps me relaxed. No calls n nothing, just me.

About Motherhood

It is been quite easy for me. Purely because I got married at an early age and I had my three kids quite early. I then went back to school (University) when my last son was primary five. I took my time and spent time a lot of time with them, I was lucky to be part of everything they did and had grown to a certain age before I went back to school, so I didn’t have to joggle being a mum and a student and working. I had my kids took great care of them and went back to school. I grew up with my children as well in a way. My mum was around and helped me a lot. I’m happy seeing my kids all grown. Sometimes people mistake me for their older sister.

Marriage, get in to it early or not?

 It depends.  I think it was too early for me at about 16 years old. I didn’t get to understand and know who I am or who my husband is. I grew up in a marriage and don’t know if that’s such a good idea. Although, on the plus side I had my kids early and was then able to concentrate on my career but its two ways and it depends on the individual and parents. I would say though that one needs to know herself before venturing into that side of life.

Beauty secret

I love Clarrins products, cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise, that’s my routine. I do a lot of exercises as well, I play squash, go swimming, aerobics and dance to help burn the fat.

About dad

My dad passing on is the most difficult thing ever and this is the most difficult period in my life. I was very close to my dad, best of friends. He was ill but I didn’t think it was going lead to him leaving us. I learned a lot from my dad and mum. My mum knows I loved my dad. I miss him so much. My parents are teachers so they instilled a lot of knowledge into us. My dad taught me everything I know as a young woman I learned from my dad. When I started my period, my dad knew before my mum. (a bit teary eyed). Even in marriage he guided me. He was everything to me.

We look forward to more form Hajia in 2014.

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