The inaugural edition of Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu Schools Festival (HIASFEST) was undeniably a positive spectacle for the moment. This is because it came as an antidote to the almost creative dearth and death already inhabiting the minds of secondary school students in Niger State.The “Annual Schools Carnival of Arts and Festival of Songs (ASCAFS) was, before now,the most significant event which brought students from the nooks and crannies of Niger State but it’s unfortunate demise broke the hype of creativity and competitiveness within the students of Secondary Schools in Niger State. HIASFEST,chiefly sponsored by Alhaji Bala Abdullahi Kwatu, is in honour of Late Hajiya Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu,the wife of Alhaji Ibrahim Aliyu,the Sardaunan Minna and MD, Urban Shelter Limited. The festival is administered by the Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation(HCAF).


The day one began with registration of schools and the opening ceremony. A total of seventeen schools were registered and participated in the inaugural edition. They are:

  1. Diamond Global Academy, Minna.
  2. Father O’connel Science College, Minna.
  3. Government Girls Secondary School (Old Airport), Minna.
  4. Day Secondary School (Limawa), Minna.
  5. Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu), Niger State.
  6. Zarumai Model School, Minna.
  7. Government Day Science College, Tunga, Minna.
  8. Hill-Top Model School, Minna.
  9. Army Day Secondary School, Minna.
  10. Army Day Secondary School, Bida, Niger State.
  11. Himma International College, Minna.
  12. Maryam Babangida Girls Science College, Minna.
  13. Government Girls Secondary School, Kafin-koro, Niger State.
  14. Capital School, Minna.
  15. Nasfah Academy, Minna.
  16. Bosso Secondary School, Minna.
  17. Government Science and Technical College, Kuta, Niger State.

 Although seventeen schools registered, not all the schools entered for all the events. A good number of them only entered for four to five events. As soon as the registration was concluded, the opening ceremony took a swift start after the opening prayer.      

 Mallam B.M Dzukogi, Founder , Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation,in his welcome address, unravelled the series of events that triggered HIASFEST, ascribing it to his Facebook post where he stated that instead of politicians designing colourful T-shirts, it could have been more beneficial to the society if they print “Do Not Steal”, Do Not Take Hard Drugs”, “Road to our village is not tarred”, “Our Classrooms have no chairs”, Exam Malpractice is bad”, “Almajiri system is a nuisance” etc. Benevolently, the sponsor reached out to the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation with the desire of how he can partner in order to make positive contribution to the society and HIASFEST is the offshoot. While he appealed for more support to make the festival a National event for all Secondary Schools in Nigeria, he also pleaded with individuals to support the Art centre so that a Writers’ Residency can be built and publications of over thirty manuscripts of teen authors lying fallow at the Art Centre. In his closing, he appreciated the sponsor, the Late Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu family who agreed that the event be named in her honour and everyone present. He wished the contestants a fruitful and rewarding contest.

The Chairman of the event, Professor Mohammed Kuta Yahaya in his remark, mentioned the hospitality of Hajiya Hadiza in whose honour is HIASFEST. He described her major attraction as friendliness. He also mentioned how he had skipped his inaugural lecture preparations in order to attend the event. He described the event as one an individual must identify with. He concluded that “Whatever you do, you shall reap” adding that as Dzukogi is positively touching the life of other people’s children, God in his infinite mercy is touching his.

 Similarly, the initiator and sponsor, Alhaji Bala Abdullahi Kwatu in his speech posited that the social media today is full of rubbish but one can always create some good from its heap of rubbish. He mentioned that the HIASFEST platform has come to stay. This was received with an elated applause by all. Likewise, He will like to see how he can support the publications of those over thirty manuscripts, the creation of a website for the centre, the institution of a National Prize and partnership of the Art Centre with other International Foundations of like-pursuit. He also expressed his sincere hope that someday, B.M Dzukogi and Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation will be standing before the United Nations Assembly to speak.

Furthermore, He stated that:”A good child is known by the attitude he or she displays to his father’s friend”. He Quoted Napoleon Bonaparte who said “Give me a platform, I shall shine”. He revealed that twenty seventy (27) years ago, the family of Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu (Sardauna Minna) provided him a scholarship which covered his SSCE, B.sc and M.sc, adding that it is one thing to be sponsored and another to be employed. The family gave him both. From an ordinary platform, he is now standing on a diamond platform. He also eulogized Hajiya Hadiza for being the brain behind his M.sc quoting her words verbatim:” Bala go and pursue your Masters, you must do it, put everything behind you and consider this first”.

He concluded that HIASFEST is an opportunity created for students to shine; it is strictly to create bread winning champions for the state, Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. He advised that while the students are creating a future, they should be original. He implored all the students to see themselves as winners, wishing them the best outing.

After his speech, a keynote address was delivered by the representative of the Rector, Federal Polytechnic Bida, Alhaji Idris Yabagi, The Heads of Department Languages in the institution. In discussing the Concept of Creative and National Development,he commended the tireless of the Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation towards giving the young people directive, confidence and a chance to showcase their talents.

He went further to explain the concept of creativity as it relates to National Development quoting Robert Franken. “Creativity is the tendency to generate or reorganize ideas, alternatives or possibilities that may be useful in solving a problem”. He added that creativity is not only about thinking but also about creating things of value in real life. This is in consonance with Sharp (2004) who asserted that the creative process includes imagination, originality, productivity, problem solving and the ability to produce an outcome of value. He posited that creativity, when properly utilized can bring about significant National developmental strides in Nigeria. He acknowledged the Hilltop Creative Foundation’s effort to the growth of Art in Nigeria and wished them the very best.

There were also goodwill messages from guests at the event. Mallam Muktar Aliyu in his goodwill message stated that any event that celebrates the human mind and intellect is very important. He mentioned that his mum placed a major premium on education; she championed knowledge, spoke multiple languages and was always improving her skills. In his view, he hoped that by putting events like HIASFEST together, individuals will be inspired to follow this path adding that if we desire a better society in the future, education must be promoted; creativity and ingenuity must be honoured. He concluded that we all must live to this historical standard. He prayed that our schools will someday be well funded and our communities will be places of peaceful abode. He encouraged all to seek knowledge rightly wherever knowledge can be found.

The representative of the Emir of Minna,Mallam Iliya also gave his goodwill message eulogizing Hajiya Hadiza. He quoted the late Emir Ahmadu Bahago who said “If you have done well and you are not rewarded, it only means you have not done well enough”. He prayed for the repose of her soul and wished all well.

Hajiya Fatima Madugu,the former Commissioner of Education in Niger State and a colleague of Hajiya Hadiza while in Primary School also gave her goodwill message. Finally, Awwalu Sakiwa, The Director of the Art Centre said the vote of thanks.

At the close of the event, various contests were held in Contemporary Song, Painting, On-the-spot Poetry and Short Story writing. A total of eleven (11) Schools participated for Contemporary Song category, nine (9) participated for Painting, fifteen (15) for Short Story Writing and thirteen (13) for Poetry Writing.

For the contemporary song, the focus of their songs was on “the child”. Each participating school presented varieties of songs which relates to the plight of the child. The on-the-spot writing in poetry was focused on the “environment”. Their poems were expected to encapsulate issues and aspects of the environment while those writing short story focused on “leadership”. The painters were allowed to express the artistic astuteness as regards to “life within the environment”.

On the second day, the Quiz and Spoken Word categories were held at the Niger State Book Development Agency. Fifteen schools with two students each participated for the quiz category while thirteen (13) schools participated for the Spoken Word category. The quiz was keenly contested with two students representing a school. They were made to answer questions on General Knowledge, Inventions, Sports and Sciences. The segment was organized in such a way that the contestant could follow each proceeding with an assurance of fairness. There was a knockout stage. The event continued until there were clear winners with the highest points for three schools.

Contestants in the Spoken Word category also submitted a script or a Compact Disc (CD) of their Spoken Word performance before launching on the stage. They were given a scheduled timing for performance and they thrilled the audience with soothing enigmatic poetic lines even calling to the admiration of Mallam Muktar Aliyu and his brother who could not hide their thoughts when called upon to speak on what they saw on the stage by students of Secondary Schools.

The third day, which was the closing ceremony, witnessed the Cultural dance and Craft categories. Fourteen (14) schools participated in Cultural dance while Four (4) schools participated in the Craft category.

The cultural dance also provided a thriller as some participating schools added the flavour of drama to their dance after all the world is for those with the extraordinary. The creativity which followed their dance brought these exceptional schools cheers from the audience. The judges too could not contain their fear when a mortar was kept on a student’s chest and a girl was pounding melon with a pestle on it or when a girl drew an arrow toward the judges and to each part of the stage as they dance. These were hidden spectacles from the event which gave this inaugural edition its unique savour.

There was also a display of sky photography by Architect Nathan Galadima outside the venue of the event.  Likewise, a girl from Everygreen International Academy performed a Spoken Word rendition.

The closing ceremony began by 2:00pm. Guests at the event include Prof. Muhammad Bashar Nuhu Tachi (Shettiman Minna), Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu (Sardaunan Minna), Hajiya Asabe Aliyu, Engineer Yahaya. D. Daudu, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, Members of Association of Nigerian Authors, Trustees of The Blue Revolution Initiative (TBRi) and other well-wishers.

In his opening remarks, Mallam BM Dzukogi emphasized the need for mentoring, explaining that the Art Centre’s goal is to help young people become professionals. He asserted that the event is a continuation of the literary heritage connected to Nigerias’ mentors;Mamman Vatsa and Abubakar Gimba. He added that the essence of the event is to help the child grow through helping the child to attain excellence and creativity in the Art.

He posited that it is not official engagement that grows the society rather it is the sense of volunteerism by its citizenry adding that if the society is growing, it is because some people have voluntarily chosen to stand for good, if not the society will remain backward. His speech and that of others were full of emotions.

 The Chairman of the Occasion Prof. Bashar Nuhu celebrated Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, appreciating his humanitarianism. He considers him as his mentor. He also paid tribute to the exceptional attributes of Hajiya Hadiza. After his speech, there were Song, Spoken Word and Cultural Dance performances. Painter’s Parade and Craft Display followed.

 Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, the husband of the deceased who was being celebrated, in his speech, expressed his gladness about the excitement it has created among the students. He tied his life success to his grandmother, Hajiya Asabe his first wife and Hajiya Hadiza. He affirmed that “Hadiza in 1981 said she will not work; she wants to be a housewife one hundred percent and look after her children one hundred percent” and of course he had to respect her choice but he does not mean young women should not work. He added that all good societies are made up good families and she produced an exceptional family.

After his speech, the results for different categories were announced. They are listed below:


Third position- Himma International College, Minna.

Second position- Zarumai Model School, Minna.

First position- Government Day Science College, Tunga, Minna.


Third position- Sheriff Aliyu of Government Army Day Secondary School, Minna.

Second position- Ikechukwu Livinus of Federal Science and Technical College, Kuta.

First position- Ruth Abu of Maryam Babangida Girls Science College, Minna.

Cultural Dance

Third position- Government Girls Secondary School, Kafin Koro.

Second position- Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu) Niger State.

First position- Zarumai Model School, Minna


Third position- Keturah Gana of Federal Science and Technical College, Kuta

Second position- Godfery Mathias of Army Day Secondary School, Minna

First position- Shalom Elkana of Himma International College, Minna


Third position- Government Girls Secondary School (Old airport), Minna

Second position- Doreen Samuel of Hilltop Model School, Minna

First position- Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu)

Contemporary Song

Third position- Bosso Secondary School, Minna

Second position- Hilltop Model School, Minna

First position- Niger State Teacher Professional Development Centre (Dan daudu)

Short Story Writing

Third position-Aisha Alajiki of Bosso Secondary School, Minna

Second position- Aisha Ibrahim of Zarumai Model School, Minna.

First position- Jemima Gana of Himma International College, Minna.

Poetry Writing

Third position- Zafira Ahmed of Diamond Global Academy, Minna.

Second position- Mercy Oguche of Government Girls Secondary School (Old Airport) Minna.

First position- Salamatu Abdullahi of Himma International College, Minna.

Most Valuable Contestant (Female)

Jemima Gana of Himma International School

Overall, Third Best School -Army Day Secondary School, Minna (98 points)

Overall, Second Best School-Government Girls Secondary School (Old Airport), Minna (103 points)

Overall, First Position– (Himma International College, Minna (108 points)

Tuition Scholarship- Khadija Saed Jagaba won herself a tuition fee scholarship of one hundred thousand naira (N100, 000).

There was no winner for the Most Valuable Contestant “Male” as the medal table was totally dominated by girls. Likewise, no one applied for the scholarship for the engineering category. The vote of thanks was said by Mallam Isyaku Bala, a trustee of the Foundation.

 In conclusion, one can deduce that it was a worthwhile experience, the euphoria will continue to trigger creativity and competitiveness once more among Secondary School students in Niger State and perhaps Nigeria since it is expected that it will become a national event from 2020. The organizers will have to increase the soles under their feet to match up the upcoming ones. The contest will be keener and less predictable. The winners celebrated and the other contestants will prepare well next time.