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Resilience is the quality that gets you far – Nyma Akashat Zibiri

Speaking on Nikkyosblog interview session today is a devoted Muslim and a hijab right advocate. Nyma Akashat Zibiri is a lawyer and also a co-host of popular breakfast show – “Your View” aired on TV Continental. She speaks about her upbringing, her life as a lawyer, an OAP and as a hijab right advocate.

1. What was it like growing up as a young Muslim girl?

It was really exceptional because I learned a lot from the lives my parents led and taught. We had no groups but we had a strong Muslim community. I always lived in multi religious and multi-cultural environment and had a tolerant exposure to others early. Some of my best friends aren’t Muslims and we go way back.

2. As a Muslim, a lawyer and an advocate for the right of Muslim women/girls to wear hijab to work/schools, what has your experience been like in this campaign? Has it been all smooth?

My experience as a hijab advocate has not been easy but not one that I will give up. I have suffered discrimination for wearing hijab back in the days and will do everything possible to change the narrative. 

3. Why did you choose the Law profession?

Law and I were made for each other. I had always appreciated being just and balanced in my views that everyone around me advised I study law hoping I will end up a judge.

4. As a female speaker at the faculty of law and female leader of Muslim students while in university, how did you manage all these with your academic pursuit especially as a law student?

I really tried to avoid any distractions from academics. I desperately wanted to achieve excellence in my results but leadership just kept chasing me. I never aspired for either religious or political positions but nominations kept coming from my mates and I wasn’t left any options. In fact I remember how, I will pray for them to get alternative candidates but to no avail. I struggled but found help in supportive parliament members and executive members. 

5. What woman inspires you and why?

Khadijah, the wife of the Holy Prophet (SAW). Her life has always been an inspiration to me. She was a perfect wife, mother, career woman and everything in between. She was a woman of value and even after death was honoured by her husband.

6. As a qualified lawyer, what led you into broadcasting and then joining “Your View”? 

I joined about 8 months into the show so I just wanted a different tone of a Muslim representation on the show.

7. Being an On Air Personality (OAP) and a Lawyer; is there one you prefer over the other?

Both are professions I have conveniently balanced now. Wouldn’t trade one for the other. 

8. What can you say about being a co-host on “Your View”?

It’s been an experience I tell you. The exposure comes with influence and I value that part 🤭. I have continue to grow on the job especially as it requires a knowledge of many things.

9. What’s one core message you received from your mentors?

I am a woman, the result of many other’s sacrifices. My two elder sisters and two younger ones are inspiration to me. My mentors have taught me to be discerning, practical, patient but also assertive and confident. I am however, still growing and getting more mentors. I even have admitted publicly to be learning from my mentees. 

10. How have you been able to balance work, being a wife, a mother and other responsibilities?

I wish there was a way to balance but there isn’t. I am one that normally ask for help, wherever I can and whenever. I have a strong support system and I am grateful to Allah (SWT) for that. Also, I work with a strict schedule and hardly work outside what I have planned weekly. This ensures that I prioritise my family.

11. What’s a typical day like for you?

My typical day starts at 3 am with my early morning prayers and reciting from the holy Quran. Then, I prepare my children for school and leave home at 6 am for the one and a half hours drive to Magodo TVC studios. I start preparing for the show as soon as I arrive by having my makeup done and reading the dailies. I then move to the studio at 8.45 am and do the show from 9 am to 10.30 am. From there, I move to the lounge for post-production meeting. Immediately after I drive off to resume at cynosure partners, a law firm I co-founded. All meetings with a few exceptions end at 2pm and I drive home immediately to receive my children or meet them at their minders. I prepare at least one dish for the family and when I’m tired, my husband steps in with take-outs (he hates to cook).

12. How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

I start reciting the Quran in Arabic and reflecting on the meaning of the verses with daily affirmation through prayers and gratitude so I motivate myself for a new day. I reflect on each day and its activities, expressing gratitude and seeking forgiveness at the end of each day. 

13. Is there any story or experience you want to briefly share with us?

When I newly joined the show, I usually take public transportation to the studio. Then, I would cross over to second rainbow along the Apapa-Oworonshoki express way in order to cut off the mile two traffic. On one of such days, I got hit by a reckless motorcycle riding against traffic. I fell and lost consciousness and woke up to an elderly woman shouting auntie. The woman and her son helped me up. I later got in the bus, made it to the studio and finished the show before going to the hospital. 

14. Kindly give a word of advice for the young girls, women and our entire readers.

I will advise young girls to add value to themselves. They must come out with achievements or potentials anywhere they go. They must never sacrifice their dreams for anything or anyone. Resilience is the quality that gets you far. Never give up!

Nikkyosblog specially appreciates Nyma Akashat Zibiri for her time and for sharing a lot with us in this session.
You can follow her on Instagram @akashatnymat

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