Habib Zakawanu Onoruoyiza

My name is Habib Zakawanu Onoruoyiza, from Kogi State, Nigeria. 

I am 26 years old and here is my story into the photography world. 

Photography, simple and sweet as it may look, requires a lot to arrive at that sweetness. 

The bedrock of all good photographs we see today starts from the mind, sight and creativeness.

Let me take you down memory lane of my journey to photography in Kogi central.

Before 2015 in Kogi central, what we now see as photography today was not what people viewed it as. 

I took it upon myself to change the narrative about photography. Photography is a profession, why treat it like a roadside job. 

I started the photography evolution with my friend Shehu, just as I finished my BSc, so I had all the time to explore it. 

To ignite a passion of photography in them, I started taking images that were not familiar to the ones my people had been seeing. 

I started with documentary photographs of people and places in the land, beautiful landscapes, and street photographs. 

These aroused the feelings about photography to my audience.

To increase more awareness and passion for it, I decided not to seclude myself just around the Kogi central axis, but to venture outside. 

I attended my first ever Abuja International Photo festival, where I met lots of creatives and received a lot of mentorships from well to do creatives around Nigeria.

Coming back home with tons of knowledge, I continued to instill a passion for photography to my audience in Kogi. 

Now the question is, am I being appreciated? No. Sad, right?

My colleagues from other parts of the country are all doing amazingly well and are really being appreciated. 

I remember when I had no money to buy a camera and I had to travel all the way to Kaduna to meet a photography enthusiast called Mr. Sani Suleiman to borrow his camera for use.

This is a Hausa man that I got in contact with through Twitter. He loved our work, and we became friends. While we have many well-to-do men in the Kogi central axis, Mr. Sani Suleiman is the one who supported us.

In the beginning of my photography journey, the good people of Kogi central created social awareness for me to be able to get tools for photography.

The awareness turned out to be sour to my career which almost killed my passion for photography. 

Then, I photographed the campaign for the present senator representing Kogi central although not on contract. I had issues with my camera, so I made a public plea for assistance. 

Natasha Akpoti, the top opposition to the Senator then, willingly helped but along the line, everything turned out to be political and I had to step down just to have peace of mind. 

This alone taught me a lesson not to engage any political affiliation to creativity unless it has been contracted and signed. 

This killed my spirit and enthusiasm towards photography, I went sick for days and stayed off the social radar for months. 

After a year of rehab, I had sprung back into photography. 

I saw crime and illegal activities, but I chose the better side by engaging in something that will be of pride to the land. So, I see no reason I should drop the zeal to do more because of some people or a group of people. 

Today we have lots of photographers in Kogi central doing amazing things, but we also have hundreds of wannabees in the region. 

The most amazing part of it all is that the photographers we have are all literates and well-articulated to compete with the outside.

I am a happy man because I managed to change the narrative around photography.

The transition and evolution was a success.

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