For twenty eight years, Sani Mohammed Maikatanga, has carved a niche as a photographer of repute. Maikatanga has become a household name in photography, especially in northern Nigeria. As a photo journalist working with Daily Trust, Maikatanga has empowered many youth in the profession in Kano state and beyond.
In this interview with PLATINUM POST, Maikatanga gives insight on how he started the journey to stardom.
PP- Tell us about your biography.
I am Sani Mohammed Maikatanga. I was born at Giginyu area of Nassarawa Local Government, Kano State, on August 15, 1975. My father, Muhammadu Maikatanga is from Kazaure Local Government, Jigawa State and my mother, Hajiya Hauwa Dodon-Aku is from Gumel Local Government of Jigawa State.
PP- What is your education qualification?
I started my education career from Giginyu Special Primary School in 1982 and finished in1989. I then proceeded to Government Secondary School, Tarauni in 1989 to 199. Then to Government Technical College Kano, from 1992 to 1994. I then moved to Federal College of Education Technical, Bichi where I read -Electrical Electronics from 1995 to 1999. That is where my education career stopped.
PP- When did your photography career started?
I joined photography in 1992, where I began working with Salisu Baso and Tijjani of NTA studio in Kawo area of Nassarawa Local Government. After some years, I left them to join Babson Studio. In 1999, i joined Galaxy Photo Studio at Giginyu area where I worked with the company for a while.
PP- Why Photography is your passion?
I seriously love photography and it has become my passion when I realized that i have talent in the profession. God also helped me to fulfill my dream as I worked with several organizations as a professional photographer.
Photography has also become my passion when i start realizing that i don’t know much in anything theory but practical.
I started my career with manual camera which is Yashika brand. In that time, you had to be very careful on the settings to make your pictures sharp and clear.
But, now the camera is digital. You can even view the preview of your shots. I started using digital camera in 2000.
I also developed more enthusiasm for photography when i was employed by FIM MAGAZINE, owned by Ibrahim Sheme. I joined the company through Ashafa Murnai Barkiya who was the editor of the magazine at that time. I started working with them as photographer and then they trained me on how to do write a report in Hausa for the magazine.
I covered activities of Hausa film industry. Afterwards, I started working with Leadership newspapers as photojournalist in Kano when Ibrahim Sheme was their editor from 2005.
I left FIM MAGAZINE and Leadership newspapers in 2009 and joined Daily Trust newspapers when they opened their Kano regional office. And i am working with them up to now as freelance photojournalist.
So, with this short story, I do not need to say about my passion for photography.
PP- For how long have you been into the profession?
Since 1992, which is almost 28 years now.
PP- Have you established a company for photography?
Yes I have opened my company, named, Sani Maikatanga Photography. It is a registered company, but yet to open my office or studio. I am looking forward to launching it soon by God’s grace.
PP- To what extent do you use photography towards empowering Kano youth?
I train some of the youth, both male and female in Kano that show interest towards the profession. I also advise and encourage them to focus on what
they are doing. We have even formed an association of professionals photographers around the north for us to help ourselves. It is called Northern Photographers Associations of Nigeria, NPAN. Me and some of our Arewa colleagues like Abdulsalam Madugu Photography, Lawal Muhammadu, Balancy Photography, Fa’iza Giwar Mata Photography, Yahya MK Ahmed, sir. MK
photography, Ahemd Zol Photography, Dipphotos, among others decided to form the association in a bid to strengthen our profession.
PP- Have you ever got any support from government or private organizations.
Not yet. Only that i and my colleagues applied for a loan in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. As i am talking to you,the loan has not been
PP- Tell us about successes and awards that you have ever won in your career so far?
I am grateful to Almighty in this photography profession as i might be among the top ten in northern Nigeria. Also, in journalism, profession, i am proud to be number one in Northern Nigeria.
And I received a lot of certificates, letters of appreciation and awards.
Ome of them is the second prize winner of the photo contest award, China – Nigeria friendly in pictures contest, organised by the embassy of the People’s Republic of China and Federal Republic of Nigeria to mark the 70th anniversary of founding of republic of China, 2019.
I also received Certificate of Participation at The Now Collective photography conference in lagos, 2019.
I have Won several awards as best photographer of the month in Daily Trust newspapers company and received certificate and cash.
Best Arewa Photojournalist by Sautin Arewa entertainment, 2018.
I received certificate of attendance on 3 days project course basic level on Alternative to vViolace Course with the assistance of Nigerian Red cross supported by International committee of Red cross (ICRC). 2002.
Other awards include the following; Practical First Aid Certificate, organized by Nigerian Red Cross Society. 2002
Certificate of participation on Youth Leadership Training on First Aid, disaster management and response, anti drug abuse, community development, drill exercise, HIV/AIDS, road safety, citizenship and leadership training, Organized by Nigerian Red cross Society Kano, 2006.
Best photographer by Arewa in Ghana group, 2018.
Best supporting photographer by Gamji Pearls Kaduna, 2017.
Best brand photographer of the year by Kaduna fashion and award, 2017.
Best Enterpreneur for outstanding achievement in photography industry by KDC Award 2016.
-Award of Merit on contributions toward empowering Youths by Northern Trendz awards 2019.
Merit award by Iyan Tama Multimedia Nig. LTD. Kano for tremendous contribution and support to the growth and development of Hausa movie
Certificate of merit award by Youth observers forum on democracy and the press, 2009. As Photojournalist with Daily Trust newspapers.
Award excellence by Yahoo Group ([email protected]). Toward
the contribution on film industry for over 10 years of FIM Magazine famous Hausa mujallar, 2007.
Certificate of merit by Arewa Guild of Film and theater artistes, toward uplifting the entertainment industry as FIM Magazine reporter, 2005.
Certificate of participation by Hausa writers Association of Nigeria on Writers and the internet, 2004.
Letter of appreciation by MEDICINS SANS FRONTIERES (Doctors without borders), on helpful active and motivated for the duration of MSF Holland cholera program in Kano, 2000. As one of Nigeria Red Cross Member Kano Branch.
Inspirational and Creativity Award by Rescue the women Foundation (REWOFO)
on 11th of January 2020.
PP- In every human endeavor there is challenge, we would like to know some of the challenges you have encountered on you journey so far?
Must of the challenges i have faced are in photojournalism. I struggle to get pictures of high profile people at an assignment if there is heavy presence of security personnel. We really need government and private organizations to support us because we bought our equipment with money and people are under estimating photography equipment they thought professional equipment are that cheap.
PP- what is your biggest dream in photography profession?
My biggest dream is to build Photography School and biggest Studio in the God willing. With the establishment of the school, i would be able to fulfill my dream of producing photographers from northern Nigeria, especially my dear state. Also, i would fulfill my dream of leaving a legacy that would benefit humanity forever.