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A portrait of Ado Bayero: From the lens of the daughter

A portrait of Ado Bayero: From the lens of the daughter

Last updated on October 7th, 2023 at 07:55 pm

With the name, Zainab Jummai Ado Bayero, its obvious this young lady who loves movies, shopping, travelling and most of all, a ravenous reader of books, is the daughter of late Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero. 

As a loving daughter of the late Monarch who became the longest serving king in the history of Kano, Zainab was very close to her father during his time on earth. For that reason, she decided it was worth the while to put up a documentary film – her first project actually, in honour of the late Emir. “This is my first project as a filmmaker. My dad was very loving to me and I have fond memories of him. It’s my love for him as a daughter. I dedicate it to him as a labour of love,” she said.

Titled, “My Father, The Emir:  A Portrait of Ado Bayero”, the project is a documentary film that runs for two hours and ten minutes and according to Zainab, “is an insightful look into the childhood and experiences of a man as a prince to a king. It showcases the history of Nigeria through his reigns of half a century and his part and experiences in handling different moments.”

The documentary which is expected to hit the public space anytime soon, will be issued “in limited release in cinema and other mediums,” the producer says.

From pre-production – writing, researching, to the filming and post production – the project on the late Kano Emir took about six months to complete. And throwing more light as to what informed the project, Zainab said: “Well, I’m young and I never imagined I would be a filmmaker. It’s kind of something I just got into this past year. So, I decided to honour him and make a documentary about him.

“I was thinking of different ideas last year October. I had a project in mind, but while discussing my ideas with my mom, she gave me the idea that I should work on my father. I was a bit reluctant about the idea; I didn’t want to begin my career with my dad because people would say she’s getting fame from her father. But after much thoughts, I decided he’s a great subject and no one has made a story about him. And for any filmmaker, he’s a great subject.”

Most often, we find people chronicling in books the life and times of individuals, be it loved ones or patriots who have passed away, but Zainab opted for documentary for the late Monarch, because according to her, “documentaries are really in high demand, and I see a lot of documentaries being made about famous people and different subjects. 

“I guess people really want to watch and learn about people with fascinating lives. With a book, it might not have such popularity but with a documentary, you get to experience his life on a more personal and deeper level through pictures and videos, while a book uses just words. So, even though it cost more and it’s a more stressful and tasking experience, I figured it was worth it to get people to remember him.” 

Regarding the cost implication, Zainab said: “I guess being a first-time filmmaker, I never really thought of the cost. I just made the decision to get it done. It was very challenging and it was expensive, but I would never start and not get to the finish line. So, it took a lot from me financially and physically, but in the end when I watched the finished project, it was worth it.”


As it is with most creative ventures, Zainab encountered series of challenges, however, in the end, she is happy to have pulled through: “Yes, tons of challenges. As the scriptwriter, director and producer of the documentary, I had a lot on my shoulders. No one sponsored me; no financial help. Scouting for the locations such as Makama museum, I spoke to the curator myself and he gave me permission. 

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“Even to get a D.O.P and editor, was all me. The hardest part was also getting his archives, the old footages of him and his old pictures. Every part of the filmmaking process was really challenging but watching my first movie was an incredible feeling.”

With the success Zainab recorded on her first film, it will surprise anyone to hear that she didn’t attend any film making institution. Rather, her love and passion for the art and creativity generally, saw her through. “I didn’t go to filmmaking school but movie-making is a passion for me.” 

After breaking through the door to exploring her passion, the late Emir’s daughter is poised to keep the flame of her career shinning. And so, she intends to work on more movies.

“Like I said, it has always been a passion. I love movies, music and arts. So, I decided this would be great career choice for me,” she noted.

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