(138): Kannywood and its Unending Scandals (III)

Muhsin Ibrahim


The maxim that says “actors and scandals are cousins” cannot be more accurate if one looks at the northern Nigerian-based Hausa film industry, Kannywood. This is the third of the series I started a couple of years ago. I have, of course, skipped writing about several other scandals for one reason or another. However, the ongoing ones are too prominent to escape my radar. Therefore, I will write about only two.

The first one is a bolt from the blue. The conflict between the multitalented Kannywood actor Adam A. Zango and the up-and-coming actress, Ummi Rahab shocks followers of the film industry. Ms Rahab was Zango’s mentee about a decade ago. She was a child actor when Zango and Jamila Nagudu featured as her parents in a movie titled Ummi. The girl disappeared soon after the film. Why that happened remains a subject of debate, and it’s not the concern here.

 A decade later, Ummi Rahab, now a gorgeous young lady, resurfaced in 2021. Her former mentor, Zango, cast her in his YouTube series, Farin Wata. Although she still acts as a younger version of the leading actress, she’s a woman now. Hence, Zango and Ummi dance – as a boyfriend and a girlfriend – in a popular video song, which is not in the main series.


Suddenly, the much-admired camaraderie between Zango and Ummi went south. For weeks, social media and YouTube have been inundated with accusations and counter-accusations regarding the root cause of the rift. First, Zango told the world that she didn’t listen to his counsel and was becoming loose, while she threatened to expose him if he went on defaming her. Then, her relative released a video claiming that she rejected Zango’s marriage proposal. Thus, as vengeance, he went out to assassinate her character. The drama continues.

The second scandal involves one social media celeb, Sadiya Haruna. She is arguably a Kannywood member, even though more famous for selling aphrodisiacs (i.e. kayan mata) and other sex-related stuff online. Quite ironically, she also acts in video songs in praise of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). As a result, the Kano State Hisbah – the moral police – arrested her over the weekend. Eventually, a court ruled that she would be attending an Islamic school for six months under Hisbah’s supervision.

Ms Haruna made history as the first social media celebrity to be arrested and prosecuted for the content she shares. Expectedly, that brings about the debate among social media users nationwide. While, of course, the southern bloc expresses outrage and decries the whole issue, many of their northern counterparts hail the Hisbah.


Sadiya Haruna

Umma Shehu, a Kannywood star, lambasts the Hisbah, threatening to expose some of their members whom she indirectly claimed were promiscuous. Now, Hisbah has reportedly launched a manhunt of her. At the same time, her colleagues from the industry have come out to distance themselves from her ranting. Alhassan Kwalle, a prominent figure and a leader in the Kannywood actors’ guild, dissociated the industry from what she said, arguing that Hisbah were doing God’s work. But, like the first scandal, the drama goes on.

It is now more apparent that scandals and actors are intricately attached. Arguably, many of them like it. Whereas it can lead to the downfall of some, it shoots other’s stars up. If nothing else, a hitherto less known face will soon become more popular. I believe you don’t need to be reminded about the significance of popularity in an actor’s life.


  1. Sagaciously said! I have really enjoyed reading the piece as it economically captures the whole saga. And more importantly I learnt the art of writing. One must not deny the fact of learning one thing or another after reading you. Thanks, Dr.

  2. You have indeed captured everything frankly. To me, am directing the blame to Adam A Zango taking in to cognisance been him a mentee to Ummi Rahab, there are logical and ideal ways of advising and cautioning any one who is under your watch without hurting what they deem is right, and there is a popular hausa saying " Ana barin halal don kunya" that if what Ummi's relatives are insuating is true. For Sadiya Haruna there are modest and acceptable ways of advertising her products that is the kayan mata she is selling devoid of vulga expressions, she can look up to how Northern aphrodisiacs and others rendering same services with her are doing it, for Ummah Shehu there is no need of saying anything, let her explain were she get the audacity of saying such wards knowing fully what their implication might be.

  3. May Allah guide us to the right path, amin.


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