Then, her subjects were children. As the real queen, she has more than 33,000 subjects, most of them poor farmers.
But apart from the childhood games, she had no education to prepare her for leadership.
"My only handicap is that I don't have a Western education, because in my time, people didn't educate their daughters. I'm not educated in the modern way, but in the traditional way, I have wisdom in my dealings with people. I'm proud to say that it would be hard to find someone educated who could rule as well as I can," she says with calm dignity.
The queen has her pet hates. She doesn't like divorce. She won't tolerate wife beating. And she can't bear the idea of leaving any case that comes before her unresolved, to be handed over to the local court system. She has never let that happen.
"I've never had a crisis I couldn't solve," she says.
Even politicians sometimes have to come to traditional rulers for help, she says.
"In a crisis, people don't listen to politicians. Once we intervene, once we speak, to the people, it's hands off."
Most traditional African rulers reflexively side with the male head of the household in a family dispute. So a girl resisting marriage to a much older man she doesn't love is likely to be ordered to obey her father. A woman who complains she is being beaten is likely to be told to obey her husband.
Hajiya had one wife-beating case early in her reign.
"I told him if he ever beat his wife again, I'd dissolve the marriage and put him in prison," she remembers. "Marriage is not a joke, and women are not slaves."
Since that case, she has made a point of campaigning against domestic violence whenever she holds court in local communities. She says she's never had another beating case. People know where she stands.
"Men sometimes say the women provoke them, so that is why they beat them," she says. "I tell them that there's no justification, whatever happens."
If a girl is miserable in an arranged marriage, the queen listens to her side of the story, even though she dislikes divorce.
"In such cases I try to strike a balance. I don't just end such marriages. I try to be tactful and see if there's any way this woman can come to love this man," she says. "But if that's not possible, if there's no way she can have any compassion for him or love, it's not her fault or his fault. It's just natural.
"I intervene and ask for the marriage to be dissolved for the sake of the woman, the man and everyone's sake."
She often addresses women's groups, urging members to become educated so that they can be future leaders. Most of all, she wants to live to see a female Nigerian president.
"It's my most ardent wish. I think the problems in Nigeria have become intractable. Let's try a woman. Men have failed."
She keeps her grown daughter, Idris, by her side whenever she holds court, grooming her to be queen. Her son, Danjuma Salihu, also grown, seated on the floor among the courtiers, has no hopes of succession.
He may one day become chief in another dominion though.
"But not here," she says. "Nobody has any doubts about it. He wouldn't survive it."