Murtala Sule Garo: Courage under fire, By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir
There may be dissenting views over how Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR, The Governor of Kano State, would be represented in history; but one simply cannot disparage the man over his projects and achievements as a governor. His massive infrastructural drive in Kano has changed the face of Kano, even dwarfing the legendary Kwankwaso years. When I visit Kano now, there has to be a ready guide on standby, to help me navigate the many bridges, underpasses and interchanges that dot Kano. If you stay away from Kano for 6 months or a year, and return for a visit, then your jaws would certainly drop, in awe of one infrastructural development or the other. Even before Mr. President’s recent visit to commission projects, such has been the story of Gov. Ganduje in Kano. Mr. President was in Kano to commission very important and massive projects in Kano, touching virtually every sector of the economy, from health to power, roads to housing, and IT to security.
PMB commissioned the Tier IV IT Data Centre which is the highest anywhere in the world, and the one in Kano is the best in the country and the first in the North. There was also the Dala Inland Dry Port, concessioned to Messrs Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited. Mr. President also commissioned the 10MW Haske Solar Plant funded by the National Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA in partnership with Kano State Government. PMB also commissioned the Family Homes Funds Estate, consisting of 469 houses with ancillary infrastructure. PMB also commissioned the Cancer Treatment Centre, which is the biggest and most advanced in West Africa, Muhammadu Buhari Road interchange, and the Aliko Dangote Skills acquisition Centre at Zaria Road. It was projects galore in Kano once again and PMB proclaimed that what he had seen was simply fantastic!
All attention was in Kano, a week before Mr. President’s visit, especially with the postponement of the visit over obvious reasons of allowing for Kano residents to meet the CBN deadline for changing their old notes with the new ones. This led me to a campaign rally in Kano where Murtala Sule Garo, The Deputy Gubernatorial candidate of the ruling APC addressed a mammoth crowd of supporters. He did so quite frankly and bravely. Gov. Ganduje was one of the governors at the forefront of campaigning for the extension of the CBN deadline. Murtala spoke with calm, but he spoke strongly in support of Ganduje’s plea for the deadline extension. He lamented the suffering of his people under the fuel scarcity debacle, pointing out that the CBN policy even though a positive 21st century cashless economic policy; it was adding to the hardship on ground. He called on government to go after the fuel supply saboteurs and the new naira notes saboteurs as well. It was heartwarming that an APC politician was siding with his people and not being a yes man. He was speaking truth to power, at an APC campaign rally, just a few days to a very crucial election. He chose the people over party. He was more concerned over the plight of his people and not election victory.
Murtala is not a new fan of the game, or a new player in the field of politics. He is a great grassroots politician, having once been awarded by The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, as an outstanding grassroots politician, at an award ceremony at the Congress Hall of the Hilton, on the 15th of October, 2021. He is from Garo Town, in Kabo Local government. He started his political sojourn as a special adviser to Kabo Local government Chairman, and much later on, appointed as the Organising Secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the APC. He was once The Special Adviser to Kano State Governor too. He was elected Kabo Local government Chairman, and the Chairman of ALGON, Kano State Chapter. He then became The Commissioner for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs under the Ganduje administration. This he held twice, before running for the governorship of Kano State. Wise counsel prevailed, and Gawuna, Ganduje’s Deputy, became the APC’s flagbearer, just as Ganduje, who was Deputy to Kwankwaso, got the party’s ticket to contest for governorship. Murtala Sule Garo became Gawuna’s running mate.
The Kano APC ticket has got both brains and brawn. I’ve listened to Gawuna speak and he exudes the personality of a true scholar, who has dedicated himself to serving his people for the good of Kano State. Murtala as his running mate is the joker in the combo. The political bravado that the APC lost by not having Murtala as their flagbearer, is being gained with him as a running mate. He is definitely one of the custodians of success in Kano rural politics and the APC has a lot to gain from his experience and stewardship at the grassroots level. He is The common man’s friend and stands by him at times of hardship, just as he did the other day when he spoke at a campaign rally in Kano, just before Mr. President’s visit. All politics is local and Murtala is a politician born and bred by the Kano locality. They will definitely identify with him and stand by his cause when the election comes. His political growth has been at the grassroots right from time amd even when he moved to the State level, he ended up in a Ministry whose primary responsibility was the locals. So even in executive service in the state, he remained a local man and it would be a no brainer if the locals choose to side with him.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.