By Aminu Hikima
“A good commander is benevolent and unconcerned with fame” – Sun Tzu
No wonder I hear the word “Commander” on the lips of men, women, young and old. Even children in the ‘Centre of Commerce’ have learnt to sing it in a variety soothing tones.
At times I sat to ask myself if there is a towering figure behind that powerful name millions of Kanawas have married to their lips.
And I ask: is the word Commander now in Kano State synonymous with a savior, a metaphorical ‘bringer of rain’ when the sand is dried or does it mean someone who makes another’s problem his own? What do Kanawas really mean?
Besides, why the troubled regain composure, the weak become stronger and women with hand akimbo get energized and the youth march forward once the word “Commander” is pronounced? Please, why the youths, in particular, are getting addicted to this nine-lettered word, “Commander”?
What meaning does this sound make to them? Are they all rallying behind a person, an institution or is Kano State adopting another sobriquet apart from its age-long slogan: “Centre of Commerce”?
Murtala Sule Garo, the Kano State Commissioner for Local Government, is absolutely caught in the quotation above by the Chinese thinker and military strategist, Sun Tzun.
Sun Tzun must have been carried away by the valour and kindheartedness demonstrated by a league of great men to which Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo belongs.
His is not only about the determination to win a political war, a battle, or lead an army of youths to the promised land, but also what can be described as ‘purity of heart’ and ‘purposefulness’.
Here is a man who sources his happiness from giving as best described in the wise saying: “the secret of living a happy life is giving”.
Neither his left hand knows what the right gives, nor does he expect something in return. It’s for the sake of Allah and to him “Allah suffices as an Ever-Trusted Trustee”.
As they say, ‘a leader is born not made’, Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo is endowed with the right personality and discipline. He has the listening ears needed of a leader and is observant.
He has long given up the right to think about himself. His concern now is to grease the wheels of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s ambition of building the future of the Kano youth and the state in general. Commander has pursued this dream unrelentingly.
The governor’s slogan of ‘tap the power of youth’, meaning youth and women must to be recognized and empowered to make a sustainable development in the state, is gathering momentum.
The administration also believes that Kanawas can collectively come together and face the challenges facing Kano State and make the state a better place to live in.
However, various people see Commander Sule Garo differently. While some see him as a political warrior, others see him as a philanthropist. Some others see him a born leader – a role model.
Why couldn’t Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje make him his “Man Friday” after Robinson Crusoe’s lieutenant in Daniel Defoe’s novel ‘Robinson Crusoe’?
He is the governor’s most trusted general, a kind of Johnny-on-the-spot best translated in Hausa Language as ‘mai kamar zuwa kan aika’.
Commander Murtala Sule Garo has been loyal to the governor. It began as a ‘master-servant’ relationship. But now it is much like a child to a father.
It is because of this complete loyalty the governor in his masterful unanticipated or better bring-it-from-the-unknown approach laid his hands on this ever-ready, one-man army called Sule Garo.
He is a double-edged sword. And the governor knows it well. Garo is made of a combination of charisma and will-power, and is very much disciplined.
He possesses a personal magic of leadership that arouses special popular loyalty typical of a perfect public figure. And in a complete gentleman’s style he does as he says.
In another breath, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje knows that there is no way his most trusted commander can be intimidated or be scared away. Garo is indomitable that soars through the storm, conquers and brings fame home.
I was not surprised either when the other day the First Lady of Kano State, Dr Hafsat Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, showered lavish praises on this Commander.
She said, “Alhaji Murtala Suke Gari is patience, loyalty and discipline personified.”
This is not the first time Murtala Sule Garo is publically praised by either the governor or his wife. They have adopted him as a son and he sees them his parents.
Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo has earned an enviable position in the Ganduje administration.
Why? He is committing everything to make sure the administration succeed. And the governor’s 2019 inaugural speech is his map on this journey.
From empowerment programmes to settling medical bills, from scholarship for the children of the poor to building schools and mosques, Alhaji Murtala Sule Garo has proved self as a complete philanthropist. No doubt, he has made others’ problems his own.
Believing that the youths hold the future, he therefore invests in them and often gives them wings and allows them to learn how to fly themselves.
Knowing how vital women are in every society, he empowers them so that they can contribute to the economic development of Kano State.
When I asked why the splittingly thunderous standing ovation any time Commander Sule Garo stands to speak during occasions, a women smiled and told me later almost in tears:
“During an empowerment program the Ganduje administration organized for 2000 women in the state some people planned to hijack the items.
“When the Commander learnt about the plan of the vested interests, toward the end of the programme he stood and in his superbly speak-but-little manner he ordered every beneficiary be given her benefit there and then.
“Imagine the joy! I went back home that day with a sack of Soya beans, a gas slender, a frying pan, a fish turner and a sum of N20,000. Many women shed tears of joy that day.”
From whichever angle one views the commander, as explained above, one has no optio, but to say: ‘all hail commander Murtala Sule Garo’.