By Bala Ibrahim
The Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is 72 years old this year.
According to the Wikipedia, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was born on the 25th of December, 1949. This means he has the luxury of celebrating his birthday on the same day the Christians are celebrating Christmas. What a lucky man! Even if he doesn’t celebrate it, others would celebrate the day for him.
In celebrating this year’s birthday with him, the Progressive Governors’ Forum, PGF, through their chairman, the Governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, sent a message to him that reads; “The Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, join H.E. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Kano State to celebrate his 72nd birthday.
Along with the people of Kano State, and other well-meaning Nigerians, we celebrate this special occasion with you and your family. We in particular, wish to acknowledge and commend your leadership, vision and commitment to a united prosperous Nigeria, under the leadership of our party, the APC”.
However, much as the PGF is applauding him, Governor Ganduje is celebrating this year’s birthday in the wake of some serious political altercations between him and the two former Governors of the state, one of whom was his bosom political friend and political benefactor, Eng. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, while the other, Sen. Ibrahim Shekarau, is a politician with enormous and an unusually high political power, combined with a plethora of benevolence to his credit.
Ganduje’s crises are largely attributed to his leadership style, and not his personal attitude. As a person, those close to him say he is a man with strong moral principles.
Whether that is true or not, the answer rests with the type of people he moves around with, and those he appointed to manage his affairs administratively. And precisely that is the pivot of this article: the chiefs around the Chief Executive.
Ordinarily, I suppose to delve first, and more on the good qualities of Ganduje’s commissioner of Information, Mohammed Garba, a onetime national President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists. But if I do that, I may be accused of being professionally bias, by promoting a colleague over other subordinates of the Governor.
Though I don’t give a damn, I would say it, Mohammed Garba is good and doing a good job in protecting and projecting the good image of the Governor. Has he got many like Mohammed Garba, perhaps the Governor’s problems would have been less, or publicly pronounced less?
If Mohammed Garba is good in the Government, then one person is excellent in service, I think. And that person is Ali Haruna Makoda, the chief of staff to the Governor.
By provision, the office of the Chief of Staff is responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, and staff activities for the Governor. And in doing that, the officer in charge, coordinates and communicates with all departments and agencies of the State.
The chief of staff generally works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they are brought to the chief executive. Often chiefs of staff act as a confidant and advisor to the chief executive, and in that capacity, Ali Haruna Makoda is doing extremely well for Ganduje and for Kano State, using his humility as a hallmark.
I met him only once, when we were introduced by someone a long time ago, but everyone that has anything to do with him, say he is a man with good self-control, excellent Public Relations and collectively capable at coping with all anxieties. Thanks to his humility.
The poet, Tennyson once said, humility is, “the highest virtue, the mother of them all.” Yet society celebrates over-confidence, entitlement and a perpetual focus on the self”.
Either by design or mistake, Ganduje’s mistakes are overblown, and sometimes compounded by his failure to celebrate the right people around him. He mostly celebrates the pompous and the arrogant, to the detriment of those that add value to his good leadership.
Humble people are highlighted by their behaviors and approach to things, as these qualities, combined with other virtues like kindness, patience, diligence, charity and chastity, make one stands out everywhere. In Ali Haruna Makoda, such qualities are abundantly available.
Ganduje needs more of such people of virtue, that would be in front, and encourage him to lead from behind, if he wants to break away from the wicked past and succeed as a leader.
No wonder speculation is widespread in town, that pursuant to his humility and sense of responsibility, Ali Haruna Makoda is positioning to succeed Ganduje as the Governor of Kano State, a rumor he was compelled to denounce, dismiss and distanced himself away from.
Nelson Mandela once said, “it is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory, as nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership”.
Even if the Progressive Governors are seeing and appreciating the leadership style of Ganduje from afar, people at home are not appreciating him as such, because of the mistake of giving undue attention to mediocre meddlers.
So while rejoicing with Governor Ganduje at 72, I make haste to call on him, to borrow a leaf from the saying of late Mandela, especially now that there are political dangers, by putting all his subordinates in front, and making the other chiefs, conform with the character of his capable Chief of Staff.