This piece is to celebrate a versatile information manager and veteran journalist par excellence, Comrade Muhammad Garba. This presents a specacular opportunity for me to celebrate his special feat, as an awardee of media personality, even though his personality as a media Juggernaut needs no introduction in the Nigerian media space.
The award conferred on him accordng to the Nigeria Union of Journalists President, Chris Isiguzo is in recognition of Mohammed Garba’s assiduous work in promoting journalism over the years, affirming that he has worked to promote Press Freedom which is one of the key drivers of democracy globally. Therefore the award bestowed on him is a great recognition for him for distinguishing himself in the growth and development of journalism in Nigeria.
Outside mainstream media, he held various responsibilities such as Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1993, and Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Kano State Abdullahi Umar Ganduje between 1999 and 2003. In all these positions held Malam Muhammed Garba was able to leave the delectable mark of excellence and won the heart of his colleagues.
Nevertheless, honour is given to who deserved, the recent award on the Kano State Commissioner Of Information, Muhammadu Garba a member State Executive Council is well deserved and must be celebrated considering his contributions to the growth and development of journalists in Nigeria. Malam Muhammed Garba, a detribalized media actor of a great height remains supportive of them and all practice journalists with his ever ready assistance in kind and cash.
What made the celebrant modest despite all the position held by him is among other non abandoning of his colleagues who are not privilege to attained such positions or creating unnecessarily protocol around him.
In 2015, Governor Umar Abdullahi Ganduje appointed Comrade Malam Muhammadu Garba to captain the affairs of Ministry Information, Youth, Sport and Culture, his appointment was applauded as that of round peg in the round hole being a versatile information manager.
Similarly, as the Chief Image Maker of Kano State Government, he has impacted on the positive development of transforming it to what is obtainable presently in terms of Public Enlightenment and Awareness; Sensitization and mobilization of members of the public on government programmes among other information processes. It is on records that, Kano state government is able to contain all the pressure during its most trying moments because Muhammed Garba handled the situation with a sense of maturity and professionalism.
Since his appointment he has facilitated free flow of accurate, factual, and balanced information between the Government and the citizenry to understand the administration policies in mobilising the people to understand programmes and policies of the government.
Comrade Garba distinguished himself as a professional media manager in promoting Ganduje’s adminis-tration policies professionally and silencing other social critics with tendencies of political view or alliance to other opposition camps.
it is apparent that he had delivered above expectation. I may recall a confidence attestation made by Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje about Kano state Commissioner of Information professionalism and loyalty at the Nigerian Guild of Editors Biennial Conference held in Kano according to him,
“More than thirty years of our relationship, I had closely worked with him as my Press Secretary and state Commissioner of Information. In all these capacities, he proved himself as core journalist and, i never found him wanting in delivering any responsibilities assigned to him as he performs diligently”.
As far as his score card as commissioner of information is concerned, he remains a man of his words in spite of being government mouthpiece”.
On assumption of the duty at the ministry, he made a pledged to enhance staff career progression. The career progression for the staff of the information ministry has changed to better unlike what obtained before his arrival. It is on record that before Muhammed Garba’s arrival the career progression of the staff was in stagnation as the possibility of growing beyond Deputy Directorship was a herculean task. In fact, the staff were not going beyond grade level 14 to 15 but due to his initiatives, the senior staff of the ministry now enjoys postings to other ministries as directors of enlightenment which now makes it possible for senior staff of the ministry to progress career wise as a result of the vacancies engendered by the initiative. Under his stewardship a number of staff in the ministry have progressed to Directorship positions and permanent Secretaries in the other ministries, a development not known to be so prior the arrival of the Honourable Commissioner.
In 2012, Kwankwaso’s administration unceremoniously closed down Triumph Publishing company despite the fact that it had produced several prominent journalists in the country, some of who became leaders of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE). Other staff had break stints in academia, state and federal civil service. Now Triumph newspapers are backed to news stands as weekly publications. This was possible through the magnanimity of Ganduje’s administration to ensure that late Governor Rimi’s legacy is sustained. Achieving this unforgettable feat in revitalising State Owned Newspapers made him a True Ambassador of the Triumph family.
From 2015 to 2019 as State Government Standing Committee Chairman on Empowerment, Ganduje’s administration’s efforts in addressing unemployment among youths and women in the state which was one of the administration policy since its inception in 2015 has also been commendable.
Through his active participations in screening of no fewer than 50,000 youths and women, a great number of people in that category in the state have been empowered on various skills acquisition programmes across the 44 local government areas of the state.
The Commissioner has also, within the period under review, provided electronics appliances and other required working tools in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as the creation of 44 Censorship Board liaison offices in each local government area of the state. Ditto the training of members of government House Press crew, a development believe by many as unprecedented.
No doubt, he delivered these goodies with absolute dedication for why members of the public admire him as a public servant with an unbeatable act of meekness and professionalism. It gladden one’s heart that Malam Muhammad’s attitude to work has a profound influence on many people as he handles every job with dispatch. There is no better way to confirm this than his regular presence at his office in addition with opens door policy which reveals him unambiguously as a man who has nothing to hide.
It may take one hours for someone to tell the kind of person Comrade Muhammadu Garba is. But one thing even his critics can’t take away from him is forgiveness, zero ill feelings or animosity against anybody.
Even during his unionism days, his activities were not marked with do or die affairs. One of his union opponent said that despite what had happens between them, the Honourable Commissioner remained supportive to peoples like him who were politically against him during his union activities both in kind and cash to him without looking back. He sees no one as enemies, and treats all nicely, a disposition that has made him the toast of every Media practitioner and others across the country. Therefore, it will be an understatement to say Muhammed Garba commands a lot of respect within and outside of the state.
The awardee is a veteran journalist career in the noble profession commenced in 1989 with Triumph Publishing Company Limited, Kano as a reporter. Beng a dedicated worker, he served in various capacities, ranging being a reporter to Subeditor, Chief Sub-Editor, Group News Edior, and Deputy Editor. He began his union activism as Chairman of The Triumph Cha-pel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kano State. He later broke the jinx with his unwavering resilience and determination and became the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, president of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA), president, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and also a member of the Steering Commitee of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in Dublin, Ireland.
Muhammed is a complete gentleman; focused, patient, flexible, and open to criticism. He is an extra miler who over the years has established his civility and pro-professionalism in the fields of journalism. An awards winning journalist he is equipped with the capacity for critical thinking, is versed in problem-solving, and understands the value of collaboration and teamwork.
The quality and strength of his assistance to friends, colleagues and others have never been questioned. He has always displayed resilience, patience, and humility. His work ethic is already on the front burner as he leads Nigeria Union of Journalists Ministry of Information to a greater height.
As I celebrate a gentleman who mentored and monitored me to learn the art and practice of journalism during my green horse days as a freshener in reportorial duty while he was already a deputy editor in the then Daily Triumph, I remember the key interest he demonstrated in seeing to it that I learn the rudiments in journalism profession. On the basis of these, i remain -indebted to him for what he had done to me. I wish him abundant health and wisdom for him to continue delivering on the mission for a greater Kano state.
Dukawa write in from Kano email@example.com