General Muhammed, regarded as an illustrious son of Kano, was one of the two indigenes of the state that had so far governed the entire nation. He is believed to have left an indelible legacy as a leader. His accomplishments are of reference till today.
Widely regarded as having played a significant role in shaping the destiny of Nigeria and Africa, at large, General Muhammed was seen as a leader who had exemplary attributes of heroism, patriotism, dynamism, integrity and selflessness.
In a tribute to Murtala Muhammed, with whom he served on the War Cabinet during the Nigerian Civil War, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, one of Nigeria’s most highly regarded statesmen and authorities on leadership, had this to say about him: “He was tough, dogged and fearless. He was frank to a fault, and like all those caught out for greatness, he was constant and unchangeable.”
Some observers are also of the opinion that there is a catalogue of correlations between the present President Muhammadu Buhari Administration and the regime of General Muhammed, especially in the area of anti-corruption drive and far-reaching policies aimed at repositioning the country. President Buhari is also regarded as a faithful protégé of General Muhammed.
The state government and the Topseal believe that 40 years in the wake of Murtala’s tenure and demise is a milestone period to commemorate the iconic leader and also celebrate his legacy.
Highlights of the commemorative programme, taking place on Saturday, February 20, 2016, at the Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano, include: Tributes, Book Presentation and Endowment, Exhibition and Cultural Activities.
Many indigenes and dignitaries from within and outside the state, including His Royal Majesty, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, are expected to grace the occasion.
During the occasion, the widely acclaimed biography of General Muhammed, The Hurricane, authored by a journalist, Taiwo Ogundipe, with the foreword written by ex President (General) Olusegun Obasanjo, a close associate and successor of the late leader will be presented and its endowment for wide distribution to schools, libraries and other institutions will be instituted.
The Hurricane, after a thorough assessment, secured the official approval of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, and has been certified suitable for use in the Nigerian institutions and recommended for adult readers and tertiary Institution’s libraries.
According to Mr. Taiwo Ogundipe, the author of the book, which has received raved reviews, “the main idea behind promoting The Hurricane is to make many Nigerians, especially the young ones, as well as the people of the world generally, know that we have heroes and values worth celebrating in the country.”
The Hurricane, a product of extensive research and interviews, paints a very intimate picture of General Muhammed. It traces the roots of the General and his progenitors. It also focuses on his birth, his growing-up years, his schooling days, his life as a young man as well as his military training and career. The book also highlights his marriage and family life, his performance as a soldier; his involvement in the post-independence crisis that engulfed the nation, his emergence as a national leader, his role as head of state, his tragic death and finally the after-effects.
General Olusegun wrote in his foreword to the book that it is “a good research work on the person of the late General Murtala Muhammed. It is a well outlined piece of writing on the life and times of the late Head of State who was indeed a personal friend and a professional colleague in the Nigerian Army. The Hurricane has effectively captured the historical perspectives of the work of the General, depicting his effort to bring about discipline and sanitization of the military and the Nigerian civil society.”
The late Major General J. J. Oluleye, a major participant during the military regime of Murtala, and the author of the book, Military Leadership in Nigeria: 1966 – 1979, also wrote about The Hurricane: “I looked through the draft and concluded that you are dead on course.”
To date, most of the books that have been written by some of the major participant–observers on the military’s involvement in Nigeria’s governance have only made passing references to Murtala. The other ones that have been specifically written on his tenure focus largely on his administrative policies and pronouncements. None gave detailed human angle accounts of his life and death, until The Hurricane came on the scene.