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Balarabe Musa: Exit of a rare bred politician

By Emmanuel Uffot

Mark Anthony’s assertion to the Romans after the assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus and his co- conspirators, ‘ That the good is often interred in their dead’ as captured in William Shakespeare’s book Julius Caesar  best describes the flood of tributes that have continued to trail the death of Alhaji Balarabe Musa.

The dead of the revered politician, celebrated fiery social critic and the last man standing of the political gladiators of the Second Republic dating back to 1979 on Wednesday November 11, 2020 at the ripe age of 84, took many who may have had no knowledge of his health status by surprise.

President Muhammadu Buhari, former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Governor Nasir El-Rufai led the legion of Nigerians that poured encomiums and tributes to the departed first civilian governor of Kaduna State.

President Buhari described his death as a colossal loss both to Nigeria and the people of Kaduna.

The President Muhammadu Buhari whose message was conveyed His Senior Special Asistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu said the late Balarabe Musa will be missed by all Nigerians, who have diligently followed his antecedents as a voice for the voiceless.

President Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said Alhaji Musa reflected the passion and vigour that heralded Nigeria’s independence, which steadily translated into activism for return to democracy at the height of military interregnum and had remained steadfast in the call for good and inclusive governance.

Buhari also extolled his sterling political belief that identified with the Talakawas as projected by Mallam Aminu Kano, stressing that he left a bold footprint on Nigeria’s democracy, and his role in promoting good governance and development would be remembered and appreciated by posterity.

For Obasanjo, he described Musa as a patriot who made invaluable contributions to Nigeria’s political evolution. He said the late former governor of Kaduna State brought renewed activism, verve and resourcefulness to bear on the nation’s polity.

Jonathan also described him as a patriot who identified with the downtrodden, while senate president Lawan said he was a principled political leader who throughout his life, consistently championed the cause of the masses.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan similarly described late Balarabe Musa as a principled political leader who, throughout his life, consistently championed the cause of the masses, shunned material benefits and remained on the path of his convictions all through his long and illustrious political career.

The Northern Governors Forum described him as a political giant who demonstrated patriotism, passion and selflessness in his engagements.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, said the late Balarabe Musa spoke out against oppression, injustice, corruption and crime with such passion that clearly motivated many younger persons to fight for the cause of democracy and also see public office as a platform for service.

Also, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe) described the death of the foremost politician as a great loss, saying his demise has created a huge vacuum that would be hard to fill by any statesman.

A former governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko, described him as a dogged and rare democrat, saying his death was a colossal loss not only to his immediate family or Kaduna State but to the country in general.

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State described the late Balarabe Musa as a true patriot who made his views known on national issues in an unbiased manner and contributed in several other ways to nation-building.

He added that Nigeria will miss Alhaji Musa who, for many years, was a voice of the masses calling for good governance and improved standard of living for Nigerians.

The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), a party that brought him into limelight having been elected then as the only governor from the party described Balarabe Musa as an indefatigable warrior in the battle for the liberation and material upliftment of the common man.

Mallam Falalu Bello, who was the National Chairman of the party also lend his voice to eulogise Musa, “Alhaji Balarabe, throughout his life, never left the trenches of the struggle. He stood to the very end with the oppressed multitudes, against all manner of harassment, deprivations and provocations, truly a colossus in the struggles for Nigeria’s emancipation. The best tribute we can pay to his memory is to rededicate ourselves to the struggle he committed his life to.”

An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai said late Balarabe Musa was strong on his principles to the point that he never allowed poverty to push him into compromising them.

Yakasai, 95, said the death of the former Kaduna State governor has robbed Nigeria of one of its shiniest examples of selfless politicians.

A former governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, said the death of Alhaji Balarabe Musa has created a vacuum in northern and Nigerian politics. He urged politicians to learn the kind of political consistency that has defined Balarabe Musa’s decades of politics in PRP.

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) also described the late Balarabe Musa as someone who devoted the rest of his life to the struggle to improve the life of the ordinary Nigerian. According to its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe

 Nigeria will remember Balarabe Musa as the last man standing in the war against corruption, exploitation and dictatorship.

 Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai in his tributes said the late Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa will be remembered as a progressive politician who tried in his time as governor to expand the horizons of opportunity for ordinary people.

El-Rufai, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye on Wednesday, said his government was proud of the public service that Balarabe Musa rendered to the state and its people.

“Alhaji Balarabe Musa will be remembered as a progressive politician who tried in his time as governor to expand the horizons of opportunity for ordinary people.’’

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) have also expressed sadness over the death of the elder statesman,

They said in their separate statements that Balarabe Musa died with his allegiance to the country unquestionable and his integrity intact.

Niger State Governor and Chairman, North Central Governors Forum (NCGF), Abubakar Sani Bello, said the deceased was a politician with passion who represented different things to different individuals.

He said his contribution to democracy in the country will not be forgotten in a hurry.

The Chairman of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Anambra State chapter, Demian Okeke-Ogene, called on the federal government to immortalise the late Balarabe Musa for his immense contributions to the nation’s democratic development.

Similarly, the Acting National Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Supo Sonibare, described the late Octogenarian: as a man of untainted history, a patriotic and incorruptible, minimalist Nigerian politician, and noted that his death was an irreparable loss at a time the country needed most the direction of a true progressive Nationalist. The party head said  Alhaji Musa Balarabe Musa would be remembered as a true Nationalist who governed Kaduna State selflessly, without enriching himself and played national politics with unequalled honesty and humility. He always encouraged unity among progressives in the polity.

“No one can take away from him his place in Nigerian history as a true leader of the Talakawas in the mode of the legendary Mallam Aminu Kano.”

Sonibare stressed the indelible role he played in the party’s first coming in the Third Republic, both as a distinguished party leader and his robust commitment to the June 12 struggle to revive the annulled mandate of its Presidential Candidate, Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola.” He was one of the last ones standing in the Northern Nigeria who continued to display an unflinching support for the Democratic decision of the Nigerian people as expressed in the victory of Chief MKO Abiola’s emergence as President-elect”.

Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje was not left out in the avalanche of tributes as he described his death as a great loss to democracy as Nigerian democracy was moulded by the likes of Alhaji Musa

“ His demise is a great loss not only to Nigerian democracy, but to Africa’s transition to democracy in recent decades benefited immensely from Balarabe Musa, who had an in-depth concern for the underprivileged.

“His unparalleled concern for the welfare of the ‘Talakawas’ (poor people) placed him above many Nigerian politicians. The indelible marks he left behind after his reign as governor are enough reasons to explain his genuine love for the people.”

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence and Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti Corruption,Senator Aliyu Wamakko described the deceased as a dogged and a rare democrat.

Wamakko, a former governor of Sokoto described the late political icon said, the late former Governor as a core patriot and nationalist, who has left a wide vacuum too difficult to fill in the Nigerian political sphere.

 “The demise of Balarabe Musa is a colossal loss not only to his immediate family or Kaduna State, but to the country in general.”

 Orji Uzor Kalu, the Chief Whip of the Senate, described the death of Musa as a huge loss to the nation. He however admonished the family to take solace in the fact that their late patriarch was a well-respected statesman, who placed the welfare and well-being of the people above selfish ambitions. He acknowledged the prominent roles the late politician Musa played as former Chairman of Coalition of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), in enthroning and sustaining democracy in Nigeria.

He added that the former governor was a strong advocate of a just and fair society and urged the political class to emulate the remarkable and worthy leadership qualities of the late politician, by using their political offices and positions to advance the cause of the people as exemplified by the late statesman.

 The Minister of Interior,  Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, in the same described the deceased as a patriot, a leader and pillar in the struggle to build a just, humane and progressive society in Nigeria has returned to his Maker.

His Burial

“Mallam Musa was a patriot, democrat, socialist, consummate defender of the poor, advocate of social and economic justice, promoter of human rights, liberty and dignity and, above all, a very good man. His passage at 84 is the end of an era.”

“He will be well represented in the pantheons of the heroes of democracy for his brave and uncompromising stand on military disengagement and return of civil democratic rule, all through the period of military rule. This was at great personal risk and discomfort.”

 The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere described the late politician as a progressive voice in Northern Nigeria.

Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of the organization said Balarabe Musa stood for something and it was not just about making money, and a lot of other things we see politicians doing today.

 “It is not about making money that other people will take over when we die. What matters is the legacies we stood for while we were alive.

“He was a progressive voice within the northern establishment. We have seen him throughout his life as a voice on the side of progress and that was what stood him out.”

Former Senate President David Mark, also found a space to throw in his tributes. For him the Alhaji Musa was an honest politicians whose demise was a big blow to the struggle for the emancipation of the oppressed in the country. He said the late politician was an uncommon activist and defender of the ordinary man.

“Balarabe Musa was a great patriot. He was an advocate for peace and justice. He was a voice for the voiceless.

“He was bluntly frank, courageous and steadfast. He never shied away from fighting for justice. He called a spade its proper name.”

He added that Nigeria had lost an honest and patriotic statesman, a great patriot who was an advocate for peace and justice and a voice for the voiceless.

“He was bluntly frank, courageous and steadfast. He never shied away from fighting for justice. He called a spade its proper name.”

Musa was born on 21 August 1936 in Kaya, Kaduna State. He studied at Zaria Middle School (1947–1952) and at the Institute of Administration, Zaria (1952–1953). He was an accounts clerk (1953–1955) and a school teacher (1955–1960). He held various managerial positions related to accountancy in the period 1960 to 1976, while studying at different colleges in London to gain additional qualifications.]

Musa was elected governor of Kaduna State in 1979 on the platform of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), a party founded by Mallam Aminu Kano with others such as Abubakar Rimi, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Michael Imoudu, Chinua Achebe, Yusufu Bala Usman, Uche Chukwumerije, and Sule Lamido. The National Party of Nigeria (NPN) challenged his election unsuccessfully. His party was initially a member of the PPP alliance in opposition to the NPN, but later quietly withdrew.] As Governor he had a tumultuous tenure in the hands of the National Party of Nigeria dominated Kaduna State House of Assembly which  eventually impeached him in June 1981, making him the first Nigerian state governor ever to be impeached.]

 With the dawn of the Third Republic in 1999, he continued to be active in politics. He was the PRP candidate for the presidency in the April 2003 elections, selected in February 2003. However, without even enough money to print posters he was not successful. In May 2003, the Inspector-General of Police Tafa Balogun refused a permit to the

Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), to hold a rally in Kano. As Chairman of the coalition, Musa said he refused to be intimidated, and the CNPP had other ways to achieve their objectives. Speaking as CNPP chairman in February 2004, Musa described President Olusegun Obasanjo’s policies as “phantom and mirage”, doing nothing for the people and serving only to enrich politicians and government officials.

In the 2007 elections, the CNPP backed Muhammadu Buhari as a credible alternative to the PDP candidate Umaru Yar’Adua.] In February 2009, Musa said “Capitalism is returning us to the era of slavery. The solution to the current crisis is the abolition of greediness and antagonistic competition in our economic systems”.

Musa spoke at a public lecture and reception in January 2009 in honour of former Oyo State governor Lam Adesina He said that electoral rigging had to be stopped, and said “we need a revolution in Nigeria to have a positive change in the political system”. In November 2009, Musa said that Nigeria’s economic system was based on narrow self-interest, with a disabling level of corruption, theft and waste of public resources. He expressed concern that the state might fail, as had happened in Somalia, but said this was unlikely since the USA would act to prevent it due to the strategic importance of Nigeria.

On  August 31 2018, Musa quit active politics due to health issues[ and announced his immediate resignation from chairmanship of  defunct People’s Redemption Party found by the celebrated Aminu Kano

Recounting the last moments of the late political icon, his eldest son Dr Ibrahim Balarabe Musa said before his death, his father had asked him and his siblings to visit the family of late Dan Iyan Zazzau, Alhaji Yusuf Ladan, his classmate who died on Tuesday. (The day before his death) on Wednesday.

Ibrahim “I spoke with him this morning and even yesterday (Tuesday). On Tuesday he told us his friend and classmate, Alhaji Yusuf Ladan, had died and asked us to go and console the family. He had been ill for some time now but he got well and then all of a sudden, he died this morning. We believe his time has come.”

Balarabe Musa died on November 11 2020 in Kaduna hoe after a brief illness and was buried at Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna.

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