ONE of the most celebrated progressive politicians and former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has died.
His death in Kaduna on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, was reportedly confirmed by one of his sons, Kashim Balarabe Musa. He was aged 84.
The body of the late governor, who was a former National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) will be buried by 4pm after funeral prayers at the Sultan Bello Mosque, Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the late icon was born on August 21, 1936 in Kaya, Kaduna State. He studied at Zaria Middle School from 1947 to 1952 and at the Institute of Administration, Zaria, 1952 to 1953.
Musa, who was an accounts clerk and a school teacher, held various managerial positions related to accountancy from 1960 to 1976, while studying at different colleges in London to gain additional qualifications.
He was elected governor of the old Kaduna State in 1979 on the platform of the PRP, a party founded by late Mallam Aminu Kano. As governor, he was prevented from constituting a cabinet by the NPN-dominated State House of Assembly, which eventually impeached him in June 1981, purely on politically motivated charges.
He was the PRP candidate for the presidency in the 2003 elections, and later Chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP).
On August 31, 2010, Balarabe Musa quit active politics due to health issues and announced his immediate resignation from chairmanship of the PRP.
NAN also reports that Musa, in a last interview he granted NAN on October 4, 2020 said that the aspirations of Nigeria could be achieved if both the leadership and followers resolved to play their part in earnest nation building.
“Honestly, the country has not fared well at 60. It is very disappointing that this is where we are.
“But things can be better; we can still achieve the dreams of the founding fathers if we all play our role in nation building,” he had stated.
He urged leaders to always make the welfare and well-being of the people the focus of their policies and programmes. He stressed that political and economic restructuring of the country was key for progress
“We need to restructure the country politically and economically. We need to ensure that power actually resides with the people.
“The economic and political models we are currently operating only empower a few. Governments must be structured to impact positively on the masses,” he had told NAN.
Comrade Issa Aremu, Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union and immediate past general Secretary of Nigeria Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria, in his reaction poured encomiums on the late Balarabe describing him as an icon of the progressive world.
“I bear posthumous witness that Nigeria, Africa and the progressive world had lost an audacious, principled, selfless statesman. He commendably stood for good principles in governance. He never cheaply fell for corruption. On the contrary, he stood for all that was good, integrity and service to the downtrodden, the talakawa!” Comrade Aremu asserted.
Aremu said the late statesman left indelible imprints as the first elected governor of Kaduna State, when he along with equally late governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi were the first to declare May Day as public holiday in 1980.
Aremu also praised the late Balarabe for being the first to implement the first minimum wage in Nigeria during the Comrade Hassan Sunmonu leadership of NLC in 1981.
According to Aremu, as brief as his governorship of Kaduna State was, Alhaji Balarabe embarked on an unprecedented and aggressive industrialisation of Kaduna State just as he invested heavily in mass literacy that made Kaduna a centre of learning.
“He was labour friendly and great friend of my union – National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN). His house was ever wide open to all 24/7!” Aremu stated adding that Alhaji Balarabe’s weakness was “too much of principles” and “NOT political opportunism”, as he was ideological committed in his political life.
“He was a member of NEPU (PRP), and died a member, unlike present day butterfly politicians who wander from one party to the other in search of cheap power and unearned money,” Aremu said, further asserting: “The struggle of Alhaji Balarabe and many of his compatriots, had been along the same line – how to build an inclusive and better Nigeria, Africa and an egalitarian world.
“Alhaji Balarabe Musa undoubtedly epitomises the best of values that you can get among the best of the past and contemporary African leaders; the crop of which include the late Aminu Kano, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Tuore.”