The former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, recently passed on. The fiery politician, who died on November 11, 2020, was unarguably the first governor to be impeached in Nigeria. The elder statesman and progressive politician believed in his personal convictions. He took unwavering positions on burning national issues and was an advocate of egalitarianism. As a governor, party leader and a social critic, he was exemplary. His advocacy for a democratic Nigeria never ceased. He did not depart from his pan-Nigeria vision and progressive ideals.
A modest man by any standard, the former governor embodied simplicity. As a man of modest means, he abhorred opulence and undue acquisition of wealth. The poor, the needy and the homeless are always welcome to his house. Like his mentor, Mallam Aminu Kano, he championed the cause of the downtrodden or the talakawa. He will be remembered for his progressive politics, honesty and candour. He was a committed Marxist and a voice for the voiceless. The poor have indeed lost a dependable ally and friend in the death of Musa.
His tenure as the first democratically elected governor of Kaduna State was tumultuous but he refrained from employing the usual carrot and stick policy to pacify his political opponents. Before his controversial impeachment by the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) dominated House of Assembly in June 1981, Musa had set the tone for the development of infrastructure in the state based on the populist socialist ideals of his People’s Redemption Party (PRP). As a left-wing politician and follower of the late Mallam Aminu Kano, he adopted the Northern Elements Progressive Elements (NEPU) grassroots politics. He established cottage hospitals across local governments in the state and embarked on far-reaching educational reforms.
After the fall of the second republic, Balarabe Musa sustained his Marxist, pro-poor politics through criticisms of successive governments in the country and support for pro-democracy movements. He was one of the few northern politicians who supported the June 12 struggle and relentlessly opposed the late Gen. Sani Abacha and his self-succession plot. With the advent of the new political dispensation in 1999, Musa revived the PRP and became its chairman and leader.
He was the prime mover of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), which he deployed to oppose the unpopular policies and self-succession gambit of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo. For his dream of a more humane, social order in the country, he contested for the presidency under the PRP and lost. As a leader, he demonstrated leadership by example and the capacity to live out his convictions.
As a private citizen, he exemplified the finest qualities of principled politics, courage, integrity, consistency and love for the people. He spoke his mind without fear or favour and helped to project radical voice in public discourse and in the advancement of social justice. He was a bulwark against dictatorship, corruption and exploitation. He was a strong moral voice for good leadership that could bring unity and development to Nigeria. He finally quit active politics on August 31, 2018, on health grounds, but his voice continued to be heard in the horizon for a new Nigeria.
He was born on August 21, 1936 in Kaya, Kaduna and attended Zaria Middle School from 1947 to 1952 and later trained as an accountant at the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He worked as an accounts clerk and school teacher and held many management positions in accounting from 1960 to 1976.
The ex-governor attended courses in colleges in London, the United Kingdom. His likes are very few in Nigerian politics. He believed in equity and social justice for all Nigerians. He died at a time the nation needs his moral compass to bear on our politics. He will be greatly missed.
We commiserate with his family, the political class, the people and government of Kaduna State as well as the Federal Government on the great loss. May God grant him eternal repose.