Noah Ebije, Kaduna, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, Laide Raheem, Abeokuta, Noah Ebije, Kaduna, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
A mammoth crowd comprising masses as well as very important personalities (VIPs), yesterday, besieged the Sultan Bello Mosque for the final prayer for the late Balarabe Musa and also escorted the remains to Ungwan Sarki cemetery.
The movement from the Mosque to the cemetery created traffic gridlock along Isa Kaita road. He was laid to rest at about 4PM.
Balarabe Musa was elected governor of then Kaduna State (Kaduna and Katsina states) during the second republic on the platform of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) with a socialist ideology that believed in welfare of the common man, the talakawas.
He held office from October 1979 until he was impeached on June 23, 1981 by the then National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which dominated the Assembly.
Born on August 21st 1936, his death was confirmed yesterday morning by his eldest son, Ibrahim.
The janaiza (last prayer) held at Sultan Bello Mosque led by Sheikh Ahmed Gumi immediately after the Asri (early evening prayer).
The Sultan Bello Mosque open ground was filled with people from within and outside the Kaduna metropolis, who came to pay their last respect to the decreased who has been described as the defender and voice of the masses.
The prayer was, however, not left for the masses alone as former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramallan Yero, Secretary to the Kaduna State Government (SSG), Alhaji Balarabe Lawal and former executive secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Alhaji Hussaini Jallo alongside serving commissioners and top government functionaries attended the last prayer.
Eulogies have continued to pour in for the erstwhile leader of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), a coalition of opposition parties during the fourth republic from groups and prominent individuals including the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Afenifere, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar and other.
President Buhari said the former governor’s role in promoting good governance and development would always be remembered and appreciated by posterity..
The president, in a condolence message by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said he would be sorely missed by all Nigerians, who have diligently followed his antecedents as a voice for the voiceless.
President Buhari believed 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.
According to him, he left a bold footprint on Nigeria’s democracy.
•PDP, ACF mourn
The PDP, in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, described Musa’s death as a huge loss to the country, given his steadfastness, patriotic contributions and zeal in fighting for the unity, stability and development of the country.
“Alhaji Musa was a forthright leader, an embodiment of ideals, who spent better part of his life championing the entrenchment of justice, equity, fairness and rule of law in every sector of our national life, despite the challenges he faced,” it stated.
The ACF, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Yawe, said Nigerians would remember him as the last man standing in the war against corruption, exploitation and dictatorship.
“Balarabe Musa was an active member of the Northern Elements Progressively Union (NEPU).
“In the second republic he again teamed up with his old comrades in NEPU and their leader, Malam Aminu Kano to form the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), on whose ticket he was elected governor of Kaduna State.
“Sadly, he was impeached and removed before he could execute his programmes. As sad as that experience was, he devoted the rest of his life for the struggle to improve the life of the ordinary Nigerian.”
The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, described him as a progressive voice in northern Nigeria.
National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin, said Balarabe stood for something and pursued it to his death.
“Today he has gone and when we talk about Balarabe Musa, people know what he stood for. He had an ideal which he pursued.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.”
•Strong advocate of just, fair society –Kalu
Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Kalu, described the death as a huge loss to the nation.
The former governor of Abia, in a condolence message, admonished his 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.
Extolling virtues of the late politician, Kalu acknowledged the prominent roles Musa played as former chairman of the CNPP, in enthroning and sustaining democracy in Nigeria.
He added that the former governor was a strong advocate of a just and fair society.
Kalu urged the political class to emulate the remarkable and worthy leadership qualities of the late politician.
According to him, political office holders should use their positions to advance the cause of the people as exemplified by the late statesman.
“As we mourn the demise of Alhaji Balarabe, I admonish the political class to demonstrate the exemplary and outstanding leadership attributes of the deceased in their daily endeavours.
“The late former Chairman of CNPP, was a progressive and political activist, with deep understanding and knowledge of Marxism.
“His personal attributes and character were anchored on his philosophy and political ideology of a fair and equitable society.
“The late statesman made invaluable contributions to Nigeria’s democracy and nation building, having served the country meritoriously in various capacities.
“His patriotic counsel on national issues, will be greatly missed, especially at a time like this.
“However, his contemporaries and the younger generation will continue to tap from his good works and legacies left behind.
“The late former governor lived a good and purposeful life dedicated to the service of humanity,” he said.
•Obasanjo: Believer in greater Nigeria
Former president Onasanjo described Musa as a patriot, whose death was received with deep shock.
In a statement by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo said the late Musa had unwavering belief in a greater Nigeria.
He added that accordingly, he gave the best of his remarkable talent and ability in pursuit of this goal.
“The late Alhaji Balarabe Musa will be remembered for his invaluable contribution to Nigeria’s political evolution. He brought renewed activism, verve and resourcefulness to bear on the nation’s polity,” Obasanjo was quoted to have disclosed in the statement.
•PRP urges new breed politicians to emulate Balarabe
National Chairman of PRP, Prof. Sule Bello, who was among sympathisers at Musa’s house told journalists that the former governor lived a committed and dedicated life for the progress of the country.
“You cannot associate Balarabe Musa with tribalism. The present crops of politicians will do the country better if they can copy his style of political life. He demonstrated honesty, commitment. He was somebody you can hold in high esteem. All those concerned about the political progress of the country will do better if they take after his commitment make Nigeria a better place.”
•El-rufai, textile workers, Aremu mourn
Governor Nasir El-Rufai said his government was proud of the public service he rendered to the state and its people.
A statement by Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, quoted Governor El Rufai as saying “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.’’
According to the governor, “as a leader, he demonstrated at the ballot box, the capacity of a political party devoted to the protection of the interest of ordinary people to acquire power democratically.’’
El-Rufai pointed out that “as a private citizen, he projected the qualities of principled politics, decency, integrity, consistency and commitment to improving the lives of our ‘talakawa’ in Kaduna State and Nigeria.’
The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), in a statement by it National President, John Adaji, described him as a “very good friend of the Union.”
In the same vein, former governorship candidate under the Labour Party (LP) in Kwara State, Issa Aremu also mourned the deceased.
“I bear posthumous witness that Nigeria, Africa and progressive world had lost an audacious principled selfless statesman. He commendably stood for good principles in governance, all that was good, integrity and service to the downtrodden, the talakawa!”
•Dogged, rare democrat –Wamakko
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Aliyu Wamakko, has described Musa as a dogged and rare democrat.
Wamakko, in a statement said his demise had left a wide vacuum too difficult to fill in the Nigerian political sphere.
•He lived, died disappointed man –Sani
But immediate past General Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr. Anthony Sani, said the former governor lived and died a disappointed Nigerian.
“He lived and died a disappointed man because most Nigerian politicians are obsessed with political parties which have the capacity to win elections instead of which political parties can deliver on the promise of democracy.”